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Access Design Standards


The City of Calgary is committed to removing barriers that might prevent people with disabilities from fully participating in employment and all City programs and services. The Access Design Standards are The City’s standards for designing accessible buildings. These standards enhance accessibility by mandating design measures that exceed th​e Alberta Building Code r​equirements.

When are the standards required?

The standards are required to be incorporated into the design and construction of:

  • All new buildings constructed on City-owned land
  • Spaces leased by The City in buildings that are not on City-owned land
  • City renovation projects

The standards are not required to be integrated into:

  • Existing infrastructure (when no alterations are planned)
  • Projects that are not on City-owned land (except as mentioned above in spaces leased by the City)

Design professionals, the building industry, government departments and the community as a whole are encouraged to implement these standards in all projects constructed within The City of Calgary. For questions or assistance with improving accessibility in design, please contact 311.

2016 updates

The latest version of the standards was approved by City Council in September 2016. These updates are intended to help create an inclusive society, where the built environment is useable, functional and accessible to everyone.

Some of the major updates in the 2016 version include:


  • Parking within 50 m of entrance.
  • Mechanical lift/elevator for indoor elevation gains of more than 1.2 m.
  • Power door operators for barrier-free bathrooms.
  • General recreation/aquatic center standards (ramps to all hot-tubs, sloped entry to swimming pools, etc.).


  • Service animal relieving areas.
  • Signage requirements for rooms within City buildings.


  • Assisted listening system at information counters.
  • More descriptive signage for assisted listening systems.
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