Policy last updated

8 December 2022


  • Schools

January 2020



This policy explains how schools can access the Accessible Buildings Program to make reasonable adjustmentsExternal Link to school facilities for eligible members of the school community with disability, and to purchase hearing equipment for students with hearing loss.


  • Schools may apply to the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA)External Link for assistance to make reasonable adjustments to school facilities for students and staff with disability, and in some circumstances, parents/cares with disability.
  • Before making an application to the VSBA, schools must exhaust all alternative solutions for low-and-no-cost operational and timetabling to make the reasonable adjustments, as required under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)External Link and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Cth)External Link .
  • The cost of works funded by the Accessible Buildings Program must exceed $5,000 (GST inclusive), any works required that are less than this amount will need to be paid by the school. An exception to this minimum cost is for applications for hearing equipment. Where possible, the school should provide a quote for works to be undertaken.
  • This policy falls within the ‘manage’ stage of the school asset lifecycle.


The Accessible Buildings Program (ABP) supports government schools to create inclusive school environments and meet legal obligations under anti-discrimination laws.

Adjustments to buildings must be cost effective and flexible to allow for changes in demographics and medical and technological developments.


Through the ABP, the VSBA assists schools to make reasonable adjustmentsExternal Link to school facilities to enable students and staff with disability to participate in regular school activities. This includes students and staff with pre-existing disability, as well as disabilities that arise during enrolment (or employment) as a result of accident or deterioration of existing conditions.

In some circumstances, schools may also access the ABP to make reasonable adjustments to school facilities for parents and carers with disability, to enable them to access key areas of the school where they will need to attend, for example, theatres, assembly halls, the office and pick up/drop off points.

Refer to the Guidance tab for further details about eligibility criteria:

Application considerations

Applications to the ABP are assessed on a case-by-case basis due to the varied nature of accessibility requirements for eligible members of the school community with disability. Applications must be specific to the needs of the person.

Before lodging an ABP application, schools must exhaust all alternative low and no cost operational and timetabling solutions. Schools can contact their regional provision and planning manager for assistance with developing these solutions. For information and resources to support students with disability, refer to Support students with additional needsExternal Link .

The cost of works delivered through the ABP must exceed $5,000 (GST inclusive), except for applications for hearing equipment. Where possible, the school should provide a quote for the works as part of their ABP application.

Schools seeking to submit an application for the ABP must comply with the requirements, eligibility criteria and exclusions set out in the Guidance tab.

Ongoing considerations

Schools must maintain all modifications and additions funded by the ABP in good working order.


Reasonable adjustments
For the purposes of the Accessible Buildings Program, a reasonable adjustmentExternal Link is determined by the VSBA, working with the school, through consideration of factors including:

  • an individual’s circumstances and adjustments required
  • health professional reports and advice
  • school circumstances and accessibility of existing facilities
  • effects on other users of the facilities
  • the costs and benefits of making the adjustment.

Relevant legislation, codes and standards


Accessible Buildings Program guidelines

The Accessible Buildings Program guidelines contain the following chapters:

  • Accessible Buildings Program guidelines overview
  • Eligibility considerations – facilities
  • Hearing technology eligibility
  • Application and approval process
  • Assessment and approval – roles and responsibilities
  • Project delivery
  • Contracts

Accessible Buildings Program guidelines overview

Accessible Buildings Program guidelines overview

The Victorian School Building AuthorityExternal Link promotes inclusive learning environments through the Accessible Buildings Program. The limited annual program makes reasonable adjustments to school facilities and infrastructure to enable eligible members of the school community to participate in regular school activities.

Eligibility considerations – facilities

Eligibility considerations – facilities

Under the Accessible Buildings Program (ABP), the Victorian Schools Building Authority makes reasonable adjustments to functional areas that the eligible school community member requires access to as part of their regular school activities, and not to all areas of the school. These adjustments will be consistent with the Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards 2010 (Cth)External Link .

The program ensures inclusion into the school environment and respects the dignity and privacy of each school community member for whom an application is made.

Documentation relating to the need for the adjustment

To support decision-making for facility modifications under the ABP, schools must obtain a signed professional report (for example, from an occupational therapist, audiologist or optometrist).

Eligible projects

The ABP provides funding for schools to:

  • make adjustments to facilities to make sure that eligible members of the school community with disability have reasonable access to school facilities whilst maintaining their dignity and respect
  • meet the needs of the school community where accessibility issues occur as a result of existing disability, or as a result of accident or deteriorating conditions
  • make adjustments to the functional spaces that a student with disability needs to access in order to meet their curriculum requirements.

