BCAB #1431 - Tactile signage in school

December 18, 1996

BCAB #1431

Re: Tactile signage in school

Project Description

The project in question is a new public middle school.

Reason for Appeal

Article requires that "... to assist persons with a visual impairment, doors and openings that lead from any public area and through which the public is permitted to pass ..." be identified with tactile (raised) signs beside the doors or openings. This requirement applies "... but need not be limited to ..." a series of occupancies ranging from fine art theatres to offices and "such other occupancies, and parts of occupancies, as required the authority having jurisdiction."

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that tactile signage is not required because students and teachers are constant occupants of a school and become familiar with room locations. There are always other occupants available to assist the visually impaired and persons who are completely blind cannot find the sign in the first place. In consultation with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind it was learned that it is more important to have large numbers located where people with limited vision can focus on them.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains the school is an accessible public building and people with disabilities, including the visually impaired, should be able to pass to and from it without assistance. Schools are also used in the evenings for public events such as meetings and night classes. Sentence does not limit the requirement for tactile signage to the specific occupancies listed and gives the building official the authority to decide whether it is required in other occupancies.

Appeal Board Decision #1431

It is the determination of the Board that Clause leaves authority with the building official to determine "...such other occupancies..." that the tactile signage requirement shall apply to. The requirement is not limited to the occupancies listed in Clauses (a) to (h).

George R. Humphrey, Chair