Slip Resistance in Building Design

24 Mar, 2023 |

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Slip resistance is a crucial aspect of building design and safety. It is important to understand the factors that contribute to slip and fall accidents, including the type of flooring material, the level of foot traffic, the presence of water or other liquids, and the cleaning and maintenance practices of the facility.


The New Zealand Building Code’s Acceptable Solution D1/AS1 outlines the requirements for slip resistance in buildings. The code specifies that access routes, including floors, ramps, and stairs, must have adequate slip resistance to prevent accidents. The code also mandates the use of transition zones between dry and potentially wet areas, which must be fitted with water-absorbent matting or an extension of the wet slip-resistant surface.

The most common method for measuring slip resistance is the pendulum test, which uses a rubber slider and water to simulate real-world conditions. The test provides a slip resistance value (SRV) that indicates the coefficient of friction between the surface and the footwear. The higher the SRV, the more slip-resistant the surface.

However, the ramp test, which uses an oil wet surface and an industrial work shoe, is often used for imported materials. An R11 rating on a ramp test is often equivalent to an SRV of 39 or higher on a pendulum test. However, it is not accurate to simply convert a ramp test result to a pendulum test result or vice versa, as the two tests measure different properties of the surface.

Moreover, slip resistance is not the only consideration when selecting flooring materials. Other factors, such as durability, ease of cleaning, and aesthetic appeal, must also be taken into account. Therefore, it is important to work with flooring experts who can help identify appropriate materials for each space based on its specific needs and requirements.

One example of a slip-resistant tile that is commonly used in commercial and public spaces is the The Place tile, which has a coefficient of friction of 0.40. This coefficient would classify the tile as P3 according to the Australian Standard AS 4586, which rates the slip resistance of flooring materials. However, the tile’s manufacturer only states an R10 rating and a coefficient of friction of 0.4, which is lower than the SRV of 39 required by D1/AS1 for wet areas.

The debate centered on whether an R10 or R11 rating was necessary for the entrance floor of a building. While some participants argued for an R11 rating, others suggested that an R10 rating with an appropriate mat well would be sufficient. Ultimately, the decision would depend on the specific needs and conditions of the space, including foot traffic, potential for spills, and cleaning and maintenance protocols.

To ensure compliance with the New Zealand Building Code’s requirements for slip resistance, it is important to work with qualified flooring experts who can provide advice and guidance on appropriate materials and installation practices. Additionally, regular inspections and maintenance of flooring surfaces can help prevent slip and fall accidents.

In conclusion, slip resistance is an important aspect of building design and safety that requires careful consideration and evaluation. It is essential to work with qualified flooring experts and to follow the guidelines set forth in the New Zealand Building Code’s Acceptable Solution D1/AS1 to ensure the safety of building occupants.

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