Eligible facility modifications

Facility modifications may include:

  • ramps and handrails (including temporary ramps)
  • toilet and shower modifications
  • modifications for vision impairments
  • modifications for hearing impairments
  • change tables and hoists
  • limited external works to improve access for the applicant.

Hearing technology eligibility

Hearing technology eligibility

Hearing eligibility

The Accessible Buildings Program (ABP) supports students with hearing loss with the provision of eligible hearing technology. Provisions are in place to support the high volume of hearing equipment applications and to ensure program resources are distributed for maximum student impact.

Confirming hearing loss

A qualified audiologist must provide evidence to confirm hearing loss to support an application for hearing technology through the ABP. This evidence should include official recommendations to support curriculum. The technology that is being applied for must be portable in order to support students as they progress through their schooling years, and be compatible with personal hearing devices such as hearing aids and personal sound amplifiers.

Eligible technology

Technology must not duplicate equipment provided by other department programs, through the Commonwealth funded Australian Hearing program, or through the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Hearing technology can be provided in primary classrooms or home rooms, specialist classrooms, and assembly or auditoriums.

Eligible learning areas

The required areas should be identified on a school map with relevant room numbers provided in the application. Schools are expected to adjust timetables and classroom use where possible to maximise use of the hearing technology equipment. Where this has not occurred, applications will not be considered.

Compatible technology

The application must include a description of the type and brands of anyexisting hearing technology or audio equipment within the school. Schools should indicate where compatibility is required with existing school technology. Mixing hearing technology brands is not recommended as transmitters and receivers must be of the same brand for compatibility with personal assistive listening devices or with existing technology within the school environment.

Application and approval process

Application and approval process

The regional office provides support to schools throughout the application process, which includes ensuring all low and no cost options have been exhausted, and assisting the school in acquiring all necessary documentation. Applications are then submitted directly through the department’s eduGate portalExternal Link , using the school email account.


Applications can be made at any time. However, schools are strongly encouraged to submit their Accessible Building Program (ABP) applications before 30 September in order to meet Term 1 requirements for the following school year.

Information and documentation required for the application process

All applications

It is essential that all necessary documentation is uploaded with the application for assessment. If in doubt, schools can contact their regional provision and planning manager for support to identify and collate this information.

Documentation for ABP applications must include:

  • the completed application form (available via the eduGate portalExternal Link (school email required) with the endorsement of the principal
  • a signed professional report (for example, from an occupational therapist, audiologist or optometrist) and/or appropriate documentation to support the need for modifications
  • a written report from the visiting teacherExternal Link (if applicable)
  • quote/estimate for the works
  • a school asset management system (SAMS) report or school map indicating the rooms and/or locations for modification
  • details and locations of any existing accessible facilities that are similar to the application request (where applicable).

Hearing specific requirements

Hearing applications must:

  • include an audiogram or audiology report or a specialist report confirming hearing loss
  • identify the classroom, location and room number for the functional learning spaces that require hearing technology (this information can be located in the School Facilities Profile, under Reports and Plans, or in AIMS within the facilities management application, under school documents)
  • identify and describe any current hearing technology (if existing within the school) including pictures of any existing hearing or audio equipment to determine compatibility (for example, existing audio equipment within assembly or auditoriums)
  • demonstrate that appropriate timetabling of deaf or hard of hearing students into spaces with equipment already installed has been considered and implemented
  • include a letter of endorsement by a visiting teacher.

Once the application has been assessed against the eligibility criteria, schools are advised of the outcome of their ABP application.

ABP application process

This section sets out the full process for applications made under the ABP.

Step 1 – School submission

The school must:

  • communicate with their regional provision and planning manager and collate application information/documentation
  • lodge their application via the department’s eduGate portalExternal Link (school email required).

Step 2 – Regional endorsement

Once a school’s application is lodged via the eduGate portal, it is referred to the regional office for review. If endorsed, the application is then referred to the VSBA’s Accessible Buildings Program manager for assessment.

Step 3 – Assessment and recommendation for approval

The VSBA will assess the requested adjustment against the ABP policy and relevant legislation. The VSBA will then confirm the project scope, including a full costing of the project.

Step 4 – Announcement by Minister of Education

The VSBA then submits endorsed applications to the Minister of Education for announcement (if required).

