As of the 1st of May 2014, the Building Code of Australia (BCA) provides changes that will affect building designers, certifiers and access consultants.
The change that directly affects access for people with disabilities involves the introduction of specific slip-resistance classifications for ramps, stairways and landings.
The requirements are located in Parts D2.10, D2.13 and D2.14 of Volume 1 of the BCA.
D2.10 states that the floor surfaces to pedestrian ramps must have a slip resistance classification.
D2.13 states that stairway treads shall have slip resistance to either:
D2.14 states that landings in a stairway must have a slip resistance to either
The slip resistance shall comply with table D2.14 of the BCA when tested in accordance with the Australian standard – slip resistance classification of new pedestrian surface materials – AS 4586 – 2013.
Table D2.14 not only provides specific slip resistance classifications, it also makes a distinction between wet and dry surface conditions.
|Ramp steeper than 1:14||P4 or R11||P5 or R12|
|Ramp steeper than 1:20 but not steeper than 1:14||P3 or R10||P4 or R11|
|Tread or landing surface||P3 or R10||P4 or R11|
|Nosing or landing edge strip||P3||P4|
It is our view that a gap exists in the BCA for the requirements for slip resistance to landings associated with ramps.
A Ramp is defined in AS1428.1 as “an inclined surface on a continuous accessible path of travel between two landings with a gradient steeper than 1 in 20 but not steeper than 1 in 14”. Neither Parts D2.10, D2.13 and D2.14 provide requirements for a landing associated with a ramp.
However clause 7.1 of AS1428 states that “a continuous accessible path of travel and any circulation spaces shall have a slip-resistant surface”. Therefore a landing associated with a ramp is also required to be slip-resistant.
The BCA now provides the benchmark for slip resistance and compliance with the requirements of Table D2.14 will need to be met.
In accordance with AS1428.1 landings to stairs and ramps in most circumstances are required to be provided with TGSI’s. The TGSI is also required to be slip resistant in accordance with the requirements of clause 2.3(c) of AS1428.4. 1 – 2009.
As a landing is required to comply with Table 2.14, the TGSI located on the landing cannot provide a lesser slip resistance rating than the requirement for the landing.
A material to be used on a surface required to comply with table D2.14 is required to be tested in accordance with AS 4586 – 2013. The standard provides 5 surface testing methods, to enable surface material classifications in either wet or dry conditions, depending on the intended location and use of that particular building element.
A building certifier is required to ensure compliance with the requirements of the BCA. In order to do this, the certifier can request testing certificates from a registered testing authority showing compliance with the current standard. A test to a previous standard does not prove compliance with the current standard.
It is worthy to note that although the Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards 2010 has not been amended to reflect these changes, the BCA forms a minimum level of compliance which can be applied where specific requirements are not provided.