• Commercial renovation accessibility compliance

Thinking about modernizing your office? Whether you want to remodel the washrooms or perform an extreme makeover of the entire floorspace, a commercial renovation can revitalize your working environment.

Any renovation to a “primary function area” triggers the requirement.  A “primary function area” is an area where the activities are germane to the business (i.e., a bank’s teller stations).

Vancouver Building By law section 3.8 Accessibility defines the design and construction of buildings and occupancies to make them accessible. If your existing building isn’t compliant, you’ll need to make upgrades or, if you’re planning a renovation, keep in mind that changes during a renovation can trigger City compliance.

In general, apartment and condominiums buildings, public toilets, buildings that are not intended to be occupied on a daily or full-time basis including but not limited to Malls, Showrooms, Health clubs etc. are the Buildings and facilities required to be accessible.

There’s a ton of building code and can be overwhelming for someone with little or no experience. On top of it, additional codes with more specific requirements apply to places of business. If you’re preparing for a commercial construction project, here are the most common accessibility code requirements that you need to know.

Warning! This is not a comprehensive list of building code(s), but information is intended for awareness only. The building codes may change from time to time. For a valid and complete list for building codes, you will need to check with your respective local regulators or city by laws.

Building Code Requirements


The principal entrance of a building shall be accessible and shall lead from the outdoors at sidewalk, roadway or street level.


Aisle-ways, a walkway or pedestrian bridge connects two accessible storeys in different buildings, the path of travel from one storey to the other storey by means of the walkway or bridge shall be accessible.

Moving walks:

In a building in which an escalator or inclined moving walk provides access to any floor level above or below the entrance floor level, an interior accessible path of travel shall also be provided to those floor levels.


A ramp located in an accessible path of travel shall have width of 1500mm and if the ramp serves a passageway that is 6 m or less in width the accessible path of travel shall have a width of 915mm. Additionally the surface, handrails/guardrails and landings in the ramp need to comply.

Parking and Loading zones:

An accessible path of travel should be provided between parking stalls for persons with disabilities along with an accessible entrance. Passenger-loading zones should be provided with an accessible path of travel to an accessible entrance.

Controls and Outlets:

Controls for the operation of building services or safety devices, including electrical switches, thermostats, faucets, door and window hardware and intercom switches, that are intended to be operated by the occupant and are located in an accessible floor area should comply


All doors should open with minimal force and have handles that are easy to grab. Where applicable it shall be equipped with a power door operator and allows persons to activate the opening of the door in the intended direction of travel, where the entrance serves a business.

Bathroom stalls:

Accessible stalls should have grab bars and hang a maximum of 17 inches from the floor.

Meeting rooms:

There must be accessible spaces in meeting rooms for wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and other equipment.

Drinking fountains:

Drinking fountains if provided it shall be located along an accessible path of travel and have a minimum clear floor space of 800 mm by 1 350 mm in front of it,

Sinks and faucets:

Fixtures and hose heads should comply with accessibility design requirement. People should be able to use one hand to control the lever-operated or touch-free sink.

Water Closet stalls:

Water-closet stalls and enclosures should have a clear floor space of not less than 1 500 mm by 1 500 mm in front of the accessible stall. It should be equipped with L shaped grab bar, self-closing door and have a water closet located so that the distance between the centre line of the fixture and the wall on one side is 460 mm to 480 mm.


Showers should have an entrance not less than 1500 mm wide and be not less than 900 mm deep. Showers should not have doors or curtains that obstruct the controls or the clear floor space at the entrance to the shower, have a slip-resistant floor surface, have 2 grab bars and have a hinged seat that is not spring-loaded or a fixed seat with a smooth, slip-resistant surface and no rough edges.

Spaces in Seating Area:

Spaces designated for wheelchair use should be clear and level or level with removable seats and they should not be less than 900 mm wide and 1525 mm long to permit a wheelchair to enter from a side approach. It should be 1350 mm long where the wheelchair enters from the front or rear of the space.

Low ramps, wheelchair-accessible washrooms, power-assisted doors, elevators, signage, and more are the things that are frequently added to buildings to ensure compliance.  When it comes to construction and alterations, Skilled services makes sure your building complies with VBBL. We’re proficient in commercial area upgrades and we can make your next renovation easier for you.

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