Research Archives - Summer Foundation
Group 3

Development and preliminary evaluation of a novel participant-led video intervention to train disability support workers

The government expects that by 2025 up to 30,000 NDIS participants with ‘extreme functional impairment’ or ‘very high support needs’ will be receiving funding for Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). Understanding the current and future supply of SDA housing is crucial for supporting the development of the SDA market. 

This report, Specialist disability accommodation (SDA) – Supply in Australia, is the fourth iteration of a national survey of SDA providers that aims to help inform stakeholders in the market.

You can view the previous editions of the SDA Supply Report through the links below:

Thousands of Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) dwellings are needed to meet Australia’s accessible housing needs. Private investors play a significant role in funding the considerable build and refurbishment of housing that is needed. This investment plays an important role in supporting the Australian Government’s vision for a market-based system and reduces the pressure on public funds.

The Summer Foundation established the SDA Investor Think Tank in early 2021 in response to uncertainties in the SDA market. Its purpose was to inform and support active and appropriate market stewardship. Think Tank contributors included fund managers who collectively have invested nearly $650 million in the SDA market to date, financing nearly 1,000 places for NDIS participants.

During the Think Tank, fund managers identified 2 areas that require attention to propel the SDA market into the next phase of its development. Firstly, there is an opportunity for the NDIA to introduce a more structured engagement framework with the market, and mechanism for clear market signalling.

Secondly, a number of related factors are distorting the pipeline of SDA demand, including a lack of participant demand activation and opaque decision-making processes by the NDIA. A number of key issues were identified that will continue to weaken market confidence and the flow of capital to build new SDA if not addressed.

Based on these issues, 8 recommendations were developed that fund managers believe will help restore and build investor confidence to deploy capital.

This report is the second of two studies investigating accessible housing conducted through the Summer Foundation–La Trobe University research program, to inform decision-makers on incorporating minimum mandatory accessibility standards in the 2022 National Construction Code (NCC).

While past research has highlighted the negative impacts of inaccessible housing, little systematic evidence exists regarding the importance of specific accessible design features.

This study aimed to identify which accessible features would have the greatest positive impact on discharging patients from hospital and enabling older Australians to age at home. This study also examined which home modifications are most often needed, as well as quantified the delays to discharge arising from home modifications. It surveyed 134 Occupational therapists (OTs) who regularly conduct home visit assessments, and asked them to rate 22 accessible features according to impact on hospital discharge and/or ageing in place.

This study found that a lack of accessible features in all homes makes hospital discharge slower and ageing in place harder. The most important accessible features to consider as mandatory requirements for minimum access design in the NCC are:

  • A safe and step-free path to a step-free entrance into the dwelling
  • A 900 x 900mm shower with a step-free entry, on the ground floor
  • A toilet and space for a bedroom on the ground floor
  • Reinforced walls around the toilet, shower and bath to support the safe installation of grab rails at a later date

These features are important for both ageing in place and hospital discharge. Their inclusion as minimum standards will make homes more accessible for everyone. Without mandatory minimum accessibility standards, many post-build home modifications will remain necessary.

This study points to the inefficiencies of retrospectively modifying homes, rather than incorporating minimum accessibility features as standard in new homes.

Download the Preliminary Findings summary for this report.

This report is the first of two studies investigating accessible housing conducted through the Summer Foundation–La Trobe University research program. These reports provide an evidence base to inform decision-makers on incorporating minimum mandatory accessibility standards in the 2022 National Construction Code (NCC). This study seeks the expert opinions of access consultants and architects on how expensive and complicated it would be for builders to incorporate specific accessible features into all new homes. It surveyed 24 access consultants and architects with expert knowledge of the Livable Housing Australia Design Guidelines. The survey asked respondents to rate the relative cost and difficulty of incorporating 28 accessible features into new houses, apartments, and townhouses. The survey found that:

  1. A total of 12 features are inexpensive and easy to incorporate in all dwellings.
  2. Features that are costly or difficult to incorporate in one type of dwelling may be inexpensive and simple in another.
  3. Including accessible features during the design phase of new builds is the best way to ensure cost-effectiveness.
  4. Targeted exemptions to accessibility standards could mitigate issues arising in the minority of homes with site-specific challenges.

These findings indicate that a substantial proportion of the accessible features could be feasibly incorporated as mandatory minimum accessibility standards in the NCC.

Download the Preliminary Findings summary for this report.