Accessibility

Accessibility is an important part of the BC Building Code. It is included so buildings are designed and constructed so everyone can

  • reasonably approach, enter and exit buildings
  • move safely throughout to use the facilities and services independently

BC Building Code 2018

BC Building Code 2018 introduces important changes to support building accessibility, including

  • Increasing accessibility in small retail shops and in common areas of condominium and apartment buildings
  • Increasing the number of wheelchair spaces required in public viewing spaces
  • Equipping courtrooms with assistive listening systems
  • Requiring more visible alarms in addition to requirements for sleeping rooms and bed spaces
  • Changes to the location of signs to reduce shadows and glare
  • Requiring accessible pathways between sidewalks, roads, loading zones and main building entrances
  • Discontinuing conflicting and competing requirements for accessible parking spaces as local authorities can regulate parking spaces more broadly
  • Adopting the format and approach of the National Building Code 2015 and most of its requirements, while retaining some requirements specific to B.C.

You can learn more about BC Building Code 2018 accessibility requirements by

Building Accessibility Handbook

Learn about the BC Building Code's accessibility requirements in the Building Accessibility Handbook 2020 (PDF, 9.8MB). The 2020 handbook includes new illustrations and explanatory text to support users to apply the BC Building Code 2018 requirements to make buildings more accessible.

Work to prepare the printed handbook is underway. At this time we do not have a confirmed release date. Queen's Printer anticipates publication of the printed handbook later in 2021 and will notify Code users when it is available on BC Codes.

Find illustrations and explanations related to accessibility requirements in the BC Building Code 2012 in the Building Access Handbook 2014 edition (PDF, 3.6MB).

Accessible parking spaces

Local governments and other local authorities can set requirements for accessible parking spaces through their bylaws.

Adaptable housing

Designing a home in an adaptable way makes future adjustments easier and less costly. Changes may be needed if your mobility changes through illness, injury or due to aging. Having this flexibility also helps future owners if they need to improve accessibility.

Adaptable housing refers to designing and building residential homes with features that can later be modified at minimal cost to meet the changing needs of occupants. This kind of flexibility

  • Helps people stay in their own homes through illness, injury or aging
  • Provides housing options for accessibility for people with disabilities
  • Reduces the cost of future renovations to accommodate people whose abilities change

Design and construction includes

  • Corridors, doorways, bathrooms and kitchens that are easier for people with disabilities to use
  • Features like approachable and reachable electrical outlets and switches
  • Building in a way that allows for future installation of items such as grab bars in bathrooms
  • Main entrances with power door operators making it easier for strollers, scooters and wheelchairs to enter the building

This page was updated by the Province of British Columbia on February 9, 2021.