How big should accessible (disabled) carparking spaces be?

  • March 19, 2013
  • Bruce Bromley

This post only applies to Victoria

This issue has been raised on a number of projects and as the changes to Clause 52.06-05 (to allow accessible/ disabled car parking spaces to be 4.9M long) is fairly recent, I suspect that it will be an on-going issue for while.

I am somewhat baffled by its inclusion into the planning scheme as the planning minister who approved its inclusion is also responsible for the building regulations that includes reference to the BCA and AS/NZS2890.6. Obviously, complete and succinct advice was not sought with this decision.

In any case, we are left with a discrepancy between the State’s planning scheme and the State’s building regulations, as well as the (Cth) Premises Standards.

Typically, if there is a discrepancy between two heads of consideration at the same level (i.e. State legislation), it is advisable to take the more onerous requirement to ensure compliance with both pieces of legislation. In this case, 5.4m long bays. By doing this, you are able to satisfy the building regulations, as well as the planning scheme (note that Clause 52.06-05 notes that accessible bays ‘should be 4.9 metres’, as opposed to ‘must be’).

Also, if there is a discrepancy between Commonwealth legislation and State legislation (e.g. Premises Standards v Planning Scheme), legal advice is likely to confirm that Commonwealth legislation will take precedence.

On balance, our view is that the 5.4m long bays under AS/NZS2890.6 takes precedence over Clause 52.06-05 within the planning scheme.

This is not to say that a Council could (and are entitled) to still approve 4.9m long bays under the planning scheme, but in doing do so, there is the problem that once a development progresses to the building permit phase, the bays will need to be amended. So to avoid reconfiguring car parking layouts after a planning permit is issued, it is far more sensible for Councils to insist on the 5.4m long bays to ensure consistency. This what we advocate to Councils, traffic engineers and civil engineers, although many don’t like to hear it!!

Update

As or the 19/04/13 the planning code was updated.
Note to Table 2: Some dimensions in Table 2 vary from those shown in the Australian Standard AS2890.1-2004 (off street). The dimensions shown in Table 2 allocate more space to aisle widths and less to marked spaces to provide improved operation and access.The dimensions in Table 2 are to be used in preference to the Australian Standard AS2890.1-2004 (off street) except for disabled spaces which must achieve Australian Standard AS2890.6-2009 (disabled).