Share on:

Request A Quote

Best Practices for Increasing Accessibility in Shopping Centers and Indoor Stadiums

  • Home
  • Blog
  • Best Practices for Increasing Accessibility in Shopping Centers and Indoor Stadiums

Best Practices for Increasing Accessibility in Shopping Centers and Indoor Stadiums

As public spaces in Canada continue to expand in scale and complexity, facilities like large shopping centers and indoor stadiums pose unique accessibility challenges due to their sprawling layouts and enormous daily footfalls, as these spaces welcome thousands of visitors daily. Regardless, with proactive planning and adopting specialized solutions, it is entirely possible to create welcoming environments for people of all abilities within such infrastructure as well.


Understanding Accessibility Needs in Shopping Centers & Stadiums


As per provincial and national accessibility codes like the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Ontario Building Code (OBC), all large public buildings must provide tactile pathways to support independent navigation for persons with vision impairments. Daily, shopping centers see crowds of thousands exploring retail hubs and food courts, while indoor stadiums host events attracting sold-out audiences of tens of thousands. Such phenomenal traffic levels intensify the quest for robust accessibility solutions.


Tactile products play vital roles in shopping centers and stadiums by:


  • Identifying hazards around escalators, platforms, or stairs with truncated dome warning tiles

  • Guiding movement between levels, stores, and amenities with directional bar tactile wayfinding systems

  • Marking emergency exits clearly with photoluminescent signage for prompt evacuation

  • Preventing slips on staircases with non-slip photoluminescent stair nosings


Considering the immense volumes, standard polymer tactiles may not withstand the abrasion, necessitating industrial-grade materials certified to fulfill codes reliably over decades.


Selecting Durable Code-Compliant Materials and Solutions


When upgrading accessibility within shopping centers and stadiums, contractors must choose products optimized for such exceptional usages:


  1. Cast Metals: The superlative compressive strength of cast iron plates and corrosion-resistant stainless steel ensures eternal slip resistance under unimaginable loads.

  2. Porcelain: Temperature/impact-resistant clay resists degradation better than plastics while retaining aesthetics unblemished.

  3. Reinforced Polymers: Novel composites combining mechanical integrity with fade/crack/abrasion resistance far surpass generic plastics in longevity.

  4. Heavy-Duty Rubber: Formulated for withstanding millions of footfalls with full code compliance intact.


Some ideal code-compliant options available from Tactile Solution Canada include:


  • ArmorTile Cast Iron Tactile Plates rated for decades of intensive use

  • AccessTile Polymer Tiles last decades and withstand high burdens with easy replacement when embedded in concrete.

  • Advantage Tactile Systems precision-crafted stainless steel domes and bars

  • Elan Porcelain Tactile Indicators excelling in durability, aesthetics, and resilience

  • Ecoglo Directional Signage, Anti Slip Strips and Stair Nosings for egress guidance and slip resistance


Customization Requirements for Expansive Facilities


Due to their massive scale, shopping centers and stadiums often necessitate tailoring tactile solutions as per unique layouts:


  • Custom Sizing and Shapes to adapt flexibly within non-standard spaces

  • Logo/Insignia-Stamped Cast-in-Place Plates for enhanced aesthetics and wayfinding

  • Radial/Circular Configurations or angled intersections served through ergonomic tactile products

  • Combining tactile domes and tactile directional indicators to simplify complex routing alongside hazards


Partnering with accessibility specialists experienced in CSA-compliant customized tactile fabrication aids compliant navigation within gigantic venues.


Additional Considerations for Proper Implementation


Additional factors ensuring continued accessibility include:


  • Periodic Replacements to swap out indicators before 30% texture loss affects slickness

  • Preventive Maintenance Training for gentle cleaning and instant damage repairs

  • Redundancy with backup tactiles near critical routes and renovated sections

  • Accessibility Audits by advocacy groups and certified inspectors

  • Snow Removal Strategies to exposed buried tactile pathways in winters

  • Connected Digital Signage complementing tactile directions in mobile apps


Diligent management maintains accessibility unhindered through such solutions within shopping centers and stadiums.


Tactile Inspections: A Cornerstone of Compliance


Regular inspections serve as a cornerstone for accessibility compliance as per Canadian codes:


  • Develop a Standardized Checklist covering material integrity, dome heights, bond strength, cleanliness, etc.

  • Establish an Inspection Schedule based on facility usage - inspect busiest zones monthly and renovate semi-annually

  • Physically Audit Routes verifying the flush installation of indicators

  • Note Locations Needing Repair for planning remedial work

  • Click Detailed Photos of Defects for clarity in reports

  • Address Urgent Problems to optimize accessibility without delay

  • Compile Findings on Inspection Reports with Action Plans

  • Partner with Community Groups for "Access Audits," providing user-centric feedback

  • Outsource Specialized Inspections to accredited tactile product suppliers like Tactile Solution periodically


Periodic inspections identify issues proactively, shielding facilities from liability for code non-compliance.


Additional Tactile Considerations


Other aspects ensuring safe navigation include:


  • Redundant indicators installed alongside primary paths and intersections.

  • Contrasting colors meet visibility needs for low-vision users as per codes.

  • Emergency signage conforms to national standards on egress lighting and characters.

  • Post-renovation inspections validate full code compliance before reopening.


Professional solutions from an accredited supplier like Tactile Solution Canada reliably achieve barrier-free accessibility required for inclusivity.


Overcoming Common Challenges


Some hurdles encountered and best practices to address them:


Budget Constraints: Prioritize renovating the busiest areas first and strategically leverage community audits and specialized task outsourcing.

Staff Shortages: Train staff internally or temporarily using third-party inspection expertise on contract to complete inspections.

Facility Disturbances: Inspect accessibility thoroughly before reopening sections after renovations to identify gaps.

Weather Damage: Schedule replacement for severely degraded tactile before winter sets in to expose buried sections in a timely.

Aging Indicators: Implement 5-10-year replacement cycles through planned capital works budgets for high-usage tactile products.


Overcoming obstacles proactively through advanced accessibility stewardship maintains the spirit of inclusion.


Fastening Methods for New & Retrofit Projects


Installation suits surrounding surfaces, whether for new builds or upgrades:


  • Surface-applied readily retrofits onto existing floors with durable adhesives.

  • Cast-in-place embedment positions indicators seamlessly into freshly poured concrete.

  • Drilled or screwed fastening integrates seamlessly into stair nosings and metal plates.


Certified contractors install precisely per code using proprietary fastening. Specialized solutions uplift accessibility cost-effectively without disturbance.


Concluding Thoughts


While many tactile solutions suffice typical buildings, facilities experiencing phenomenal traffic volumes, like shopping centers and indoor stadiums, necessitate heavy-duty solutions to reliably serve all individuals. Specialized accessibility suppliers offer expertise in code-compliant yet customized products and professional inspection programs, cost-effectively meeting codes diligently over the infrastructure's lifespan. 


Proactive planning and stewardship are pivotal in creating welcoming indoor environments within expansive public spaces. Let us know if you need any assistance selecting appropriate tactile products or maintaining ongoing compliance at your facility by contacting our experts. We, at Tactile Solution Canada, as one of the trusted Tactile Walking Surface Indicators Suppliers, are eager to help our clients to create universally navigable indoor destinations fostering community through accessibility built to last as barrier-free design uplifts all.