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May | 2020

Renovation of education and care services may affect the number of children who can attend the service. There are also some special provisions in the law about renovations at services approved before 1 January 2012. Therefore, we recommend you contact us before renovating your service.

Renovating a service premises

If you are intending to renovate your service, we recommend you, as the approved provider, contact us to discuss your proposal and any implications it may have. You could provide a preliminary plan so we can discuss the design and suitability of the renovation before formal plans are prepared. This can help identify issues before plans are submitted for council approval or any building work starts.

Regardless of whether you do this or not, as the approved provider, you are required to notify the ESB if a renovation is planned for the service premises.

If a renovation is linked to an amendment to the maximum number of children that can be educated and cared for at a service, you are required to submit an Application for amendment of service approval (SA03) and include a copy of the current floor and site plan. This should indicate all details, along with building practitioner calculations of the unencumbered indoor and outdoor space available for children’s use.

If an amendment to the maximum number of children is not required, you are required to submit a Notification of change to information about an approved service (SA12). This outlines proposed changes to the centre. Similarly, you need to submit a current floor and site plan, indicating all details together with building practitioner calculations of the unencumbered indoor and outdoor space available.

Space requirements: services operating before 1 January 2012

Education and care services based at a centre (long day care, out-of-school-hours care or preschool/kindy) that were licensed under the Children’s Services Act 1985  or operated before the National Law came into effect (1 January 2012) are known as declared approved services. This means they were approved to educate and care for the same number of children as before this law.

The regulations in the Education and Care Services National Law (South Australia) about indoor space requirements apply differently to these services. Similarly, regulations about indoor and outdoor children’s spaces in the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 apply differently to declared approved preschool services. The indoor space requirements for declared approved services that provide education and care to children over preschool age do not apply to the service if there is indoor space of 2.8 m2 or more per child.

However, when one of these services is renovated, the new space requirements may apply (see below).

When does the National Law apply to declared approved services?

Declared approved services that are renovated (see definition below) will have the maximum number of children that can be educated and cared for at any one time re-calculated if the:

  • renovation reduces the existing unencumbered indoor space suitable for children’s use or reduces the outdoor space suitable for children’s use to less than 7 m2/child
  • approved provider requests a change to the number of children that can be educated and cared for at the service.

Note: The service’s capacity does not need to be re-calculated if:

  • the renovation is done without reducing the amount of indoor or outdoor space suitable for children, or so long as there remains at least 7 m2/child of outside space
  • an increase in the service’s capacity is not requested.

What is a renovation?

The National Regulations define renovate as either:

  • construction, demolition, removal or relocation of a building or other fixed structure (or part of a building or other fixed structure)
  • carrying out structural alterations on a building or other fixed structure.

In addition to any requirements under the National Regulations, building work classed as development requires development approval, generally obtained from local government (council).

Renovate relates to the whole education and care service premises. Any construction, demolition, removal or relocation of all or part of a building, or other fixed structure, on the service premises is captured in the definition of renovate.

Fixed means attached to the ground, or to another building or structure, on the premises.

A renovation also includes structural alterations to a building or other fixed structure. This means works that change or affect the fabric of the structure of a building or other fixed structure.

Here are some examples of a renovation:

  • the demolition of a storage shed and construction of a new storage shed
  • construction of a new stand-alone building or shed
  • the construction or demolition of a fixed verandah
  • replacement of an existing verandah (if larger or substantially different to the existing one)
  • removal or installation of a wall in a building
  • replacing a window in a wall of a building with a door.

Here are some examples of what is not considered a renovation:

Repair, maintenance or replacement of equipment

  • Replacing paving or concreate paths or impact-absorbing surfaces
  • Removing, replacing or erecting fencing
  • Replacing internal flooring and floor coverings
  • Replacing structures that have deteriorated, such as an existing verandah or pergola (if replaced with one that is similar or if the main reason is to increase shade)

Work related to health and safety issues and identified hazards

  • Removal of equipment due to corrosion or deterioration
  • Replacing shade structures or relocating shade structures to be more effective
  • Rectifying drainage issues

Improving the outdoor environment to incorporate or expand the natural environment

  • Playground design and upgrade
  • Addition of moss rocks or dry creek beds
  • Addition of timber decking

Work that increases energy sustainability of premises

  • Installation of solar panels without affecting the structure of the roof

Replacement or refurbishment of a kitchen, bathroom or staff area will not necessarily mean that maximum capacity will need to be recalculated. You should discuss your proposal with an authorised officer from ESB before the renovation work begins.

Assessing an application or notification

We will often conduct a site inspection before a new area is used. We will review the facilities of the whole service premises to ensure it is meeting the current regulatory requirements.

We have fact sheets about the building, planning and development approval processes and facilities requirements. See Facilities for centre-based services, Verandahs counted as indoor space and Outdoor learning environments: best practice principles.

Calculating indoor and outdoor space requirements

There must be at least 3.25 m2 of unencumbered indoor space for each child being educated and cared for by the service.

When calculating unencumbered indoor space, you must exclude any:

  • passageway or thoroughfare (including door swings)
  • toilet and hygiene facilities
  • nappy changing area or area for preparing bottles
  • area permanently set aside for the use or storage of cots
  • area permanently set aside for storage
  • area or room for staff or administration
  • other space that is not suitable for children.

The area of a kitchen is also to be excluded unless the kitchen is primarily to be used by children as part of the educational program provided by the service.

For each child being educated and cared for by the service, there must be at least 7 m2 of unencumbered outdoor space.

When calculating unencumbered outdoor space, you must exclude any:

  • pathway or thoroughfare, except where used by children as part of the education and care program
  • car parking area
  • storage shed or other storage area
  • other space that is not suitable for children.

Information about thoroughfare areas

Passageways or thoroughfare areas, including door swings, are not counted as play spaces. They are entry/exit spaces: to allow for the movement of adults or children.

In these circumstances, 1 m2 for each thoroughfare opening is deducted from the total space that can be counted for capacity purposes. This applies to all thoroughfares into and between children’s rooms regardless of where the thoroughfare is located or how doors are configured.

Where the thoroughfare is between children’s activity areas, 1m2 is deducted from both activity areas because the door impedes use of both areas, resulting in a deduction of 2 m2.

Additionally, other encumbrances (such as built-in cupboards, sinks, lockers, etc.) are also deducted from the total space to determine the unencumbered space available to children. Similarly 1 or 2 m2 deductions also apply to thoroughfare openings, gates and doors located in the outdoor space.

This information is required to be provided by the building practitioner and detailed in a schedule that is used to calculate the maximum number of children that can be educated and cared for at the service premises.

Counting a verandah as indoor space

Under the current legislation, an approved provider can apply to the Education Standards Board to have a verandah area included when calculating the area of indoor space. Please refer to the fact sheet Verandah areas counted as indoor space

Fencing, shade and supervision

If declared services that were operating immediately before the commencement of the National Law were not required to comply with current requirements relating to fencing, shade and ability to supervise children, they continue to not be required to comply with these requirements under the National Law unless there is a renovation or the service is transferred. For the purposes of assessment and rating of a service, the service will be taken to comply with these requirements if the requirements under the previous law are met.

Contact details

Education Standards Board
Phone: (08) 8226 0077 or 1800 882 413
Website: www.esb.sa.gov.au
Email: educationstandardsboard [at] sa.gov.au

This fact sheet provides guidance for approved providers of education and care services to help them operate in line with the National Quality Framework. We also recommend referring directly to the legislation: