Do The Premises Standards Apply To Every Type Of Building?

Buildings are classified under building law according to the intended purpose at the time they are built. So, for example, a hotel is a Class 3 building and an office block is a Class 5 building.

The Access Code in the Premises Standards gives details of which type of building is covered by the Premises Standards, but essentially it covers any public type building, including buildings which are primarily workplaces.

The draft Premises Standards do not cover Class 2 buildings which are apartment type buildings or Class 1a buildings which are stand alone houses such as detached houses or Townhouses. The draft Premises Standards do, however, cover Class 1b buildings which includes Bed and Breakfast accommodation, cabins in tourist parks, farmstay etc where there are 4 or more rooms or cabins.

Do the Premises Standards apply to all parts of a building

The Premises Standards generally apply to all parts of the building used by occupants. There are, however, a number of exceptions, exemptions and concessions. These can be found in Part 4 of the Premises Standards and Part D3.4 of the Access Code which is Schedule 1 of the Premises Standards.

The Premises Standards contain a general exception, the same as is found in the DDA, for situations involving an unjustifiable hardship. The Premises Standards spell out much more clearly, however, what factors would need to be considered by a Court if someone was defending their decision to not comply with the Premises Standards.

Does a person responsible for a building have to comply with the Premises Standards

The Premises Standards set out the level of access required to comply with the DDA on those matters covered by the Premises Standards. This applies to new buildings and those existing buildings undergoing renovation or change of use.

Failure to fully comply means that those responsible for the building are vulnerable to successful discrimination complaints unless they can put forward a defense of unjustifiable hardship.

Because the BCA will also be changed to reflect the content of the Premises Standards compliance will be achieved principally through the normal building certification process.

Existing buildings that are not undergoing any renovation or change of use (which triggers the need for a building approval) will not be directly subject to the Premises Standards but will continue to be subject to the existing provisions of the DDA and will continue to be exposed to complaints if access is not provided, as is the case now.



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