Canadian Consulting Engineer

Surrey, B.C. becomes first Canadian city to commit to building for Accessibility

The city will build all future civic facilities to Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certified Gold level.

June 1, 2021  CCE

Surrey, B.C. is the first city in Canada to commit to building to a Gold level using Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) for all future civic facilities.

This announcement comes during National AccessAbility Week 2021, taking place from May 30 to June 5, 2021.

“By taking this step, we are making a commitment to ensure that people of all ages and abilities can fully participate in everyday life in Surrey,” said Mayor Doug McCallum in a news release. “We are proud to be the first city in Canada to make this proclamation, and we thank the Rick Hansen Foundation for their partnership and support as we press forward to design all future civic facilities in a way that will be accessible for everyone.”

Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) rates the level of meaningful accessibility of buildings and sites, based on the holistic user experience of people with varying disabilities affecting their mobility, vision and hearing. Surrey was one of the first Canadian municipalities to receive an RHFAC Gold rating and now has 43 rated civic facilities, including 29 that have been certified, and five that have achieved Gold. To-date, over 1,300 sites across Canada have been rated through the program.

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To receive an RHFAC Gold rating, sites must receive a minimum of 80 per cent on their rating scorecard, the primary entrance must be accessible, audio-visual alarms, safety warning features, and assistive listening and communication enhancement technology must be present where applicable. A feasibility study conducted by HCMA Architecture + Design (HCMA) showed only a 1% average increase in construction cost (or 0.4 per cent for office buildings) to achieve RHFAC Gold compared to National or Ontario building code when thoughtful planning and design is applied upfront, which is what Surrey is doing.

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