Studio & Facility Guidelines

AHVA facilities are working spaces, not living spaces as such the following are prohibited: animals or pets, sleeping, food preparation equipment, smoking or vaping, and consuming alcohol or illicit substances. Eating is not recommended in the general studios due to health and safety concerns.

University staff are required to regularly inspect facilities in the interest of maintenance and safety, as well as to ensure these guidelines are followed. They may enter studios without notice at any time.

It is your responsibility to help maintain the cleanliness of facilitiesincluding sinks and waste areas. Doing your part helps to build a happy studio community that enriches everyone’s experience.


Before commencing work, students must receive area-specific orientations.

  • AHVA personnel will distribute written guidelines and/or provide direct orientation on safety, proper use of equipment and facilities, access details, and UBC policies.
  • If you are unsure how to use a piece of equipment, are unfamiliar with a facility procedure, or have not received area training, arrange training by contacting the appropriate AHVA technician or your course instructor.

Health & Safety

  • Appropriate conduct is expected always to avoid endangering yourself and others.
  • Report any hazards or concerns to AHVA staff or the AHVA Safety Committee.
  • Area-specific health and safety boards are located in each facility and outline general safety guidelines, additional usage instructions, UBC policies, and contacts.

Note the location of the following in every area where you work:

  • Emergency eye-wash stations and showers
  • First aid stations
  • Fire alarms and fire extinguishers
  • Emergency exits and muster points

Emergency: call 911 (Fire/Ambulance/Police).

  • Always notify AHVA staff in the area, but only when it is safe to do so.
  • Refer to fluorescent green AHVA Emergency Procedure posters in your area for additional instructions.

Non-emergency: If you have a security concern, call UBC Campus Security at 604 822 2222, 24 hours a day.

AMS Safewalk is always happy to provide safe escort if you need to travel across campus at night, and can be reached at 604 822 5355.


Our buildings are shared-use facilities. As such, it is collective responsibility to keep our areas secure:

  • Do not allow strangers into secured spaces. Faculty, staff, and students who are permitted access have their own card or key to do so. Other UBC personnel also have their own means of access and will never ask you to open a space for them.
  • Do not prop open doors at any time. Always meet visitors at the door.
  • At the conclusion of a work period, turn off any equipment and lighting, and close windows and doors. Leave the area safe and secure upon departure.

The studio facilities are for use with common, classroom-safe media. Other materials can be accommodated; however, they require prior approval from AHVA staff.

  • Handle all materials with care and consider all health and safety precautions.
  • Many materials contain a variety of chemical ingredients that can be adverse to your health and the health of those around you.
  • Students are required to make themselves familiar with the hazards and safety procedures of their materials and processes before commencing any work.

If you have any questions or concerns about materials or the safety of a particular process, consult with AHVA staff before beginning your work so that appropriate safety precautions can be determined.

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): You may require PPE (gloves, respirators, goggles, etc.), many of which can be purchased through the PRC store. Additionally, AHVA facilities have engineering controls in place to support safe use of specific materials and processes. Consult with an area technician before commencing work.
  • Materials Safety and Data Sheet (MSDS): UBC requires a MSDS for every material and substance used in the studios. It is your responsibility to provide an up-to-date MSDS for any new materials or substances (if MSDS is not on file already).

Restricted & Prohibited Materials

Any potentially hazardous or unconventional studio materials, processes, or practices that you intend to work with in the facilities or on the UBC campus, listed in this handbook or not, must be reviewed by AHVA faculty and staff before you commence work. This is for your health and safety and that of your colleagues.

AHVA Facilities are designed to help make certain types of hazardous and/or unconventional practices safe and as easy as possible. If you have questions, concerns, or ideas talk to AHVA staff and let’s work something out to figure out how to make your practice safe and to use the facilities AHVA has to offer.

