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Best Tactile Solutions for Condo and Apartment Buildings Amenity Areas

7th Jun 2024

"Accessibility is not an optional add-on or an extra expense, it’s an utmost need for all." – Thomas Schwartz

 

High-rise condominiums and apartment buildings in urban areas have become the new normal of living across major Canadian cities. With more residents choosing to reside in compact living quarters within towering structures, the shared amenity spaces inside these vertical communities play an increasingly vital social role. Fitness centers, yoga studios, party rooms, swimming pools, playgrounds, and outdoor terraces offer important areas for recreation, leisure, and community bonding.

 

However, ensuring accessibility and safety compliance within these high-traffic indoor facilities demands extra vigilance, given the unique challenges posed. As the leading Canadian provider of code-compliant tactile solutions, we explore below the recommended best practices and product options for optimizing accessibility, code adherence, and risk mitigation within the amenity spaces of multi-unit residential buildings.

 

Understanding High Usage and Code Mandates

 

The amenity facilities inside condos and apartments experience relentless daily footfall ranging from hundreds to thousands, depending upon the building size and resident count. Additionally, accessibility legislation like the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and Ontario Building Code (OBC) strictly mandate:

 

  • Installing directional bars or contrast domes demarcating designated circulation routes.

  • Positioning tactile products flush and as per height/spacing standards for optimum detectability.

  • Conducting thorough accessibility audits to verify compliance before issuing occupancy certificates.

 

Per the code, these high-traffic indoor areas must reliably sustain detectable tactile textures to aid safe navigation for vision-impaired residents and visitors alike around the clock. Let's explore durable solutions and proactive maintenance tactics optimized for withstanding punishing usage levels.

 

Selecting Heavy-Duty Tactile Solutions

 

When outfitting amenity zones experiencing phenomenal footfall daily, the most durable products proven to withstand extreme utilization include:

  • Porcelain Tactiles: Premium clay composites fired at high-heat cement porcelain's integrity against scuffs and stains, complementing amenity spaces' aesthetic ambiance for decades.

  • Composite Polymer Tactiles: Engineered plastics balance durability and affordability, making them optimal selections for typical fitness centers, party rooms, and indoor play area settings. Replaceable sections reduce full system replacement costs.

  • Rubber Tactiles: Flexible elastomers absorb shocks and resist abrasions suiting ever-changing footfall patterns through busy corridors linking pools and studios smoothly.

 

Understanding Varied Product Durability

  • Porcelain lasts 10-15 years with proper adhesive bonding maintenance under intense impacts.

  • Polymer composites typically endure 12-15 years before replacement in focused traffic zones.

  • Rubber remains functional for 8-12 years in the busiest indoor hotspots.

 

Partnering with expert tactile analyzers aids in discerning materials that are optimally aligned to the building's unique operational requirements and available maintenance budget.

 

Developing Thorough Inspection Protocols

 

Regular inspections conducted as per the below schedule help identify defects early, enabling timely repairs and uninterrupted accessibility:

  • Inspect high-traffic areas like fitness studios, activity rooms, and pools monthly.

  • Medium zones like hallways and lounges quarterly.

  • Low usage, such as amenity storage and mechanical biannually.

 

Note tactile integrity, bond strength, and tripping hazards requiring prompt remedy. Also, check:

  • Dome height conformity to specifications.

  • Visual clarity from diverse angles and lighting conditions.

  • Annual resident feedback on user experience is gathered via surveys.

  • Renew third-party auditing certifications verifying ongoing code compliance.

 

Documenting all completed maintenance substantiates diligence toward mandatory accessibility.

 

Routine Maintenance Best Practices

 

Accessibility demands regimented protocols sustaining code adherence through:

  • Quarterly deep scrubs to remove buildup obscuring textures.

  • Annual bond inspections are probing edges for potential lifting/degradation.

  • Proactively replacing aging products in the busiest zones every 7-10 years.

  • Noting all repair work with dated photos within maintenance logs.

  • Leveraging expert third-party auditing and certifications renewals.

 

The above diligence reliably maintains safety achievements for residents and visitors through infrastructure.

 

Addressing Challenges in Busy Amenity Spaces

 

Occasional obstacles necessitate strategic resolution:

  • Prioritize replacing high-usage zones first if budgets constrain the entire facility scope.

  • Schedule inspections in advance post major events, ensuring tactiles remain aligned.

  • Inspect immediately after climatic events for potential impact demanding accelerated cycles.

  • Outsource specialized tasks like auditing if short staffing occurs temporarily.

 

Responsively addressing compliance hiccups maintains achievements accessible indoors.

 

Industry Expertise from Tactile Solution Canada

 

Our guidance streamlines code adherence for amenity facilities through:

  • Heavy-duty options should be advised to match the intensity and required longevity.

  • Providing maintenance agreements encompassing phased replacement scheduling.

  • Troubleshooting challenges and recommending cost-effective improvements.

  • Supplementing credentialed third-party auditing renewals.

 

Our solutions reliably support clients in optimizing accessibility code compliance within amenity spaces demand solutions matched optimally to intensive usage.

 

Recommend Best Products for Condo Amenity Areas

 

Here are some top-rated tactile products suitable for intensive usage within amenity zones:

 

Elan Porcelain Tactile

Elan porcelain tactiles endure phenomenal footfall within amenity spaces like pools, gyms, studios, and party rooms aesthetically for 15-20 years without fading or damage.

 

AccessTile FR Surface Applied Tiles

AccessTile FR tiles certified to ULC fire standards provide code-compliant directional guidance and hazard alerts safely, even during emergencies within fitness centers and recreational facilities.

 

Advantage Cast Iron Tactile

Advantage cast iron tactiles withstand over 10 million footstrikes without degradation, rendering auditory navigation within amenity zones reliable for buildings design lifetime.

 

Ecoglo Exit Signage and Stair Nosing

Ecoglo provides photoluminescent radiance egress demarcation and slip-resistance on staircases, empowering accessibility during power outages within residential towers.

 

ArmorTile Tactile

ArmorTile flexible tactiles absorb shocks, accommodating ever-changing flows smoothly within party rooms, studios, children's play areas, and other versatile amenity spaces.

 

Investing in the above heavy-duty solutions certified to Canadian codes enhances resident safety, adherence to legislated accessibility mandates, and building reputation through resident satisfaction.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q. What inspection cadence suffices fitness centers experiencing 1000 visits daily?

A. As the highest usage, fitness zones handling over 500+ visits daily necessitate biweekly inspections with monthly deep cleans to identify degradation early and ensure uninterrupted safety.

 

Q. How can rubber tactiles withstand scuffs within party halls?

A. Modern elastomer blends maintain dimensional integrity regardless of substrates or temperatures indoors. Their shock-absorbing quality aids complex indoor flows while retaining texture perceptibility for safe navigation.

 

Q. Who performs specialized accessibility auditing renewals?

A. While basic maintenance can be addressed in-house with proper training, annual third-party auditing renewable certifying ongoing code-compliance demands credentialed inspectors to substantiate due diligence.

 

We hope this exhaustive guide has equipped you optimally to prioritize accessibility diligently within high-rise amenity facilities through meticulous product selection, inspection protocols, and routine maintenance routines tailored optimally to intensive multi-family building usage demands. Rely on our expertise to streamline compliance for resident safety seamlessly.

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Staircases in High Rise Buildings Must Comply with AODA and Fire Code to Ensuring Safe Evacuations

31st May 2024

When developing tall buildings with multiple floors or retrofitting the existing stairwells, staircases act as one of the primary means of egress in case of emergencies like fire. To ensure the safety of all building occupants, including persons with disabilities, during evacuation, staircases in high-rise buildings across Canada need to adhere to the stringent design and installation standards set out by authorities like the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the National Fire Code of Canada (NFC).

