Triggers to apply the Premises Standards

BPB practice advice PS 11-003 December 2011

Note to readers: practice advice relates to the legislation in force at the time, which may since have been amended.

This Practice Advice will assist the application of the Commonwealth Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards 2010 (the Premises Standards) within NSW.

Background information on the Standards and guidance on their implementation in NSW can be viewed at

For most building work, the trigger for compliance with the Premises Standards occurs where an application for the approval of building work [either for a construction certificate (CC) or complying development certificate (CDC)] is lodged on or after 1 May 2011.

The Standards apply to new buildings, a new part of a building and the 'affected part' of a building (see PS 11 - 002). The Premises Standards also apply to Crown building work. However, as Crown building work is not the subject of an application for a CDC or CC, the trigger for compliance is whether the work commenced on or after 1 May 2011.

The Standards do not apply to exempt development, nor to exempt building work undertaken by the Crown.

In NSW, a 'building' does not include a manufactured home or moveable dwelling under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act). As these are not buildings and do not require the issue of a CC or CDC, the requirements of the Premises Standards and the Building Code of Australia (BCA) in relation to accessibility do not apply to their installation.

Building certificates for unauthorised building work

An application for a building certificate under section 149A EP&A Act where building work has been carried out without a CC or a CDC is not an application which triggers the operation of the Standards.

Councils may utilise their discretionary powers to issue Order No. 13 under section 121B of the EP&A Act to bring a building into conformity with relevant development standards (e.g. disability access provisions), however careful consideration needs to be given to the use of these discretionary powers as compliance may not be achievable.

Areas that do not need to be accessible

Part D3.4 of the Access Code and the BCA specify the areas that are not required to be accessible:

  • a) an area where access would be inappropriate because of the particular purpose for which the area is used
  • b) an area that would pose a health or safety risk for people with a disability
  • c) any path of travel providing access only to an area exempted by this clause.

These areas could include rigging lofts, waste containment areas, foundry floors, loading docks, fire lookouts, plant and equipment rooms and other similar areas. Identifying such areas should be on a case-by-case basis.

Related Practice Advice:

external PS 11 - 002: 'Affected part' upgrades under the Premises Standards