Step 5 – Notification to school

When the application is approved, the Accessible Buildings Program manager will contact the principal to notify them of next steps

Step 6 – Project delivery

Following approval, the school may commence works with project management by the ABP. The VSBA will reimburse the school following completion of the works. Refer to the Project delivery chapter for more information.

  • Hearing – hearing grant.

Assessment and approval – roles and responsibilities

Assessment and approval – roles and responsibilities

Administration and coordination

Role of the Accessible Buildings Program manager

Applications to the Accessible Buildings Program (ABP) are assessed on a case-by-case basis due to the varied nature of accessibility requirements for individual students, parents and staff members.

The ABP team assess applications in line with policy, and as part of this process, will confirm the project scope and cost. Applications that are endorsed in line with the policy, are then referred to the Minister’s Office for announcement.

Where applications are not approved, schools receive written advice from the ABP team which provides reasoning for the decision and offers alternative support for schools to lead the project themselves.

Role of the regional Provision and Planning team

Provision and planning managers are the first point of contact for schools submitting applications, and provide guidance around the general requirements. PPOs endorse completed applications, which are then referred to the Victorian School Building Authority's (VSBA) ABP team for assessment.

Role of visiting teachers

For hearing applications, visiting teachers provide specialist support to confirm the need of the student/school and provide endorsement letters.

Role of schools and principals

Principals, with the VSBA’s support, ensure facilities are fit-for-purpose and maintained to an operational standard through funding under the Student Resource Package. Where an application does not meet the eligibility criteria for the ABP, schools should consider alternative opportunities to make their buildings as inclusive and accessible as possible.

Project delivery

Project delivery

As part of the Accessible Buildings Program (ABP) delivery model, works can be undertaken through different methods based on the project scope, cost, and complexity.

ABP project manager

In most instances, works are managed and delivered through the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA)External Link . Either a building contractor or an ABP project manager (consultant) is appointed to oversee the project and be the point of contact for the school and community. Their role may also include:

  • visiting the school to develop a scope of works and a cost estimate and prioritising works to accommodate the specific needs in the application
  • briefing the school and community on the proposed amenity modifications
  • managing project operations including site access arrangements, contractor claims and advice, coordinating the completion and handover process, and updating the Asset Management Information System (AIMS) with information about the facility modifications.


In some instances where schools are seeking minor works that are considered straight forward, the project can be delivered through the school as a grant. This is where the school engages a builder directly to undertake the approved works.

When the project is finished, the school must submit a completion acquittal form to the VSBA. A reimbursement of funds is then made to the school within four weeks.

Asset management of hearing equipment (including transfer of equipment between schools)

Schools that receive a grant to purchase hearing equipment must consider the following points:

  • All hearing equipment is owned and managed by the school. The school is responsible for the maintenance and repair of equipment and ensuring that all equipment is used appropriately and stored securely. The school must register all hearing equipment on the CASES21 Asset Register regardless of value for insurance purposes.
  • Where the eligible student has finished enrolment at the school, the equipment remains in the ownership of the school. The school must store and maintain the hearing equipment and make it available for future students who may require the hearing equipment.
  • If the eligible student transfers to a different Victorian government school, the school may transfer the hearing equipment to the student’s new school. The receiving school becomes the owner of the equipment transferred with the student, and both schools must note the transfer of equipment in the asset register in CASES21. The school transferring the equipment must ensure that an Asset status change request form (DOCX)External Link is completed and approved by the principal before any equipment is transferred in accordance with Section 13.15 Transfer of assets between schools and Section 13.16 Transfer of materials or equipment of the Finance Manual.
  • For further guidance on transferring equipment between schools, refer to Section 13 - Assets and Inventory Management of the Finance Manual or contact the Schools Financial Management Support team at
  • Where the transferring school is not able to transfer hearing equipment and the receiving school does not have any existing hearing equipment that a pre-qualified student can use, the receiving school must make a new application to obtain hearing equipment for the student.



Victorian regional offices

South-Western Victoria Region

West Footscray: 9291 6500

Geelong: 5225 1000

Ballarat: 5337 8444

Horsham: 5310 5300

North-Western Victoria Region

Coburg: 9488 9488

Bendigo: 5440 3111

North-Eastern Victoria Region

Glen Waverley: 9265 2400

Benalla: 5761 2100

South-Eastern Victoria Region

Dandenong: 8765 5600

Central DE office

Accessible Buildings Program
Victorian School Building Authority
33 St Andrews Place
East Melbourne 3001



Currently there are no resources for this topic.

Reviewed 11 March 2020