Accessibility

The BC Building Code 2018 introduces changes to support building accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Some important changes include:

  • adopting the format and approach of the National Building Code 2015 and most of its requirements, while retaining some requirements specific to B.C.
  • increasing accessibility in small retail shops and common areas of condominium and apartment buildings
  • increasing the number of wheelchair spaces required in public viewing spaces
  • equipping court rooms with assistive listening systems
  • requiring more visible alarms in addition to requirements for sleeping rooms and bed spaces
  • discontinuing requirements for accessible parking spaces; local authority bylaws regulate parking spaces

To learn more about the new accessibility requirements, please see where to find BC specific provisions by code reference (PDF).

Accessibility is an important objective of the BC Building Code. It ensures buildings are designed and constructed so people with disabilities can:

  • reasonably access and move around within the building
  • use the building facilities

Find illustrations and explanations related to accessibility requirements in the BC Building Code 2012:

A new edition of the Building Access Handbook will be created to assist code users to learn about the new accessibility requirements in the BC Building Code 2018.

Adaptable housing: This approach is used to design and build residential homes with features that can later be modified at minimal cost in order to meet the changing needs of occupants. This kind of flexibility:

  • Helps people stay in their own homes through illness, injury or aging
  • Provides more 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 easy-to-reach electrical outlets and switches or easy-to-use door and faucet handles
  • Building in a way that allows for future installation of necessary items – for example, installing grab bars in the bathroom
  • Main entrances that don't use steps making it easier for strollers, scooters and wheelchairs to access the building

Multi-unit residential buildings: The BC Building Code requires a minimum level of accessibility for these types of buildings – primarily for visitors.

The content on this page is periodically updated by the Province of British Columbia per the date noted on the page: September 5, 2018.