Prohibited Materials:

  • Fire of any kind — no open flames, burning or combustion
  • Heat-generating equipment (personal hot plates, wood-burning pens, etc.)
  • Ignitable materials and particulates
  • Fuels (kerosene, gasoline, etc.)
  • Explosives
  • Products containing toluene
  • Pure turpentine

Restricted Materials:

  • Spray paint
  • Resins
  • Solvents (including odourless paint solvents)
  • Acids, bases, chemicals, chemical agents, and compressed gases
  • Products that contain chemical agents
  • Asphaltum and tar products
  • Plaster and cement or like products
  • Organisms (living or dead) – Due to ethical issues, any use of animals, living organisms, tissues (including animal flesh), fluids, blood, or related matter in artwork must be reviewed and sanctioned by staff before you proceed.
  • Dry pigments
  • Products made of/or containing fine dust or particulates (saw/wood dust, flocking, powders, glass beads, etc.)
  • Wax (melting)
  • Electronics (modification, component disassembly/assembly, soldering, etc.)
  • Construction of any 3-dimensional structures, platforms, enclosures, or support furniture
  • Suspending objects – Review appropriate anchor points with staff
  • Surveillance or recording equipment
  • Bio-hazardous or potentially bio-hazardous material (any human or animal fluids, matter, flesh, or blood)

Spray Booths & Respirators:

Spray paint, materials containing volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), or work that may generate fumes or dust, must be done in an appropriate facility. Consult with staff to determine how to accommodate you.

  • DO NOT do this work in general studio areas, common areas, or outside as it is forbidden at UBC and poses safety hazards to you, the public, and the environment.
  • Large Spray Booth: AHVA can accommodate these processes safely! The large spray booth (AAC 3008) accommodates large objects through large double doors. With proper PPE, users can safely complete finishing work.
    • Plan ahead to access this facility! Spray booth key can be checkout out from the BCB Cage.
    • PPE required: respirator with cartridges (plus completed Fit Test), and goggles
  • Respirator Fit Test: 20 minutes per person. Sessions are regularly administered. Times are announced in studio areas, or contact area staff or the Safety Chair.
    • Upon completion you will be registered on the AHVA access list for the year and will be eligible to sign out keys for the spray booth.

Excess materials, Rubbish and Disposal

You are expected to maintain work areas and are responsible for the disposal of any excess materials, rubbish, or objects in accordance with best practices and UBC guidelines.

This does not mean to simply through everything you do not need into the closest garbage without consideration. Do not abandon the rubbish/item near a garbage receptacle when it does not fit inside it of affix said item with the old “free” sign, hoping someone else will deal with the burden.

Disposing of unsafe, hazardous material or objects into a regular garbage can result in injury to other students, employees of UBC, and the environment. Be responsible with your art waste. Let’s do it right.

Common Spaces & Shared Areas

  • Hallways and common areas must be kept clear of personal materials.
  • Artwork and materials must be contained in studios or storage.
  • Students are responsible for removing all materials, projects, and belongings at the conclusion of classes. AHVA does not offer disposal services.

Do not use common areas as working areas or extensions of functional studio space.

Furniture, Equipment & Maintenance

Please treat studios and equipment with respect.

  • Physical modifications to studio facilities, furniture, equipment are not permitted.
  • Do not remove anything from the area you’re working in – furniture and equipment are tagged and inventoried for each facility.
  • Damaged furniture from neglect or misuse, should be reported by students to area staff as soon as possible.
  • Bringing your own furniture or support structures (tables, storage, etc.), requires consultation with AHVA staff beforehand for review in terms of health and safety. This includes any structures or supports you plan to build in your space. Any approved items that you bring into the space are your responsibility and must be promptly removed at the conclusion of the project or class.

Installation, Display & Public Space

  • Artwork display may only occur on designated display surfaces and locations.
    • Tacks and finishing nails are the recommended fasteners – tape is not recommended.
  • Public/common space is not to be used for display without prior approval from area staff.
  • Suspending works from mechanical systems (lighting, power, water, steam, and fire lines on the ceiling) is prohibited. Area staff can help you find appropriate anchor points to suspend work.
  • Activity or work intended for public spaces requires official UBC approval – do not just drop the work off and see what happens. If you are planning any work, or display for public areas (in- or outdoor at UBC), you must consult with an area technician or the Safety Chair at least three weeks in advance to communicate the details of your work. Projects cannot be enacted in public spaces without this permission. Plan accordingly. Plan ahead.
  • Work cannot damage or deface UBC property in any way (grounds, buildings, or equipment). Working directly on walls, floors, and windows or altering them in any way is prohibited.
  • Work must comply with UBC regulations regarding research and work done on campus – including provisions for environmental protection, other safety and habitat concerns, and safety codes, including those related to fire safety, public safety, and the safety of people with disabilities.