Slip-resistance for stairways, landings and ramps

Friday August 29 2014

The Building Code of Australia 2014 includes a minimum standard for slip resistance of stairway surfaces.

The new deemed-to-satisfy provision requires the treads or nosing to treads of a stairway to comply with a slip resistance classification when tested to Australian Standard AS 4586 – 2013 Slip resistance classification of new pedestrian surface materials. This applies to all finishes and surface types (such as carpet, tiles and vinyl).

Introduction of the provision deferred until 2015

The Building Amendment (National Construction Code) Regulation 2014 was approved on 3 June 2014 and defers the introduction of the provisions relating to stair construction within BCA Volume Two until 1 May 2015. This enables the industry to undertake the measures required to meet the provisions of the BCA.

The new deemed-to-satisfy provisions

Previously, the BCA has had a performance requirement for treads or the nosing on treads to a stairway to have a slip-resistance walking surface. However, there has been no deemed-to-satisfy provision in the BCA that provided a standard that the surface had to meet.

Preparing for the new provisions

You need to consider all the finishes that you may install to the tread or the nosing of the tread of stairways and then approach the relevant manufacturers or suppliers to determine if the product they provide has been tested to comply with the slip-resistance classifications specified in the above table. All tests should be undertaken by a NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) accredited facility. Visit www.nata.com.au for details.

For finishes such as carpet, tiles, slate, vinyl or rubber, the supplier or manufacturer may already have the necessary information and evidence that their product has been tested in accordance with AS 4586.

For timber stairs, where a stair manufacturer uses particular types of timber with recommended finishes, they could have these variants pre-tested independently. As long as the material and finish to the installed tread or nosing is the same, then the test report for that material and finish can be provided to the relevant building surveyor as evidence of meeting the deemed-to-satisfy provisions.

Timber stairs, particularly those with polished treads that are constructed on site, may require an on-site test once the clear finish has been applied to confirm compliance with the standard and BCA. The standard provides details of how the on-site tests are to be conducted.

These provisions will also be applicable to carpets used on stairways.

Read the ABCB Advisory Note: Slip-resistance for stairways, landing and ramps 

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