 

Compliance with AODA and NFC codes related to stairs is mandatory for new construction projects as well as existing buildings undergoing major renovations. Let’s examine some key accessibility and fire code requirements for stairs in tall structures and learn why following codes is critical.

 

Accessibility standards

 

AODA, implemented to achieve barrier-free accessibility in public spaces, sets clear guidelines on stair design elements like treads, risers, handrails, and contrasting colors. For instance, stairs must have:

  • Uniform riser height between 125-180mm and uniform tread depth between 280-355mm

  • Contrasting marking (minimum 50mm wide) on top of the nosing

  • Continuous and easy-to-grip handrails on both sides, mounted 865-925mm above tread nosings

  • Non-slip tread surfaces able to withstand heavy use

  • Level or ramped areas at the top and bottom to allow safe maneuvering

 

Compliance is important to provide independent and dignified mobility for ambulatory persons using mobility aids like wheelchairs, walkers, or canes. It also benefits those with reduced stamina or vision.

 

Fire code regulations

 

The NFC offers minimum requirements to facilitate safe evacuation in case of a fire emergency. Specific stair rules apply to:

  • Materials, construction joints, and penetrations

  • Number and capacity of exits based on floor area and occupant load

  • Travel distance to exits

  • Width, geometry, and surface properties

  • Protection with fire-rated enclosure

  • Illumination during failure of normal lighting

 

Compliance helps ensure occupants can readily access all stories and move steadily towards exits regardless of the fire conditions below. It also limits the potential for stairs to contribute to smoke and flame spread between floors.

 

For example, the NFC requires any exit stairs to be designed and constructed as a fire separation with a minimum 1-hour fire-resistance rating if more than 3 stories are connected. It also limits dead-end travel in stairs to 6m and specifies minimum tread width, riser height, and handrail dimensions with attention to safety. Similarly, high-rise buildings with 7 or more floors require the installation of fire-resistant tactile tiles.

 

Understanding purpose and rationale

 

The accessibility and fire code requirements jointly promote unhindered and hazard-free stair usage at all times. Specific measures aim to:

  • Facilitate ambulation for persons with reduced mobility, vision, or endurance

  • Prevent slipping, tripping, and falls

  • Maintain structural integrity and separation under fire exposure

  • Allow rapid evacuation before conditions deteriorate in a fire

  • Provide multiple independent ways out where higher-risk occupants are present

 

Compliance checking and upgrading

 

For existing buildings, facilities need to evaluate staircase design and construction against current accessibility and fire safety standards. Regular inspection and preventative maintenance alone may not be enough to ensure 100% code compliance over the long run.

 

Deterioration of materials, movement of structures and accumulation of debris can degrade critical elements like treads, nosings and handrails. Changes in tenancy or occupancy may necessitate load assessment. Upgrades may be triggered by significant renovations.

 

The authority having jurisdiction, like the chief building official or fire marshal, can inspect stairs during regular building reviews. They may also respond to public complaints. Deficiencies found must be rectified according to a compliance order.

 

Retrofitting non-compliant stairs can be challenging due to dimensional constraints and the need to avoid service disruptions. However, Compliance Solutions Canada offers code-compliant surface-applied stair nosing solutions that can be installed onto stairs of different materials and colors while complying with all safety standards. Their stair nosing products for step edge are available in different sizes for application on stairs with different depths.

 

The stair nosing can be "glued" or "screwed" directly to existent surfaces, providing a code-compliant upgrade without the need for disruptive construction work. Products like their non-photoluminescent and photoluminescent surface-applied anti-slip strips also provide compliant solutions for marking step edges. Professional engineering advice may still be required for complex upgrade projects, but Tactile Solution Canada's code-compliant tactile solutions offer less disruptive options to achieve compliance.

 

Our line of products for full compliance and accessible stair landings and safe paths:

  • Advantage Tactile Systems - Offers tactile indicators made from various durable metals like stainless steel, cast iron and aluminum. Suited for indoor and outdoor use.

  • Eon Tile - A flexible, durable rubber tactile tile ideally suited for high-traffic indoor areas like airports, stations, malls etc. Offers attention domes and directional bars.

  • Elan Tile - A premium porcelain tactile tile exceeding durability standards. Suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Features attention domes.

  • Armor Tile Tactile System Surface Applied - A vitrified polymer composite tactile tile known for durability and slip-resistance. Available in 10 colors and cuts to size. Meets all accessibility codes.

  • AccessTile Surface Applied Attention Domes - Slip-resistant truncated dome tiles for outdoor use at curb ramps, crossings, stairways etc. Offered in 8 colors.

  • AccessTile Surface Applied Wayfinding Bars - Directional bar tiles to guide visually impaired between spaces when used with attention dome tiles. Creates accessible pathways.

 

All of these glued tactile indicator options are lightweight, easy to install, withstand wear and weathering, and help ensure spaces are accessibility compliant by warning individuals of edges or guiding along safe paths. They can be adhered to existing flooring without disruption.

 

Special hazards in existing buildings

 

Due to the different construction eras, some older buildings present unique stair safety issues that are not addressed in current codes. For instance, older stairs tend to have:

  • Tighter tread dimensions not meeting current minimums

  • Open risers permitting tools or debris to fall through

  • Worn metallic nosing treated with paint, hiding the contrasting edge

  • Concrete treads and landings prone to spalling and exposed rebar

  • Rusting support structures subject to unexpected failure

  • Combustible materials in stairwells violating clear height provisions

 

When planning a building retrofit, full code compliance is expected to the extent feasible. While a senior building official may consider alternatives based on structural constraints, the priority during design and construction should be comprehensive life safety upgrades and prevention of hazards as intended by the relevant building codes. Equivalent structural solutions are only appropriate if they deliver equivalency in actual risk mitigation. Pre-approval of alternative designs may be granted based on thorough risk assessment, but full code compliance should be the goal wherever it can be reasonably achieved given the scope and budget of the retrofit project. Post-construction review by inspectors is aimed at approving work completed, so planning must already incorporate Code requirements to the greatest degree possible.

 

Duties of Building Owners Regarding Stairs

 

Building owners are responsible under applicable codes to provide safe, accessible stairways that minimize trip, slip, and fall risks. Key duties include:

  • Keeping stairs, landings, and adjacent areas free of stored items and clutter that can impede visibility or passage

  • Promptly repairing any cracked, broken, or otherwise deteriorated treads, nosings, risers, handrails, and railings

  • Maintaining intact tread nosings and abrasive tread surfaces for slip resistance

  • Ensuring intact illumination for all stairs and landings, with no dark shadow zones

  • Cleaning flammable debris and storage from under stair enclosures used for combustibles

  • Maintaining the required structural integrity of supports, suspension systems, and assemblies

  • Regularly inspecting for wear, material defects, loose fasteners, barriers and guardrails

  • Replacing any deteriorated tactile flooring and directional signage

  • Conducting timely maintenance of door closers, electromagnetic locks, and exit hardware

  • Ensuring exit stairs remain continuously accessible and not used for other storage or uses

  • Marking stairs clearly as emergency egress pathways and maintaining requisite clearance

 

This reinforces the stairs as a fundamental life safety system that must remain functional. Addressing deficiencies promptly protects against tripping or falls that could lead to serious injuries or litigation.

Preventative maintenance schedules allow timely identification and proactive repair of issues before developing into safety concerns. Comprehensive checklists tailored by an occupational health and safety expert aid consistent inspections.

