From May 26 to June 1 Canada celebrates National AccessAbility Week. To honour this week, we are reflecting on the strides made in creating inclusive spaces for all individuals who will come to the PARC Campus. Ensuring these spaces are easy to access for all people, no matter their physical abilities, has been central to the design and construction process. The Royal BC Museum, in partnership with Maple Reinders and Michael Green Architecture, has diligently worked to implement features that not only meet but exceed accessibility standards.  

To that effect, one of the project’s requirements is to achieve the highest accessibility certification level awarded by the Rick Hansen Foundation: Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certified Gold (RHFAC Gold).

Established by Canadian Paralympian Rick Hansen, the Rick Hansen Foundation aims to create a more inclusive built environment by recognizing and promoting accessibility excellence. The RHFAC certification process is comprehensive and encompasses multiple facets of accessibility, including mobility, sightlines, wayfinding, and communication. With two levels of certification (i.e., RHF Accessibility Certified and RHF Accessibility Certified Gold), buildings seeking certification undergo a rigorous assessment conducted by independent, trained accessibility personnel who evaluate built spaces against a set of universal design principles.

The certification process evaluates a building’s design and functionality at two key stages of the process:

  • At design completion: An RHAFC Gold Preconstruction certificate may be awarded based on the accessibility features and design functionality.
  • At construction completion: A facility may be certified RHFAC Goldif built in accordance with the proposed design.

Designed as a single storey, the facility features key accessibility elements such as:

  • Accessible paths and circulation with clear and level openings, and accessible door hardware, with no stairs in public spaces.
  • Accessible parking in close proximity to the building entrance.
  • A colour palette that supports individuals with vision impairments.
  • Universal washrooms throughout the facility.
  • Intuitive wayfinding and interpretive signage including translation in braille and provision for assistive listening. 
In November 2023, the Collections and Research Building project received its RHFAC Gold Preconstruction certificate by exceeding the 80 per cent threshold setting the course for a successful implementation to receive RHFAC Gold at completion of construction.

The pursuit of RHAFC Gold™ certification for the PARC Campus supports the Royal BC Museum’s vision to increase accessibility to the province’s collection. By designing with accessibility in mind and prioritizing inclusivity from the outset, the project has not only created a space that meets the needs of the Royal BC Museum but will contribute to raising the standard for accessibility in the industry.

Learn more about the Rick Hansen Foundation and accessibility certification.