Some time ago we were asked to apply an anti slip tile treatment to brand new tiles laid around a public swimming pool in a prestige retirement complex. Our first reaction was a logical one…Why? Assuming that the builder or Architect had specified “non slip tiles” we were intrigued as to why the owner wanted or needed a non slip floor treatment.
The first thing we noticed when we arrived was the rough textured surface of the tiles, which added to our confusion. These tiles looked exactly what you would expect a non slip tile to look like.
After some discussion with the site manager we discovered that the tiles although obviously heavily textured did not meet Australian Building Code Standards, that a recent Pendulum test by a NATA accredited authority had indicated that the BPN (British Pendulum Number) was below acceptable standards for this environment.
After reading the NATA document we soon identified what may have been the reason for the poor Pendulum test result.
When measuring BPN or Slip Coefficient there are two forces at play, one is the downward force “gravity” the other is the lateral force “movement”. These two forces combine when the foot contacts the floor, and the result of this combination is identified as “traction”. When one of these forces is reduced or increased enough there can be a significant variation in traction.
The surface of the tile above relies on these 2 forces to exhibit its non slip properties however in the case where a Wessex style Pendulum test is used the gravity (downward force) is limited to the weight of the swing arm.
The other factor at play is the amount of exposed surface area of the tile itself. Like checker plate the profile of the surface can reduce the physical contact area by as much as 50%, and like checker plate stairs and walkways exposed to water contamination, these surfaces can be significantly more dangerous than lightly textured ones.
After consultation with the client it was decided to move forward with an anti slip floor treatment. The result was retested with the same testing authority and the results indicated around a 30% improvement in BPN which was more than enough to exceed the Code and ensured that the owners met their duty of care compliance.
If you would like further information on the treatments available to make your floors safe please contact us at Friction Systems Australia or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.