Design of Public Spaces

Section D

Status indicator for started Design of Public SpacesMYAP:

  1. Develop a consistent design strategy to address those limitations or building elements where it may be feasible for Waterloo to exceed legislative requirements.
  2. Catalogue existing physical space elements on Waterloo campus, identifying spaces with accessibility considerations.
  3. Support the space and asset management strategy to embed accessible elements and integrate it with Waterloo’s standard facilities management protocol.

D1. Design Strategy

Status indicator for startedStatus: started

Progress: on track

In March 2020, the Government of Ontario’s initiative to partner with the Rick Hansen Foundation Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility CertificationAccessibility CertificationTM (RHFAC) program to offer complimentary accessibility ratings expanded to include the city of Waterloo. The University was successful in expanding our application for eight additional campus buildings: B.C. Matthews Hall (Faculty of Health), Claudette Millar Hall (Housing), Columbia Icefield (Athletics), Dana Porter Library, Mathematics and Computer building, Physical Activities Complex (Athletics), South Campus Hall, and Student Life Centre. Assessments were completed by September 2021, and six out of the eight buildings received RHF Accessibility Certified, scoring at least 60 per cent in the assessment findings. This complements the 71 per cent score previously received by the School of Pharmacy in 2020. Many departments are already taking the assessment findings and making changes, including accessibility modifications within their capital projects and budgets.Campus bathroom

In December 2021, the University was also successful in receiving an EnAbling Change grant through the Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility to develop an Inclusive Physical Space Design Strategy. With the support of a sizeable government grant, the University will look to develop a comprehensive, performance-based design strategy that stitches together accessibility, sustainability, and well-being frameworks. This will include a review of various performance-based accessibility standards and identify intersections with established sustainability and well-being standards. The Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification Program will be one of the standards within the environmental scan. This project will look to generate a tangible design framework for the University to adopt within our physical space design projects, either completed internally or through consultants. Under commitments of the EnAbling Change grant, this resource will be open-sourced content, made available for any other institution or organization to adopt. This final strategy resource will be available by December 31, 2022.

D2/D3. Cataloguing accessible elements, Facilities Management protocol

Progress symbol for started

Status: started

Progress: behind schedule

As the University begins to resume on-campus activities, we are able to resume reviewing our preventative maintenance strategy for accessible elements, taking into consideration ongoing public health measures and requirements that have been brought on by the pandemic. As part of our Campus Wayfinding project, we have begun cataloguing all our power door operators for external entrances. Our Plant Operations department has had discussions on how to develop a sustainable preventative maintenance strategy, including the communication between the design group and maintenance group on building changes.

By identifying the key players within this project, we have created a solid multi-pronged approach to developing a sustainable preventative maintenance strategy. First, we will review our existing preventative maintenance workflows to ensure accessible elements within the area are captured. Areas that require additional verbiage to ensure maintenance on those elements will be reviewed, and training will be provided to the team to ensure they are aware of what to look for. We will create a preventative maintenance workflow for accessible elements that do not currently have one and are identified as a priority in phase one. Finally, taking all elements and cataloguing them appropriately within our facilities management system to allow for assigning work, audit, cost allocation, etc. will be completed. At the same time, we will leverage our existing annual classroom space planning review to include accessible elements within the classroom setting to catalogue assets and flag areas of concern. Integration between the two systems will be discussed as we build out our strategy.