If you’re thinking about investing in NDIS property, it’s important to understand the building requirements so you can tick everything off before purchasing a property. Specialist disability accommodation (SDA) design standards have a 2-hour emergency power backup requirement in case of power outages. Read on to find out everything you need to know about this power backup requirement, including answers to FAQs.
What types of SDA equipment may need emergency backup power?
There is a range of SDA equipment that may need backup power to ensure functioning. Different categories of SDA will have different equipment to cater for individual SDA recipient needs. Common examples include:
- Ceiling hoists
- Emergency alarms
- CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines
- Electric bed controls
- Door controls
- Fridges for medications
- Communication devices
- Life support systems.
What are the SDA emergency backup power requirements?
SDA design guidelines specify that at least two general power outlets in SDA must be able to provide emergency power for at least two hours in SDA recipient’s bedrooms and for any automated entry/exit doors.
Ideally, the emergency power should be an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) that is medical grade, especially if it is to ensure the ongoing functioning or availability of lifesaving equipment. Medical grade A UPS ensures power in the event of any power outage.
Remember: Solar batteries are not classed as medical grade, so are not suitable.
Key UPS considerations for SDA
Key UPS considerations for SDA include:
- Picking the right sized system.
Choose a system that allows for at least 1.5kW load at any time for every SDA participant in the household. However, the load should be tested to cater for individual equipment needs. More kW capacity is likely to be required for SDA participants with higher equipment needs.
- The runtime.
The desired UPS runtime (which is a minimum of two hours to be compliant with SDA regulations) affects the type of battery required. The more power that is required, the more batteries that will be required.
It’s important to seek professional electrical advice from a specialist UPS provider.
What is the life expectancy of a UPS?
The average UPS system can be expected to last about seven years. The warranty of components can be up to 10 years, but you may experience faults as the system gets older.
How often should you get a UPS serviced?
You should get a UPS system serviced and tested at least every 6 – 12 months by a licensed electrician. This will help you to maintain your warranty. If the system gets heavy use, you may need to get it serviced more frequently.
How often should you replace UPS batteries?
This depends on your system capacity and usage, but in general, most UPS batteries have a five-year warranty. Some have ten-year warranties. However, they may lose their runtime capacity over time, so it’s wise to replace them a year or two earlier than their life expectancy to be safe.
The bottom line
Installing a UPS system into SDA ensures the safety of SDA participants. It also ensures compliance with SDA design standards. If you’re looking at building or purchasing an SDA property, be sure to check with the builder or real estate agent that the home covers the necessary requirements.