 

Closing Thoughts

 

Whether for new construction or existing facilities, building stairs correctly is critical for saving lives in an emergency. Code authorities must enforce requirements to minimize tripping hazards and ensure fast, guided evacuation during fire. Meanwhile, building owners and managers have an ongoing duty to identify and promptly fix any code non-conformities through regular inspection and diligent preventative maintenance. Only through joint compliance efforts will we continue maximizing stairway safety for all building occupants.

 

At Tactile Solution Canada, our aim is to offer guidance and solutions enabling barrier-free circulation that respects the dignity of all. Get in touch with us today to get help with code-compliant and suitable tactile product for your stairway, hallway, and entry design needs.

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How to Implement CNIB and AODA Codes Compliance in Staircases

31st May 2024

Ensuring the safety and accessibility of public spaces is not just a recommendation but a mandate in Canada, governed by stringent codes and standards. Among these, the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) and AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) codes stand out as critical guidelines for making staircases accessible and safe for everyone, particularly for the visually impaired and people with disabilities. As a leading supplier of Tactile Warning or attention domes and Guidance or Wayfinding bars systems, Tactile Solution Canada is committed to helping you navigate these essential compliance requirements.

 

Staircases present unique accessibility challenges for building owners. While stairs are necessary for multi-level structures, they can easily exclude those with mobility limitations if not designed thoughtfully. This blog discusses the accessibility requirements for staircases according to the guidelines set out by CNIB and AODA. By understanding these regulations, builders and renovators can ensure all patrons can safely and comfortably navigate their properties.

 

Many accessibility issues pertain specifically to stairs. Uneven risers, sharp nosings, narrow treads, and lack of handrails pose trip and fall hazards. Proper staircase design is crucial for safety. Understanding code compliance helps architects, designers, and contractors meet these vital accessibility standards.

 

The CNIB guidelines and AODA are legislation with enforceable minimums. But they also recommend best practices surpassing basic accessibility. Their combined guidance creates an attainable continuum towards universal design accommodating people of all abilities to the greatest extent feasible.

 

Requirements of Tactile Walking Surface Indicators (TWSIs) for Staircases

 

TWSIs are crucial for providing non-visual cues to individuals with visual impairments. According to the CNIB's "Clearing Our Path" guidelines, TWSIs must be installed at the top and bottom of staircases to warn users of the change in level.

 

  • Dimensions and Placement: The Tactile Walking Surface Indicators (TWSIs) must extend the full width of the stairs. They should be positioned at least 6 inches from the edge of the top and bottom steps, in accordance with AODA standards, which also require a minimum depth of 24 inches as specified by the CSA. In other provinces, the minimum depth required is 12 inches.

  • Colour Contrast: There must be a high contrast between the TWSIs and the surrounding flooring to ensure they are detectable by individuals with low vision. The CNIB recommends a contrast of at least 70%.

 

Stair Nosings

 

Follow these guidelines for stair nosings:

  • Nosings should project no more than 25 mm.

  • Where nosings project, they should be sloped to the riser at an angle greater than 60 degrees to the horizontal.

  • For rounded nosings, the radius of curvature at the leading edge of the tread should be a maximum of 13 mm.

  • Steps should be made of slip-resistant material and have nosings or inserts made of non-slip material.

  • Stair nosings should have a color/ brightness-contrasted strip across the leading edge of the tread that is 40 – 60 mm deep. The color/brightness between the contrast strip and the surface of the tread should be at least 50 percent. The contrast strip should extend to the front edge of the nosing.

  • It should not extend down the front face of the nosing/riser by any more than 10 mm. On stairs, light-colored strips used on dark treads are preferable to light-colored treads used on dark strips. People with vision loss don't easily notice dark strips on nosings.

 

Risers & Treads

Uniform risers and treads minimize risk of tripping or losing footing on the stairs. Codes cap riser height at 180mm and require a minimum tread depth of 280mm. These regulated dimensions support a steady climbing pace. Variations disrupt gait.

 

Tread nosings must be slip-resistant. Durable nosing material reduces chance of slipping. High-traction surfaces increase safety, especially in inclement weather. Code mandates nosing projection not exceeding 38mm. Projection beyond this invites catching toes. Rounded or beveled nosings 25mm radius maximum also prevent toe injuries.

 

CNIB and AODA recommend optimizing riser/tread dimensions for seniors. Namely, risers no higher than 165mm and minimum tread run 290mm. Shallower risers and deeper treads ease stair traversal.

 

Outdoor Stairs

 

Exterior stairs must have visual/textured warnings, non-slip tread nosings, and grip-able handrails between 865-915mm on both sides. Adequate lighting ensures safe outdoor stair traversal.

 

Planning for Code Compliance in New Builds and Retrofits

 

When planning any project involving staircases, addressing accessibility requirements is crucial both in new constructions and retrofitting existing structures. Best practices for planning should consider the unique needs of each scenario:

  • Consult Experts: Engage accessibility consultants, architects, or CNIB representatives to review your project plans for both new builds and retrofits to ensure full code compliance.

  • Identify Problem Areas: For new constructions, integrate compliant designs from the start. In retrofits, evaluate existing staircases to identify non-compliant elements such as irregular treads or missing handrails that need upgrading.

  • Prioritize Recommendations: Based on expert assessments, prioritize modifications from most critical to least to develop a phased compliance implementation plan suitable for both new and existing structures.

  • Consider Alternative Designs: For significant renovations or when retrofitting, explore design alternatives like replacing stairs with ramps or lifts to enhance accessibility.

  • Set Budgets Accordingly: Allocate sufficient funds to cover full compliance upgrades in both new constructions and retrofits. Factor in potential government grants that may offset project costs.

  • Select Durable Materials: Opt for code-approved, slip-resistant materials such as metal, porcelain, or rubber for Tactile Walking Surface Indicators, ensuring longevity and minimal maintenance across all projects.

Proper planning and consultation from the outset help avoid last-minute modifications and budget overruns, ensuring projects are completed on time and within budget while achieving the highest standards of accessibility and safety for all users.

 

Buying the Right Compliant Products

 

To successfully implement CNIB and AODA staircase codes, it's important to source high-quality commercial-grade tactile products:

  • Our AccessTile polymer tiles and ArmorTile made from diamond hard vitrified polymers offer ultimate durability for heavy traffic areas with a longer design life.

  • Porcelain tiles provide an elegant aesthetic upgrade while resisting stains, chips, and chemical deterioration better than other indoor materials in commercial, public, and institutional environments.

  • Rubber Tactile Tiles are a great indoor retrofit solution and are flexible enough to handle thermal expansion on stairs exposed to temperature fluctuations.

  • Our stainless steel tactiles will never rot, rust, or delaminate like other alternatives and are good for esthetical reasons in both retrofit & new built indoors.

  • Ecoglo Photoluminescent Stair Nosing provides ultimate anti-slip glowing radiance during blackouts assisting evacuation.

 

We offer the largest selection of code-compliant solutions in Canada, with drawings, specifications, certifications, and installation instructions for every product to simplify compliance.

 

The Wrap

 

Compliance with CNIB and AODA codes is not just a legal obligation but a moral imperative to create safe and accessible environments for all individuals. By implementing these guidelines in your staircases, you contribute to a more inclusive society and enhance the overall safety and usability of your building. At Tactile Solution Canada, we are here to support you every step of the way, providing top-notch tactile products and expert guidance to ensure your compliance and satisfaction.

For more information on our products and services, visit Tactile Solution Canada. Let's work together to make every step safe and accessible for everyone.

