Vancouver’s Wavefront Centre earns Canada’s highest accessibility rating
November 4, 2020
The building is intended to showcase universal design.
Vancouver’s new Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility head office has achieved the highest national accessibility rating to date under the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) program.
With a score of 96 out of a possible 100 points, the building has earned RHFAC at the gold level, setting a new Canadian benchmark for accessibility in the built environment. The program rates a facility’s level of “meaningful access” based on the overall user experience for people with varying disabilities affecting their mobility, vision and hearing. To date, the program has rated more than 1,300 sites across Canada.
“Wavefront Centre has raised the bar,” says Rick Hansen, the foundation’s founder. “We encourage other organizations to review the accessibility of their buildings and begin to create a more inclusive future for everyone.”
RHFAC professionals praised a number of the centre’s features, including:
- rounder, wider corridors for improved sightlines and to allow people to walk side-by-side and face each other when speaking or signing.
- acoustic baffles, ceiling tiles and wall panels that reduce reverberation and improve sound absorption.
- high-contrast and braille door and wayfinding signs.
As its name suggests, the centre provides services to help break down communication barriers for people who are deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing. The head office, located at 2005 Quebec Street, is intended to showcase universal design for clients, employees and the community.
Local firms that were involved in the project include Aqua-Coast Consulting Engineers (building envelope), Fluid Mechanical Engineering (mechanical), Opal Engineering (electrical), Wicke Herfst Maver (WHM) Structural Engineers (structural), Protection Engineering (building code consulting), DENV Engineers (sprinklers) and Bunt & Associates (transportation engineering).