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What the Ontario Building Code Says About the Tactile Attention Indicators

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What the Ontario Building Code Says About the Tactile Attention Indicators

Tactile attention indicators, also known as Tactile Walking Surface Indicators (TWSI), are an important accessibility feature required by the Ontario Building Code (OBC) to help visually impaired persons safely navigate buildings and public spaces. 


As a leading supplier of tactile products, we at Tactile Solution Canada want to provide a comprehensive overview of what the current OBC says about tactile attention indicators to help architects, contractors, building owners, and property managers understand the code requirements and select compliant products.


OBC Standards for Tactile Attention Indicators


The key section outlining standards for tactile attention indicators in the current OBC is Section It states that where a tactile attention indicator is required, it shall conform to the specifications outlined in Sentence (2) and Clauses 4.1.1 and 4.1.2 of ISO 23599 standard for Assistive Products for Blind and Vision-Impaired Persons – Tactile Walking Surface Indicators.


Some key criteria for OBC-compliant tactile attention indicators as per ISO standard 23599 are:


  • Detectable from surrounding surfaces by raised profiles and visual contrast
  • Durable and maintain long-term detectability
  • Beveled edges to prevent tripping hazards
  • Slip-resistant
  • Installed in a consistent square grid pattern aligned perpendicular to the path of travel
  • Sufficient depth for detectability underfoot
  • Extend across the full width of the accessible path or travel


Where Tactile Indicators Are Required


The OBC mandates the installation of tactile attention indicators in the following locations:


1. At Stair Edges


Per OBC, tactile attention indicators must be installed:


  • At the top of the stairs, start one tread depth back from the edge of the top step
  • At the leading edge of landings where a doorway opens onto stairs


This alerts those with vision impairments that they are approaching a set of stairs.


2. At Platform Edges


As per OBC, tactile indicators are required:


  • Along platform edges not protected by guard and higher than 250 mm above floor or ground
  • At platform edges with slopes steeper than 1 in 3


This prevents people from unintentionally walking off the edge of an elevated or steeply sloped platform.


3. At Accessible Paths Near Vehicular Areas


Per OBC, tactile attention indicators must be demarcated:


  • Where an accessible pedestrian path enters a vehicular route or area where no curb or element separates the two


This warns pedestrians when they are entering a potentially dangerous vehicular travel way.


OBC Specifications for Tactile Profiles


The OBC requires tactile attention indicators to have truncated dome textures with specific dimensions:


  • Dome height: 4 to 5 mm
  • Top diameter of domes: 12 to 25 mm


Spacing between centers of adjacent domes:


Dome Top Diameter      Spacing


  • 12 mm                42 - 61 mm
  • 18 mm                48 - 65 mm
  • 25 mm                55 - 70 mm
  • 15 mm                45 – 63 mm
  • 20 mm                50 – 68 mm


These specifications allow the tactile cues to be easily discernible underfoot and detectable with a cane without posing a tripping risk.


How Tactile Solutions Can Help


At Tactile Solutions, we supply a wide range of OBC-compliant tactile attention indicators to help buildings and public spaces meet Canadian accessibility standards. Our products are:


  • Manufactured to ISO 23599 specifications
  • Available in a variety of durable materials like composite, aluminum and stainless steel
  • Customizable in size, color, engraving and installation method
  • Ideal for indoor and outdoor applications
  • Complimented by installation services


With over 20 years of experience supplying tactile solutions across Canada, we can recommend the right products for your specific project requirements. We also provide hassle-free shipping across the country.


Our customer service team is happy to answer any questions on OBC tactile indicator requirements and provide code consultation. We aim to ensure architects, contractors and property owners have access to compliant tactile safety solutions for all projects.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What are some common indoor applications for tactile attention indicators?

A: Indoors, tactile attention indicators are commonly installed at stair nosings, elevated platforms and stages, exit doors, accessibility ramps, and high-contrast surroundings to define paths of travel.


Q: How are tactile attention indicators installed?

A: These products come with rear-applied tape or can be installed using mechanical fasteners. Set into fresh concrete during new construction. Indicators must be flush with the ground surface.


Q: How often do tactile indicators need replacing?

A: With proper installation and maintenance, quality-compliant tactile indicators can last 10-15 years outdoors and 20+ years indoors. Replace immediately if damaged, lifted or missing.


Let Tactile Solution Canada help make your building or public space accessible and OBC-compliant with quality tactile indicators installed correctly. Contact our experts today to discuss your tactile attention indicator needs.