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Maintaining Indoor Facility Compliance Through Regular Inspections: Comprehensive Guide

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Maintaining Indoor Facility Compliance Through Regular Inspections: Comprehensive Guide

Ensuring accessibility compliance of indoor facilities requires ongoing diligence from building managers and contractors. While initially specifying code-compliant tactile solutions helps achieve accessibility, proper maintenance over time through regular inspections is equally important. This blog outlines a comprehensive approach to maintaining unhindered accessibility indoors with regular inspections of tactile solutions.


Understanding the Importance of Tactile Inspections


Tactile solutions like surface-applied tactile tiles, embedded attention domes, stair nosing, and directional bars installed in indoor environments serve critical wayfinding and hazard warning functions for visually impaired individuals. As per the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), Ontario Building Code (OBC), and CSA B651 standards, public buildings must provide accessible routes demarcated clearly through tactile cues.


However, over time and with heavy foot traffic, there is potential for deterioration, tampering, or removal of tactile indicators, compromising functionality and code compliance. Regular inspections help proactively identify issues, take remedial actions, and ensure accessible navigation remains unhindered. This prevents slip-and-fall lawsuits and compliance penalties for building owners and managers.


Developing an Inspection Checklist


The first step in formalizing tactile inspections is developing a standardized checklist covering all vital components. Some key items to include are:


  • Material Integrity: Inspect tiles, strips, and domes for cracks, loosenings, or fraying, affecting durability and slip resistance. Lift edges to examine the bond strength of surface-applied indicators.

  • Texture Quality: Using a small ruler or gauge, check individual domes and bars that meet minimum height thresholds as per applicable standards like CSA B651. Gently press each dome to test integrity.

  • Visual Clarity: Verify products maintain high colour contrast from surrounding flooring to enhance visibility as required under AODA. Test under various light exposures throughout the day.

  • Alignment: Ensure all indicators along hazard borders and paths are flush, even and aligned tightly without gaps compromising tactility.

  • Adhesion: Use a flathead screwdriver to gently test bond strength for surface-applied tiles by probing edge adhesive lines.

  • Cleanliness: Look for dirt, debris, salt residues or other substances obscuring textures needed for navigation.

  • Signage Legibility: Inspect embedded signs, symbols, and characters for clarity and accuracy to guide users appropriately.


With a comprehensive checklist, inspection procedures remain consistent across staff—document findings for maintenance planning and compliance records.


Establishing an Inspection Frequency


Setting an inspection schedule tailored to facility usage levels helps catch issues early:


  • High-traffic areas like entrance lobbies and conference halls - Inspect monthly.

  • Medium-traffic spaces like amenities and corridors – Inspect quarterly.

  • Low-traffic back offices, storage – Inspect biannually.

  • After major renovations disturbing tactile installations.

  • Following adverse weather or building management issues.


Consider designating staff trained in accessibility standards to conduct inspections. Outsource specialty audits measuring dome height to experts periodically. Addressing concerns immediately shields facilities from accessibility non-compliance risks.


Conducting Thorough Tactile Inspections Onsite


When auditing, physically verify indicators closely using inspection forms:


  • Start after hours for minimal distractions and to emulate low-light conditions.

  • Carry a small flashlight to illuminate textures under all lighting scenarios, as experienced by visually impaired users navigating at different times.

  • Systematically check along entire path networks, staircases, exits and designated routes indicated through tactile cues.

  • Note locations immediately needing repair, annual remedial work, or proactive replacement as per lifecycle schedules.

  • Click high-resolution photos of defects, installations nearing end-of-life or other issues highlighted for clarity.

  • Record observations with dated photos on inspection reports, along with remedial action plans for accountability.

  • Promptly address urgent problems to optimize accessibility without delay. Report non-compliant products or substandard work for improvement.


Community Engagement for Access Audits


Regularly involve advocacy groups and actual consumers with vision impairments to conduct “Access Audits,” providing invaluable user-perspective feedback on solutions. Their assessments help prioritize correction work, achieving true inclusive design aligned with needs. This fosters goodwill while improving standards implemented long-term for all.


Key Factors When Outsourcing Specialized Inspections


For standardized, in-depth, or annual compliance audits, consider partnering with expert tactile solution suppliers:


  • Confirm supplier accreditation and inspector certifications in accessibility legislation, codes, and product knowledge.

  • Review inspection protocol and quality assurance measures followed for rigour.

  • Evaluate turnaround times for audit reports and recommendations.

  • Understand additional value-adds like maintenance plans, retrofit consultancy or staff training offered.

  • Compare all-inclusive project costs against the benefits of outsourcing specialized tasks.


Working with reputed accessibility solution partners streamlines inspection programs cost-effectively, adhering to prescribed best practices.


Addressing Common Tactile Inspection Challenges


  • Budget constraints: Prioritize high-traffic zones, leverage community audits, and outsource specialized tasks as required.

  • Staff shortages: Provide training internally or use third-party expertise temporarily.

  • Facility disturbances: Inspect renovated spaces proactively before re-opening.

  • Severe weather damage: Audits help expedite recovery work post adverse incidents.

  • Aging tactile indicators: Periodic proactive replacement as per product lifecycles keeps facilities barrier-free.


Overcoming hurdles through robust planning, adaptation, and capable partnerships reliably maintains hard-won accessibility achievements indoors. Tactile Solution Canada is always here to help its clients with quality tactile products and information in regard to maintaining both accessibility and compliance in their facilities. 


FAQs on Tactile Inspections


Q. What is the required frequency of tactile inspections for medium-usage retail stores?

A. As per guidelines, medium-traffic indoor areas should be inspected at least once every quarter to catch issues in a timely manner.


Q. How can we check the dome integrity of embedded stair nosings?

A. Use a small flathead screwdriver to gently test height by pressing individual truncated domes as per CSA standards for tactile. Redome if flattened below the minimum.


Q. Which certification should inspectors hold?

A. Training programs in accessibility legislation and standards offered by organizations like Accessibility Standards Canada help inspectors conduct audits correctly.


Q. What if facilities need more resources for dedicated inspections?

A. Consider outsourcing specialized inspections and compliance audits periodically to expert tactile solution suppliers who can inspect efficiently and cost-effectively.


Conducting tactile inspections regularly as part of maintenance management keeps indoor facilities accessible, compliant with codes and safe for all. Partnering with suppliers like Tactile Solution Canada helps streamline the process. Call us today at toll-free number 1-877-761-5354 or 905-761-5354 to discuss more!