The built environment creates barriers for people with disability, these are usually created without intent. Generally they are the result of designers not having a “working knowledge” of disability and the end users that will be using the environment.
Glazing bands are needed for people with vision impairment to alert them to a barrier created by clear glass, preventing them from walking through it.
The above example illustrates how a minor bit of distortion to an image makes a glazed facade undetectable for someone with a minor vision impairment. Note how the glazing band becomes undetectable.
Below are two examples of clear glazing that is effectively non-detectable even for people without vision impairment. Note, especially the reflection, that will cause confusion in the left-hand image.
Before we consider the use of Glazing Bands, we must first understand where they are required. For this we refer to AS1288:2006.
The following glazed areas are not considered capable of being mistaken for a doorway or opening:
Blindness and low vision can occur as a result of a number of different diseases, conditions or accidents. Some eye conditions are congenital (present at or near birth), others are caused by a disease or infection and others can be caused by accidents or through exposure to UV light (sunlight) or chemicals. Many of the most common eye conditions have no known cause.
Some vision impairment examples are following.
Thank you to Vision Australia for the use of these educational images. More information on these vision conditions can be obtained from the Vision Australia website. This page also includes a great video on the introduction to low vision.
Where there is no chair rail, handrail or transom, all frameless or fully glazed doors, sidelights, including any glazing capable of being mistaken for a doorway or opening, shall be clearly marked for their full width with a solid and non-transparent contrasting line. The contrasting line shall be not less than 75 mm wide and shall extend across the full width of the glazing panel. The lower edge of the contrasting line shall be located between 900 mm and 1000 mm above the plane of the finished floor level.
Any contrasting line on the glazing shall provide a minimum of 30% luminance contrast when viewed against the floor surface or surfaces within 2 m of the glazing on the opposite side.
The design of glazing bands does not have to be limited to a 75mm thick band only. Designers can be creative in developing compliant solutions that can also increase client branding.
Example of a standard 75mm single colour band.
An example of a 125mm thick band that includes the required 75mm band at the botton and another 50mm above that could include a clients branding. Note how the letters sit on the 75mm band (dashed line).
This shows a more creative example where multiple colours are used as well as logos and end treatment. There really is no limitation to how creative designs can be as long as the 75mm band of one colour is provided.