As of the 1 May 2011, the Commonwealth Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards 2010 (known as the Premises Standards) and the 2011 version of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) were enacted.
Both of these documents reference AS2890.6-2009 (rather than AS2890.1-1993) when designing accessible car parking spaces.
Unfortunately, planning schemes in Victoria still reference the old car parking code, AS2890.1-1993, which is now in conflict with the Premises Standards and the BCA.
Where there is a discrepancy between Commonwealth law (e.g. Premises Standards) and State law (e.g. Victorian planning schemes), Commonwealth law takes precedence over State law. However, it is possible that a planning authority (under its own heads of consideration) could accept such a reduced length, but it will now inadvertently be breaching the Premises Standards (Commonwealth law). On this basis, I suspect that VCAT (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal), Councils or any other planning authority will no longer accept 4.9m long accessible car parking bays. Also, as the new accessible car parking requirements form part of the BCA, this conflict will cause difficulties for the building surveyor to approve an accessible car parking space that is 4.9m long as part of any future building permit process.
I suspect that planning schemes will eventually catch up with the revised standards and will introduce the new version of AS2890.1 (2004), which also references AS2890.6 when considering “User Class 4” (people with a disability).
Therefore, the 5.4m long accessible car parking bays required by the Premises Standards take precedence over the planning scheme requirements and should be implemented into all projects.