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Exploring Elan Tiles: Aesthetic Yet Durable Tactile Walking Surface Indicators

24th May 2024

Tactile walking surface indicators, or TWSI, play a crucial role in ensuring safety for pedestrians with vision loss or impairments. As per the accessibility codes in Canada like AODA, NBC, ISO, and CSA B651, it is mandatory to install TWSI's like truncated domes or directional bars in various public spaces like sidewalks, transit platforms, building entrances, parking lots, etc. In our quest to offer the highest quality code-compliant TWSI solutions, we at Tactile Solution Canada are excited to explore the benefits of Elan Tiles - an elegant porcelain tactile system.

 

Introducing Elan Tiles

 

Elan Tiles has redefined the standards for functionally aesthetic TWSI's in Canada. Manufactured by a leading tactile solutions brand, Elan Tiles leverages the finest raw materials to craft durable yet aesthetically pleasing truncated domes and directional bars. The use of premium porcelain stoneware construction allows Elan Tiles to withstand the harshest indoor and outdoor environments while maintaining their sleek, modern appearance for many years.

 

Surpassing Rigid Quality Standards

 

Elan Tiles undergo extensive testing to verify their slip resistance, durability, and performance over extended usage. All Elan TWSI products meet the EN 14411 standard, designating them as "Porcelain Stoneware." This ensures the tiles can withstand heavy foot traffic experienced in mass transit stations, airports, malls, and other commercial spaces. Their slip-resistant R11 finish makes Elan Tiles a safe option for both interior and exterior sites experiencing all weather conditions throughout Canada.

 

Aesthetic Versatility

 

Available in neutral modern colors like Cultured Grey, Vogue Black, and Sandstone, Elan Tiles harmoniously blend into any indoor or outdoor design scheme. Their subtle tactile features and minimal color contrast guarantee code compliance as per AODA and CSA B651 standards. This allows Elan TWSI's to be incorporated tastefully across a wide range of commercial projects without sacrificing functionality or accessibility. Whether placing them at transit stations, office building entrances, or curb ramps - Elan Tiles empowers architects and designers to create safe yet visually appealing path-marking systems.

 

Indoor Applications

 

With their proven durability and aesthetic versatility, Elan Tiles have become the TWSI of choice for numerous indoor commercial projects across Canada:

  • Transit Hubs: Meticulously installed Elan truncated dome tiles guide thousands of passengers seamlessly across indoor platforms and walkways at major Canadian transit stations daily. Their low-maintenance porcelain stoneware construction withstands the rigorous footfall.

  • Retail Spaces: Leading shopping malls have opted for Elan TWSI to mark accessible routes between stores, food courts, and amenities. The tiles absorb heavy traffic while enhancing the modern interior decor.

  • Office Buildings: Many GTA office towers feature Elan directional bar systems near building entrances, lobbies, elevator banks, and staircases to assist pedestrians in emergency evacuations.

  • Convention Centers: Elan Tiles helps navigate safely large indoor crowds attending events at venues like Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Vancouver Convention Centre.

  • Universities: Educational institutions across Canada installed Elan TWSI's within campus buildings to comply with accessibility mandates and assist students.

 

Outdoor Applications

 

As one of the few porcelain stoneware tactile brands suitable for outdoor use, Elan Tiles are also a popular choice for numerous exterior sites in Canada:

  • Bus & Railway Stations: Their corrosion and weather resistance makes Elan TWSI's ideal for open-air platforms experiencing all climatic conditions.

  • Curb Ramps: Durable Elan tiles provide slip-free traction and warning cues along sidewalks connecting roads and parking lots across cities.

  • Parks & Public Spaces: Many civic corridors, promenades, and squares use Elan TWSI's near fountains, seating areas, and transition points.

  • Stadiums: Major sports venues opt for Elan tiles along exterior walkways, entrance stairs, and pickup/drop-off zones frequented by large crowds.

  • Theme Parks: For enhanced accessibility, entertainment destinations install Elan truncated domes and directional bars across their outdoor paths.

 

Simplified Installation & Maintenance

 

Setting Elan Tiles is as effortless as any regular floor or wall tile system. Contractors can mechanically fasten or adhesive bond the tiles as per project requirements - either as a surface-applied system or cast-in-place during new flooring installations. Elan TWSI's require negligible maintenance over time. Occasional sweeping/mopping suffices as their non-porous glazed surface resists stains, dirt accumulation and freeze-thaw damage. Additionally, protective sealants ensure sustained visibility of Elan tiles even under footfall exceeding 1.5 million cycles as per EN ISO 10545-7 guidelines.

 

Elan Tile Specifications

 

To summarize, here are the key specifications of Elan Tiles TWSI systems:

  • Material: Premium-grade porcelain stoneware

  • Slip-Resistance: R11 (highest rating) as per DIN 51130 & AS 4586 standards

  • Finish: Non-porous glazed surface

  • Colors: Cultured Grey, Vogue Black, Sandstone

  • Compliance: EN 14411 (porcelain stoneware) & accessibility codes

  • Usage: Interior & exterior paths, stairs & platforms

  • Maintenance: Minimal cleaning required

  • Warranty: 5-Year product warranty

 

The New Standard in TWSI's

 

With their uniquely durable yet elegant design suited for high-traffic indoor-outdoor applications, Elan Tiles has emerged as the new standard-bearers in the Canadian tactile solutions industry. Offering unparalleled slip-resistance, low maintenance, and accessibility compliance, Elan TWSIs ensure safe navigation for diverse populations. As a leading supply chain partner, Tactile Solution Canada is committed to providing innovative solutions like Elan Tiles that empower builders, designers, and site managers to prioritize inclusion across infrastructure projects in pan-Canada.

 

We hope this detailed blog explored the various advantages of opting for Elan Tiles as an attractive yet hard-wearing TWSI system for both indoor and outdoor use. Their unique porcelain stoneware construction combines slip safety, aesthetic versatility, and longevity. Feel free to get in touch with our tactile experts or request a quote to discuss the diverse Elan Tile options, meeting all your interior or exterior TWSI requirements with ease and certified code compliance.

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How to Ensure Stair Tread Safety in Condos and Apartment Buildings

24th May 2024

Safe indoor staircases give residents of condominiums and apartments peace of mind. Appropriate detectable solutions play a crucial role in achieving code-mandated stair safety while facilitating easy navigation.” - Tactile Solution Canada

 

With tens of thousands of people inhabiting multi-story condo and apartment structures across Canada’s urban landscape, ensuring stairwell safety remains a responsibility high on building managers’ priority list. Nevertheless, tackling this challenge demands adopting proactive, standardized measures as per the diverse codes and regulations enforced nationwide for accessibility compliance. By thoughtfully choosing appropriate detectable warning systems and stair nosing solutions, facilities achieve a secure environment benefitting residents of all abilities long-term.

 

In this detailed blog, we explore best practices and code-compliant options for condo and apartment stair tread safety upgrades critical in multi-residential buildings. The article aims to encourage property owners and managers to prioritize life-essential precautions through informative guidelines and hands-on solution selection assistance. Let us begin our discussion by first understanding that the key code requirements are mandatory indoors.

 

Understanding Code Requirements

 

Canada’s National Building Code and provincial building statutes outline strict stipulations that high-density residences must fulfill regarding stairways and common corridors. Some important provisions enlisted are:

  • Stair tread edges and landings must incorporate luminance demarcations visible in darkness per National Building Code Part 3 provisions.

  • Tactile Walking Surface Indicators and stair nosing in compliance with ISO 23599-1:2012 dimensions should be installed as per codes like A117.1 for detectable pathfinding.

