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Victorian requirements for fire risk management in NDIS SDA released

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NDS welcomes the release of the DHHS Requirements for Fire Risk Management in NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA), as well as clarification that ‘residential services’ with their associated requirements under the 2006 Disability Act can only be delivered in SDA, and do not apply to non-SDA dwellings.

As noted in earlier news updates, safeguarding requirements for provision of Specialist Disability Accommodation and Supported Independent Living (SIL) in Victoria are complex given the ongoing application of the Disability Act, which reflects the pre-NDIS context. For further information on this, please see the NDS Resource Library, which compiles all relevant requirements.

The ‘BCA Requirements for Fire Risk Management in NDIS SDA’ includes information relevant to providers and developers seeking to build or deliver SDA, and to providers delivering SIL as a residential service under the Disability Act 2006.

The Guide recommends that providers refer to the Building Code of Australia, which outlines minimum requirements for the installation and maintenance of fire safety equipment, including fire sprinkler systems.

DHHS encourages proactive installation of fire sprinklers in order to maximise the range of people that can be accommodated in SDA dwellings. While fire sprinklers may not be required in certain buildings, it is likely that residents accommodated in the dwelling will change over time and sprinklers may be required. To account for the additional cost of installing and maintaining fire sprinklers, the SDA pricing framework enables providers to apply an additional fire sprinkler allowance to the total SDA price.

SDA providers are obliged to produce an occupancy certificate from a building assessor accredited by DHHS when enrolling a dwelling. The assessor will consider dwelling compliance with fire risk management. Further, when a SIL provider registers to deliver a residential service under the Disability Act, DHHS will ask to see the occupancy certificate.

SDA and SIL providers are also required to comply with health and safety requirements, their legal duty of care and applicable provisions in the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.

Find the ‘BCA Requirements for Fire Risk Management in NDIS SDA’ here.

The National Construction Code (NCC) states that, in Victoria, all ‘residential care buildings’ and ‘shared accommodation buildings’ must have fire sprinklers throughout the building. On this basis, a SDA dwelling is likely to require fire sprinklers where:

  • 10 per cent or more of persons who reside there require physical assistance in conducting their daily activities and to evacuate the building during an emergency, excluding:
    - A dwelling where two or more members of the same family and not more than two other persons would ordinarily be resident; or
    - A place of residence where only one resident needs physical assistance in conducting their daily activities and to evacuate the building during an emergency.
  • The dwelling includes more than one sole-occupancy unit, where any sole-occupancy unit has sleeping facilities capable of accommodating three or more unrelated persons

For more information about fire sprinkler and associated fire risk management requirements, see Volume 1 of the National Construction Code. Providers should seek professional advice about their individual dwellings and circumstance and associated fire risk management obligations.

If you have any questions or would like to raise any concerns, please contact Pascale Dreyer, NDIS Transition Advisor, at submit enquiry/feedback or on 03 8341 4333.

Contact information
Pascale Dreyer, NDIS Transition Advisor, 03 8341 4320, submit enquiry/feedback