A NSW Government website

Accessible Office Design

Framework Guide

Executive summary
Accessible Office Design is a performance framework for making office design and fit-out more accessible in both new and existing buildings.

This guide explains who will benefit from accessibility, why it is important and what decision-makers should consider when creating accessible and inclusive office spaces. It also outlines the intended users of the performance framework (the framework), and how they can apply universal design principles and assess performance.

Download the guide (PDF, 2539.46 KB)

Download the guide (DOCX, 742.76 KB)

Who is it for

Anyone making government office decisions should use the framework. The framework is for anyone who procures, designs, builds, refurbishes, manages or maintains NSW Government offices.

It will inform decisions about government property procurement, and can help assess the leasing potential of future buildings.

Users of the framework will include:

  • senior leaders, decision makers and other employees in cluster departments and agencies
  • project and facilities managers
  • leasing agents, developers and builders
  • architects and interior designers
  • work health and safety professionals
  • consultants.

The NSW Government is working to apply universal design to its offices, and create workplaces that are consistent, dynamic, efficient, fair flexible and inclusive.

This work aligns with other strategic planning commitments, and the framework will help the public sector and property industry adopt universal design principles.

The framework supports the:

  • Government’s commitment to making all public sector roles flexible, using an ‘if not, why not’ approach
  • Whole of Government Office Accommodation Policy and other government policies about accommodation and real property
  • Premier’s Priority of a World Class Public Service which includes the commitment to increase
  • the number of employees with disability in government sector roles
  • State Priority of delivering strong budgets.

Using the framework

The government is working to apply universal design principles to its offices, and the framework outlines features you should consider along the way. It breaks down these considerations across 6 journey stages an employee will experience during a workday.

The framework is made up of 6 journey stages an employee will experience during a work day.

Supporting information

To help create the framework, we engaged with NSW public sector employees through focus groups and through the Accessible Office Design Survey.
We heard from over 690 public sector employees with disability, which helped us address the needs of people who experience cognitive, physical, psychological, psychosocial or sensory diversity.

The framework complements the accessibility requirements that already apply to government workplaces and helps to ensure employees and visitors with disability have the same rights as others in the workplace.

The framework is a living document that should be reviewed regularly alongside periodic amendments to the ‘National Construction Code’, the Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards 2010 and the Australian Standards for Access and Mobility (AS1428 series).

Accessible and inclusive products and services

Accessibility is not just important for workplaces; it is also important to our work practices. The NSW Government expects that all public sector employees can meet the basic level required to provide a better experience for people using our services. Further information on digital accessibility and inclusion can be found on the Digital NSW Design Standards.


All employers are required to manage safe workplaces for workers and visitors. This framework complements the current efforts of the NSW Government to design a post COVID-19 workplace that allows for:

  • Layout and density that help social distancing
  • Technology to allow for virtual meetings to reduce business related travel
  • Shared meeting room spaces that are safe and accessible
  • Hygiene stations integrated into workplace design

Accessible Office Design

Accessible Office Design is a performance framework for making office design and fitout more accessible in both new and existing buildings.

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Framework Accessibility Criteria

Outlines at a high level the criteria required to achieve the gold, silver or bronze level of design performance.

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Framework Design Requirements

The Design Requirements provide detailed technical specifications required to achieve the gold, silver or bronze levels of design