  • Photoluminescent signage with Braille text is mandated at stair entry points as per NBC Emergency Lighting clauses to assist evacuation.

  • Materials used for luminance solutions should withstand rigorous durability testing and retain performance even after thorough cleaning cycles.

 

With resident safety the utmost priority, failing to adopt code-compliant solutions exposes building owners to hefty non-compliance fines or, worse, liability in preventing potential mishaps.

 

Evaluating Suitable Indoor Stair Tactile Options

 

When upgrading aging condo and apartment staircases, the following detectable solutions best address indoor codes and usage demands:

  1. Ecoglo Stair Edge Nosing: With a durable 15+ year lifespan, these surface-applied and cast-in-place nosing strips ably meet ISO 23599-1 profiles and integrated photoluminescence for navigation in darkness.

  2. ArmorTile Tactile: The industry’s most extensive cast detectable dome made from diamond-hard vitrified polymer composite deliver resilient visibility and conformance to NBC flooring stipulations at competitive rates.

  3. AccessTile FR Polymer Tiles: Engineered to eliminate future replacement through chemical and abrasion resistance, AccessTile plates simplify fire resistance, safety, and accessibility at lower costs compared to poured tiles.

  4. EON Rubber Tiles: Durable and flexible rubber-made detectable warnings adhesive-bond to stair tread edges of all substrate materials conveniently.

 

Proper Implementation & Inspection Practices

 

Correct installation as per included manuals by certified installers is pivotal for longevity and safety purposes:

  • Grind non-slip treads lightly and scrupulously clean the bonding area of any sealers, moisture, or debris.

  • Apply specified epoxy/acrylic adhesive zig-zag along the back in thin, even coats using applicable tools.

  • Affix nosings with consistent gaps and alignment respecting codes.

  • Allow sufficient curing time before use as per drying windows.

 

With regards to ongoing inspections:

  • Conduct detailed annual checks verifying secure bonding, luminance output, and general condition.

  • Maintain diligent records of all works undertaken for future compliance reviews.

  • Communicate policies for repairs of any deteriorated sections immediately.

 

Additional Considerations for Staircases

 

Besides mandatory code alignment, some vital factors also require examination for condominium and apartment applications:

  • Population Load Calculations: Available egress capacity must exceed the maximum potential building occupancy for emergency preparedness.

  • Materials Impact Resistance: Detectables should withstand impacts from daily use without breakage to uphold continuous tactile guidance longevity.

  • Cleaning Resilience: Solutions need cleaning chemical tolerance to facilitate routine maintenance and luminosity retention as per code standards.

  • Installation Disruption: Impacts on resident transit and waste disposal necessitate consideration to streamline changeover processes.

  • Inspection Cycles: Periodic checks and maintenance schedules uphold compliant accessibility for residents' safety long-term.

 

Continued Accessibility is a Shared Obligation

 

As building managers responsible for resident wellbeing and code compliance, certain best practices can foster a culture of care:

  • Train staff to be accessibility aware and politely assist any tenants upon request.

  • Educate owners and tenants with signs about designated paths of travel to limit floor obstructions.

  • Keep exits, landings, and paths free of any clutter, snow, ice, or moisture at all times.

  • Consult an accessibility auditor annually to proactively identify upgrades leveraging evolving standards.

 

With compassion and collective effort, multi-unit buildings can seamlessly uphold safe mobility for increasingly aging populations and those with disabilities. Our objective is to empower communities through principled stair accessibility regimes.

 

Selecting the Ideal Solution

 

When modernizing stair infrastructure, choosing a system combining code prowess with enduring, low-maintenance performance grants building administrators assurance in fulfilling resident safety obligations sustainably over the coming decades. Our meticulously engineered, rigorously tested Ecoglo, AccessTile, Advantage Tile, Elan, Eon, and ArmorTile solutions exemplify this philosophy. Their internationally renowned photoluminosity, dependability, and affordable pricing inspire complete confidence for condominium and apartment upgrades. Contact us to transform indoor accessibility.

 

Summing It Up

 

Accessibility should cease being an afterthought and instead, factor centrally into multi-residential infrastructure planning and management protocols right from initial conceptualization. Code-driven, scientifically-backed stair safety solutions, and regular inspections constitute the minimum bar to clear.

 

Prioritizing stairwell safety upgrades through strategic, compliant, detectable solutions provides multi-residential facilities invaluable returns on investment. Not only do property managers achieve mandatory code adherence, residents of all abilities confidently access common areas independently. By thoughtfully analyzing staircase usage demands and selecting solutions that meet codes yet are tailored for each project scope by a reputed supplier, building administrators ensure residents' wellbeing for years to come. We hope these insights help fortify stair navigation independence and emergency preparedness in the long term.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Here are answers to some commonly asked queries regarding stair safety upgrades:

 

Q. What type of tactiles provide the most accessibility benefits for residents?

Guidance and attention combo patterns deliver safe navigation assistance as per CNIB best practices.

 

Q. How often should tactiles be replaced preventively?

Every 10-15 years on average, depending on material and installation location as per maintenance plans.

 

Q. Can self-luminous tape replace tiles for overlay jobs?

While affordable, the tape may not meet longevity requirements on indoor stairs subjected to heavy usage and abrasion. The best advice is to use stair-edge nosing in concordance with stair tactile.

 

Q. How is Ecoglo stair nosing installed on balcony edges?

By carefully scouring the substrate for adhesion and fastening with approved anchors suitable for edge material as per manufacturer specifications.

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Replaceable Cast in Place Tactile Tiles: Everything You Need to Know in 2024

17th May 2024

"Accessibility should be at the core of all design - not an afterthought."

 

As the new year dawns, facilities managers, contractors, and urban designers face mounting pressures to futureproof built spaces for generations ahead. Accessibility anchors this vision through inclusive infrastructure, empowering all individuals, regardless of ability, to participate fully in civic life. Meanwhile, stewarding public dollars responsibly demands optimized asset longevity through design foresight and upkeep simplicity.

 

Here, we explore how replaceable cast-in-place tactile tiles answer these imperatives, outlining their benefits, applications, and projected impact on the accessibility landscape in 2024 and beyond. Delving into technical capabilities and recommended best practices, this comprehensive guide equips readers to seamlessly incorporate this innovation into new construction and renovations while upholding safety, compliance, and cost-effectiveness goals.

 

Reimagining Tactile Tile Architecture

 

Since its inception, tactile tiles alerting visually impaired pedestrians to hazardous edges have evolved steadily. However, drawbacks like fragility, irregular spacing from styles, and installation/refixing disruptions hindered continuity. Meanwhile, permanent cast-in-place variants complicated targeted repairs.

 

Today, replaceable cast-in-place tiles resolve these issues through a game-changing design allowing modular sections interfacing identically with surrounding concrete for an imperceptible seamless walking surface. Their removable, reusable quality facilitates selective replacement alone as needed without disturbing intact areas, minimizing interference and costs.

 

When set in wet concrete during initial pouring according to code-compliant layouts, replaceable tiles integrate endlessly for optimum durability, slip resistance, and legal defensibility. Yet, each segment detaches easily for repair, refurbishment, or model upgrades according to evolving regulations without compromising earlier installed tiles. This breakthrough regenerates infrastructure to serve expanding populations accessibly for generations.

