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CSA announces harmonization of accessibility standard with NBC

June 16, 2016  By CSA Group

June 16, 2016 – CSA Group has announced that its key accessibility standard has been referenced in the National Building Code (NBC), an important step toward the harmonization of accessible design requirements.

CSA B651-12 Accessible Design for the Built Environment was first published in 1990, and is now in its fourth edition.  The standard contains requirements for making buildings and other facilities accessible to persons with a range of physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. It was developed to fulfill an expressed need for a national technical standard that covers many different types of buildings and public spaces.

“The Technical Committee on Accessible Design has worked for many years to make this harmonization possible. Accessible design opens doors for people of all abilities and is an essential part of our built environment,” said Magali Depras, President of Standards, CSA Group. “By giving designers clear and consistent requirements and expectations across the country, the work of creating accessible spaces is made easier.”

The accessible design provisions in the CSA Group standard were comparable to those in the NBC, and it was clear that creating a single source document would help simplify the design process.  Over the past three years the technical committee has worked with its counterpart committee at the National Research Council, the developer of the National Building Code, to align and update the design requirements in both documents.  Once that was complete, the B651 could be directly referenced in the NBC.


Users of the recently published 2015 edition of the National Building Code now have the option to use either the design requirements in the NBC or those in B651.  The CSA and NBC technical committees are continuing to work towards referencing CSA B651 as the sole source for accessibility design requirements in the 2020 National Building Code of Canada.

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