Queen's University - Accessibility Guide - 13 Classrooms/Lecture Halls/Theatres/Amphitheatres/Labs (Computer and Sciences)/Meeting Rooms
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13 Classrooms / Lecture Halls / Theatres / Amphitheatres / Labs (Computer and Sciences) / Meeting Rooms   PDF version

13.1 General

The accessibility requirements of people with disabilities in a classroom include items such as illumination, seating, audio assistance and safe access and egress.

13.2 Accessible Routes, Paths, or Corridors

This section describes an Ontario Building Code Requirement  The OBC requires that every barrier-free path of travel shall provide an unobstructed width of at least 1060 mm. Wider routes allow for easier circulation.

See Section 2.7 Anthropometrics and Section 7 Circulation for space and door requirements.

13.2.1 Stairs and ramps incorporated into lecture halls, classroom settings, etc., shall comply with Sections 8 Ramps & 9 Stairs.

13.3 Audio Amplification

This section is important for people with hearing impairments  Audio amplification systems, such as an FM, loop, infrared or direct connect should be available in lecture halls and classrooms. For smaller classrooms / meeting rooms, a portable system should be available. Permanent systems should be provided for larger auditoriums/lecture halls.

Audio amplification and/or assistive listening devices should comply with Section 12 Communications.

13.4 Classrooms

This section is important for people with mobility impairments  This section is important for people with hearing impairments  13.4.1 In level classrooms, where fixed desks are used, desks that are wheelchair accessible (see workstations Section 13.8) should be integrated throughout the seating area and connected to the accessible route.

This section is important for people with visual impairments  13.4.2 Lighting in classrooms should be at least 200 lux to facilitate lip reading and sign language interpretation. Blinds should be provided so natural light does not create a glare that will create problems for persons with visual impairments.

13.4.3 Projection screens for films, rather than video TV screens, should be provided for persons with visual impairments.

13.5 Assembly Areas

This section describes an Ontario Building Code Requirement  Wheelchair viewing platforms within assembly areas (classrooms, lecture halls, etc.) should be an integral part of any seating plan. They should be dispersed throughout the seating area wherever possible to provide a choice of viewing locations and may be created through the use of removable seating.
(OBC 3.7.3.6.(1d))

This section is important for people with mobility impairments  13.5.1 Level seating areas for both ambulatory persons and persons who use wheelchairs should be provided at the top and bottom of assembly areas and where possible throughout the room. Level areas should be connected to a barrier-free path of travel and be adjacent to the means of egress in case of emergency. (See Figure 13.1.) In rooms where a speakers lectern is located on a raised platform, a ramp or a lift to the platform should be provided. Refer to Section 8.9.1 for viewing platforms in ramped lecture halls.

13.6 Wheelchair Seating Areas

This section is important for people with mobility impairments  Places for people who use wheelchairs should be available to provide comfortable viewing in a classroom.

13.6.1 All viewing platforms shall be a minimum of 850 X 1200 mm (Figure 13.2). A level viewing area that is 850 X 1525 mm should be provided where a side approach is to be used and 850 X 1220 mm where a front or rear approach is to be used. (OBC 3.7.3.6.(1b))

This section describes an Ontario Building Code Requirement  13.6.2 Each wheelchair viewing position shall be a clear, level ground or floor area connected to a barrier-free path of travel. (OBC 3.7.3.6.(1c))

13.6.3 Seating should be provided adjacent to the wheelchair viewing platforms for ambulatory companions. If the space adjacent to the seat backs onto a downward slope, then provide a 75 mm high curb to retain the wheelchair.

13.6.4 Number of Wheelchair Spaces
This section describes an Ontario Building Code Requirement  For seating capacities of under 100, a minimum of two wheelchair spaces shall be reserved. For seating areas of 101 to 400, four wheelchair spaces should be maintained and for audiences/classes larger than 400, 1% of the seats shall be reserved for wheelchairs. (OBC Table 3.7.2.A from 3.7.2.1.(2))

Persons in wheelchairs usually sit higher than persons in standard seating and care should be taken that viewing positions for persons in wheelchairs are arranged so as not to obstruct the view of persons who may be seated behind them.

13.7 Service Animals

PDF image - Figure 13.1  assembly areas

PDF image - Figure 13.2  wheelchair seating areas

Seating should be provided with level floor space, approximately 500 X 500 mm, to accommodate service animals. Spaces should be located out of the pedestrian route.

13.8 Work Stations (Desks, Tabletops, Computers)

This section is important for people with mobility impairments  At least one accessible work station should be provided in class, meeting rooms and lab settings of 50 students or less, 2 for every additional 100 students.

Work stations (Figure 13.3) shall be connected to a barrier-free path of travel and have a surface that
a) is at least 750 mm wide X 600 mm deep;
b) is at a height between 810 and 860 mm;
c) has a clear floor space of at least 750 X 1200 mm, which may extend up to 480 mm underneath the work surface;
d) has knee space at least 750 mm wide X 480 mm deep X 680 mm high;
e) has a toe space under base cabinets that is at least 150 mm deep and 230 mm high;
f) has no sharp or abrasive surfaces under it; and
g) has accessible electrical outlets at the side or front of it.

Adjustable work stations with adjustable slanting tops should be considered so that one table can be set for various users. Height and knee clearances at specialized work surfaces may require different considerations. Additional space should be provided to accommodate adjustable keyboards, flip-top tables and other special considerations.

13.9 Science Labs

This section is important for people with mobility impairments  Labs shall have at least one accessible work station and lab station sink provided in lab settings of 50 students or less, 2 for every additional 100 students.

13.9.1 Materials stored above the reach height of persons who use wheelchairs should also be available in drawers or on shelves at a lower height. Storage should be provided between 400 to 1200 mm in height.

13.9.2 Sinks in labs shall
a) be mounted with the rim height between 810 mm and 860 mm from the floor;
b) have a knee space at least 750 mm wide X 250 mm deep X 680 mm high plus a toe space at least 750 mm wide X 230 mm deep X 230 mm high;
c) have a clear floor space at least 750 mm X 1200 mm in front of it (up to 480 mm of this space may extend under it);
d) have faucets with handles of the lever type that are operable with a closed fist or have faucets that are electronically controlled;
e) have no sharp or abrasive surfaces under it;
f) have hot water, drain pipes and its underside insulated if they abut the clearances stated above; and
g) have accessible electrical outlets at the side or the front of it.

PDF image - Figure 13.3  forward and side approach to table or counter

13.9.3 Safety Issues
This section is important for people with mobility impairments  Where safety provisions such as eyewashes and showers are provided, accessible facilities should be provided as well.

13.9.4 Care should be taken to avoid flashing lights in laboratories that may trigger an epileptic seizure.


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