 

Applications and Code Compliance

 

Compliant replaceable tactile tiles find applications wherever accessible routes guide individuals daily:

 

  • Curb ramps and pedestrian crossings

  • Rail platforms and boarding areas

  • Transit centers and interchanges

  • Office and institutional concourses

  • Shopping malls and pedestrian retail

  • University quads and educational zones

  • Performance venues and assembly areas

  • Parks and cultural trail networks

 

Designed to outperform both surface-applied and permanent cast tile predecessors, replacements meet rigorous ASTM, CSA, and NBC testing standards for:

 

  • Slip-resistance (ASTM C1028, D2047)

  • Compressive strength (ASTM C109, C39)

  • Freeze-thaw resilience (ASTM C666)

  • Stain resistance (ASTM D523, C1353)

  • Flame spread (ASTM E84, CAN/ULC S102)

  • UV degradation (ASTM G155)

 

Resilience withstands climate extremes while retaining detectable ribs for safe mobility even in harsh conditions, ensuring unhindered accessibility and compliance through unpredictable Canadian seasons.

 

Benefits of Replaceable Cast-In-Place Tactile Tiles

 

1. Modular Replaceability

 

Individual tile removal/replacement simplifies repairs, avoids entire resurfacing, and prolongs asset lifespans cost-effectively through targeted refurbishment.

 

2. Easily Upgradable

 

Removable segments facilitate seamless code-driven improvements without disturbing intact areas as standards evolve, futureproofing routes sustainably.

 

3. Uniform Spacing

 

Configured segments interface identically with surrounding poured concrete for smooth, seamless, detectable walking surfaces meeting dimensional compliance criteria. 

 

4. Imperceptible Repairs

 

Replacement segments blend indistinguishably with existing tiles and substrate, avoiding accessibility compromises from piecemeal repairs of older solutions.

 

5. Legal Defensibility

 

Surpassing testing requirements bolsters due diligence protection as updates harmonize routes proactively with advancing regulations.

 

6. Targeted Renewal

 

Isolating affected locations expedites select replacements, minimizing disruption from typical full resurfacing projects.

 

7. Simplified Repairs

 

Bolted segments uncouple for ergonomic repair versus jackhammer demolition of conventional cast tiles, reducing labor.

 

8. Aesthetic Versatility

 

Replacement segments come in designer tones to blend into infrastructure décor while fulfilling visibility/contrast demands.

 

9. Energy Efficiency

 

Through responsible stewardship, the embodied energy offset from modular repairs versus full replacements fosters sustainability goals.

 

Optimizing Installation and Maintenance

 

Commitment to protocol underpins the inherent advantages of replaceable tiles. These guidelines establish compliant integration and upkeep:

 

  • Substrate Preparation

  • Clean, abrade for adhesion as needed, and allow curing as specified by the manufacturer

  • Installation

  • Embed segments securely according to approved layouts, fastening bolts fully

  • Maintenance

  • Regular cleaning restores texture definition and quarterly inspections identify damage

  • Replacement

  • Extract bolts, extract/reinsert adjoining tiles, re-embed segment neatly

  • Code Monitoring

  • Factor regulatory updates into management plans through proactive pilot replacements

  • Recordkeeping

  • Document actions, dates for auditing, plus potential warranty/litigation needs

 

Embracing this modular innovation supports visionary urban infrastructure through design versatility, compliant routes empowering all, and optimized resource stewardship, serving communities sustainably for generations ahead. Our technical experts assist with specialized applications - speak to us for comprehensive project recommendations.

 

Installing Replaceable Cast in Place Tactile Tiles

 

Proper installation is critical to deriving long-term performance from replaceable cast-in-place detectable warning tiles. Recommended procedures usually involve:

 

  • Surface Preparation: Ensure substrate is clean, dry, free of contaminants before pouring. Make sure forms are properly set.

  • Anchoring System: Some systems are embedded before pouring, while others use injection after setting. Follow manufacturer instructions carefully.

  • Tile Placement: Use guidelines to maintain consistent dome spacing and field layout as concrete is poured. Brace until set.

  • Finishing: Smooth and level concrete to substrate grade after pour. Cure properly before allowing foot traffic.

  • Sealing: Apply clear sealant to protect the tile and coating. Reapply periodically for exterior or heavy-use areas.

  • Inspection: Ensure domes are uniformly installed before project acceptance. Address any irregularities immediately.

 

Proper installation results in a long-lasting, fully compliant, detectable warning surface. Seek manufacturer expertise for complex custom layouts.

 

Maintenance of Replaceable Cast In Place Tiles

 

Periodic maintenance keeps replaceable cast-in-place tiles performing as intended over their lifetime. Recommended procedures include:

 

  • Sweep regularly to prevent dirt/debris buildup that may impact slip resistance

  • Use water/mild cleaner and soft brush to remove stains, debris

  • Inspect annually for wear and damage. Replace single tiles as needed

  • Reapply sealant every 3-5 years for exterior/heavy-use areas

  • Record maintenance for warranty purposes

  • Follow manufacturer guidelines for replacing tiles or the entire field

  • Train cleaning staff on proper techniques

 

By adhering to basic cleaning and regular inspections, the upfront investment can be protected and tiles will serve accessibility needs for many years. This minimizes future replacement costs.

 

Additional Considerations for 2024 and Beyond

 

Anticipating continuing population growth and urban densification trends, the industry foresees rising deployments of replaceable cast-in-place tiles in the medium term:

 

Mass Transit Hubs

Optimizing passenger flow safely through high-traffic concourses and platforms

 

Mixed Use Developments

Harmonizing accessibility within diverse programs seamlessly through modularity

 

Adaptive Reuse Projects

Futureproofing embodied carbon of retrofitted structures through renewability

 

Green Infrastructure

Leveraging reusability for reduced material consumption aligning with sustainability priorities

 

Tall Building Evacuations

Bolstering egress preparedness through proactive code-driven nosing/signage refreshes

 

Dementia Friendly Spaces

Clarifying wayfinding intuitively for cognitive impairment through high-contrast detectable tiles

 

Virtual/Augmented Route finding

Integrating tactile segments seamlessly with multisensory technologies for independent mobility

 

As climate resilience, inclusive design, and optimized investments anchor community building, replaceable cast-in-place tactiles prove instrumental in shaping thriving, resilient, and welcoming public realms for all.

 

The Wrap

 

As codes and standards continue evolving to improve safety and independence for persons with disabilities, the use of compliant detectable warning tactile products like replaceable cast in place tiles will remain essential. Their combination of durability, accessibility, code compliance, replacement flexibility, and overall value make them an ideal solution for most construction projects across Canada.

 

Contractors can be confident they are providing fully accessible, long-lasting spaces when opting for high-quality manufacturers and strict adherence to best practices for installation and maintenance. Let Tactile Solution Canada be your trusted resource for the right replaceable, detectable warning tile system for your next project.

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A Comprehensive Guide on Wayfinding Tactile for Visually Impaired

17th May 2024

"Safety and independence go hand in hand for people with vision loss. Thoughtfully designed wayfinding tactiles foster confidence, dignity, and autonomy for the blind or partially sighted community to navigate public spaces freely." - Thomas Schwartz

 

In today's world, where accessibility and inclusion have become fundamental human rights, providing adequate wayfinding assistance to the visually impaired community is of the utmost importance. As Canada moves closer to realizing its vision of becoming a fully inclusive society by 2040, installing code-compliant tactile wayfinding systems assumes greater significance with each passing year.

 

This comprehensive guide aims to be your one-stop resource on tactile wayfinding indicators. We will explore the need, codes, applications, design best practices, products available, and more to help you choose and implement the optimal solution for your indoor or outdoor navigation needs. Let's get started!

 

Understanding the Need

 

Canada is home to over 1.8 million people with some form of vision loss. For those who are blind or have low vision, navigating unfamiliar public spaces independently poses immense challenges. The lack of accessible wayfinding severely limits their mobility and independence.

 

Thoughtfully designed tactile indicators provide reliable navigational cues that allow visually impaired individuals to orient within buildings and outdoors confidently using their long white canes or remaining sense of touch. By tracing guidance paths between key decision points, they can reach their desired destinations efficiently and autonomously.

 

Key Accessibility Codes

 

When designing or upgrading wayfinding systems, it is imperative to adhere to established accessibility standards and regulations. The primary codes governing tactile installations in Canada include:

 

  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) - Mandates accessibility standards for customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation, and built environment.

  • National Building Code of Canada (NBC) - Specifies technical requirements related to building safety including provisions for accessibility features.

  • CSA B651-18 - Accessible Design for the Built Environment standard. Provides technical specifications for detectable warning surfaces and directional surfaces.

  • Ontario Building Code (OBC) - Accessibility requirements as per the AODA are incorporated into the Ontario building code.

 

Ensuring solutions meet the above compulsory standards is crucial for compliance and safety purposes. Our experts can advise on nuanced code specifications during design phases.

 

Optimal Applications

 

Tactile wayfinding indicators have diverse indoor and outdoor applications where orientation assistance is needed. Some of the top use cases include:

 

  • Transit stations, terminals and platforms

  • Shopping malls, plazas and concourses

  • University and college campuses

  • Museums, libraries, cultural centers

  • Hospitals, medical centers

  • Office towers and lobbies

  • Airports, train stations

  • Sidewalks, crosswalks, intersections

  • Parks, trails, recreational areas

  • Government buildings

  • Convention centers, arenas

 

Proactively incorporating guidance paths elevates these public and institutional facilities to the highest levels of inclusivity and accessibility for all.

 

Design Best Practices

 

For maximum usability, wayfinding systems must be logically planned, adhering to recognized accessibility standards and specifications. Some key success factors include:

 

Guidance Path Layout

 

  • Minimum 610mm wide cleared paths between decision points.

  • Clear directional arrows integrated at turns.

  • Ensure paths correlate with building layout for intuitiveness.

  • Distinct textures differentiate egress paths.

 

Material Selection

 

  • Hard-wearing for heavy outdoor use (porcelain, metal etc).

  • Appropriate for indoor/outdoor conditions and code-compliant.

  • Contrasting color from the surrounding surface.

  • Slip-resistant, durably bonded, and maintains luster.

 

Placement

 

  • Integrate at the start of guidance runs and decision points.

  • Align with the centerline of cleared paths of travel.

  • Continue full width through intersections or turns.

 

Testing

 

  • Conduct user testing of mock-ups to refine the design.

  • Ensure flow aligns with pedestrian traffic patterns.

 

Our experienced team can review your designs, conduct inspections, and provide recommendations to optimize accessibility.

 

Tactile Wayfinding Products

 

Once the design phase is complete, it's time to choose the right products. Here are some of the leading code-compliant options available:

 

1. AccessTile

 

A premium polymer tile system with unique replaceable precut modular features for easy future upgrades. Engineered for longevity with complex geometric patterns for clarity. Ideal for high-traffic indoor and outdoor applications.

 

2. Advantage Systems

 

Features stainless steel, porcelain and other metal tiles in multiple pattern options. Highly durable for demanding outdoor use like plazas or heavy-footfall areas. Blends seamlessly into both modern and classic aesthetics.

 

3. EonTile

 

Made from durable rubber polymers, this flexible tile system conforms to any surface for a seamless finish. Chemical resistant for indoor solutions requiring cleanability like medical or commercial use.

 

4. ElanTile

 

A state-of-the-art porcelain tile boasts superior technical specifications. A sleek aesthetic lends to uniform indoor or facade applications while providing uncompromised performance.

 

5. Ecoglo

 

Photoluminescent strips, stair nosings, and directional markers visible in the darkness. Non-slip and maintenance-free for continuous guidance along egress routes during emergencies. Ideal complement to primary systems.

 

We stock all leading brands and can facilitate product draws, specification sheets, and samples to evaluate options best suited to your unique project needs and budget.

 

Implementation Considerations

 

To ensure longevity and code compliance of the installed system, certain implementation best practices must be followed:

  • Surface Preparation

Thoroughly clean and prepare the mounting surface per manufacturer instructions. For outdoor applications, self-leveling polymers can even be used for bonding.

  • Installation

Use preset layout templates and specialized tools. Follow the supplied instructions precisely, paying attention to alignment and spacing. Allow adequate time for adhesives to fully cure.

  • Inspections

Conduct regular periodic checks as per the code cycle. Maintain aesthetic quality, and repair damages on priority for safety. Replace deteriorated tactiles immediately as they become due for upgrades.

  • Testing

Re-evaluate system performance involving users with vision impairments after installation or major repairs. Refine as required based on feedback.

  • Record Keeping

Document all project details, dates, inspectors name for audits and long-term maintenance planning. Update drawings as modifications occur.

 

Way Forward!

 

Canada envisions a barrier-free society where no one faces accessibility-related obstacles in their daily lives. As key stakeholders in this mission, we must prioritize inclusive design best practices right from the conceptualization stage of public and private infrastructure.

 

Proactively incorporating thoughtfully designed tactile wayfinding aids future proofs structures to accommodate diverse navigation needs from the very beginning. It fosters autonomy, dignity and participation for all members of the community including those with vision loss or disabilities.

 

So, the next time you embark on planning architectural upgrades or new builds, ensure tactile systems factor centrally into your accessibility protocol. Our experts are always available to guide you throughout the process to deliver optimally navigable results. Let's move together towards an accessible future for every Canadian.

 

We hope you found this comprehensive guide helpful in understanding the what, why and how of tackling wayfinding challenges through tactical solutions. Please feel free to contact us for any other accessibility related queries.

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Why Photoluminescent Stair Nosing is Paramount for Indoor Facilities

10th May 2024

"In darkness, one's sense of sight fails, yet touch endures. Photoluminescent stair nosings empower continued safe movement through this relied upon sense." - Tactile Solution Canada

 

Indoor spaces such as office towers, hospitals, schools, arenas, stadiums, and malls experience regular power interruptions due to grid failures, planned maintenance shutdowns, or unexpected electrical glitches. In such low or no light conditions, traditional non-illuminated features become invisible hazards. Stairs, being one of the most essential circulation components, demand reliable visibility solutions to uphold the life safety of all individuals, including those with disabilities.

 

In this blog, we delve into why photoluminescent stair nosings have become an imperative code-mandated fixture for indoor facilities across Canada. We explore evacuation best practices and nosing installation guidelines to illuminate continued protected egress. The article also features technical details and benefits of Ecoglo - our premium range of glow-in-the-dark stair nosings trusted for dependable emergency preparedness.

 

Understanding the Importance of Code Compliance

 

Indoor facility design is guided by comprehensive construction codes issued nationally through the National Building Code of Canada (NBC) and provincially through regional statutes. With regards to stairwell evacuation, some stringent guidelines mandated are:

  • Stair tread edges of all interior stairs must be marked permanently by luminous elements visible in total darkness for a minimum of 60 minutes after power failure as per NBC 3.4.5.1.

  • Markings should extend the full length of the step edged in a non-slippery uniform manner not less than 50mm wide for safety and visibility.

  • Materials used must retain luminance even after multiple usages and cleaning without fading below a minimum 80 lux intensity at 1m viewing distance as established through rigorous testing.

  • Installation is as per manufacturer instructions to secure long-term bonding and prevent debonding from usage stresses.

 

Failing to incorporate a code-compliant solution exposes responsible parties to heavy pecuniary penalties or legal ramifications in the case of stair accidents during emergencies.

 

Benefits of Photoluminescent Stair Nosings

 

In darkness caused by power outages, egress routes illuminated by glow-in-the-dark stair nosings facilitate evacuations through several advantages:

  • Safe Navigation: Continuous tactile markings along full tread edges provide crucial guidance through stairs.

  • No Auxiliary Power: Photoluminescence leverages ambient lighting to charge pigments, rendering nosings self-illuminating sans electricity overhead.

  • Superior Visibility: Uniform glow-along-nosing prevents confusion over gaps that may have uncertain stair configurations.

  • Compliant Longevity: Ceramic reinforced nosings last 10-15 years through rigorous durability while fulfilling regulatory illumination requirements.

  • Energy Independence: Not relying on active lighting permits major energy savings by shutting off main luminaires during emergencies.

  • Exceeds Codes: Products like Ecoglo nosings surpass the minimum 80 lux luminance, maintaining over 150 lux for over hours post charging.

 

Thus, photoluminescent stair nosings ably facilitate building evacuations in total darkness through touch alone, guaranteeing all individuals , including mobility impaired groups, safely exit harm's way.

 

Prioritizing Life Safety

 

Beyond mandatory regulations, responsible entities must ensure ongoing life safety through prudent operational protocols:

  • Regular Inspections: Monthly inspections verify luminosity and bonding integrity, addressing issues immediately.

  • Proactive Maintenance: Quarterly deep cleaning safely restores pigment energy storage and luminance output.

  • Compliance Training: Annual staff orientation reinforces safe egress procedures leveraging nosing guidance.

  • Code updates: Monitor building code amendments and upgrade installations accordingly on periodic review.

  • Recordkeeping: Maintain replacement and testing records for auditing facilities upon code inspections.

  • Drills: Conduct unannounced evacuation drills biannually to comprehensively assess total egress effectiveness.

 

Integrating these best practices alongside photoluminescent stair nosings equips indoor spaces for optimal emergency preparedness and a safe, compliant built environment catering to diverse communities.

 

Why Consider Ecoglo Stair Nosings?

 

Ecoglo stair edge nosings from Tactile Solution Canada rank among the most rigorously tested and code-compliant options available. Here's a snapshot of the advantages:

  • Utmost Durability: Corrosion/abrasion-proof aluminum securely bonds to provide unmatched 15+ years of longevity, outlasting economy brands.

  • Surpasses Regulations: Independent lab certifications validate glow intensity exceeding NBC standards by a wide margin, delivering luminosity for hours post-charging during normal lux charging.

  • Weather Resistance: Impervious to Canadian storms and sub-zero temperatures for trouble-free indoor or sheltered outdoor applications.

  • Uniform Radiance: Textured non-slip surfaces combined with molecularly bonded pigments distribute glow evenly without dim spots for clear step delineation.

  • Multiple Fastening Options: Screw or glue variants give flexibility for substrate compatibility, be it concrete, wood, or sheet steel.

  • Sleek Aesthetics: Neat edge profiles accentuate stair infrastructure, enhancing the décor appeal of any facility.

 

When lives are at stake, investing in brand-proven solutions yields unmatched peace of mind. For the highest standards in stair safety at affordable rates, Ecoglo Nosings aptly serves facilities of all scales.

 

Proper Installation: A Complete Guide

 

While a simple glue down or screw fastening process, correctly installing Ecoglo stair nosings governs long-lasting performance. Recommended procedures include:

  • Cleaning the substrate rigorously to remove any grime, moisture, or sealers that may inhibit bonding.

  • Scuffing glossy, non-porous surfaces like tile or sealed concrete lightly with 80-grit sandpaper for a better adhesion profile.

  • Quality epoxy/urethane adhesive is applied in a thin zig-zag pattern along the back of the nosing, keeping edges bare for fastening.

  • Positioning nosing straight and flush against the stair edge, then tapping gently with a rubber mallet for full surface contact and bedding.

  • Fastening with appropriate anchor pins through pre-drilled holes at intervals for added strength on high-traffic stairs.

  • Curing fully as per the temperature-dependent time stated on the adhesive can, which may take from 12-24 hours.

  • Periodically inspect installations annually and replace units showing damage or detachment immediately via the same removal/refixing process.

 

Commitment to these protocols enables Ecoglo nosings and their substrates bond robustly to uphold evacuation functions sustainably indoors for years ahead.

 

Summing It Up

 

In summary, Ecoglo stair nosings represent a proven indispensable component indoors. Their scientific self-illumination, backed by stringent testing and compliant installation, bestows uninterrupted egress functionality even during the darkest scenarios for ultimate evacuation preparedness and occupant protection indoors. Contact Tactile Solution Canada as your go-to partner for stair nosing and other code-compliant tactile solutions according to your facility's needs.

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Best Practices for The Application and Removal of Surface Applied Tactile Tiles

10th May 2024

"Proper preparation and maintenance are important pillars for compliant tactile solutions to serve communities smoothly for years ahead." - Tactile Solution Canada

 

Surface-applied tactile tiles are a popular choice for renovating existing structures to bring them up to accessibility standards in a cost-effective manner. Whether for wayfinding or hazard warning purposes, their quick installation process has made them a facilities manager's favorite. However, what truly decides their multi-year functionality is upholding best practices right from substrate preparation to periodic upkeep.

 

In this insightful blog post, we will discuss guidelines endorsed by various codes and standards bodies regarding compliant application and judicious removal of peel-and-stick or adhesive-fixed tactile tiles. By understanding these principles, contractors and property managers can extend product lifespans while fulfilling mandatory safety and compliance objectives throughout usage cycles. So, let's delve deeper!

 

Substrate Preparation: Foundation for Long-lasting Bond

 

Correct preparation of the existing surface forms the critical foundation for peel-and-stick tactiles to remain robustly adhered over time. As per industry recommendations:

  • Inspect for cracks, bulges, or friability and repair imperfections using appropriate filler or leveler.

  • Sweep and vacuum to remove all loose debris, dirt, and contaminants that may interfere with bonding.

  • For outdoor applications prone to moisture, conduct additional cleaning with a suitable degreasing solvent to strip any residues.

  • Lightly scuff non-porous substrates like tile and polished concrete using 80-grit sandpaper for better adhesion profile.

  • Priming may be necessary for non-porous, dense materials as per manufacturer specifications.

  • Allow the surface to completely dry before proceeding with tactile installation, as dampness hinders bond formation.

 

These preparatory steps play a key role in ensuring adhesive-mounted tactiles remain optimally secured long-term through weather variations and heavy traffic loads. Permanent solutions demand long-lasting bonding for continued accessibility.

 

Proper Surface Applied Tactile Installation

 

Once substrates attain adequate preparation, place tactiles as outlined:

  • Use site plans/drawings for standardized dome/bar spacing that is compliant with applicable codes.

  • Use manufacturer-recommended adhesive for a more durable bond.

  • Remove the release liner and position the tactile unit. Consider tile curvature for corners.

  • Ensure adhesive full-surface contact, applying gentle pressure from the center outwards.

  • Periodically recheck alignment and bond during adhesive cure time. Adjust as needed.

  • Consider joints between tactile tiles to be imperceptible for a uniform walking surface.

  • Seal exposed edges of any filler used beneath tiles to avoid dirt entrapment.

  • Restrict traffic until adhesive fully establishes bond strength, usually within 24 hours as per type.

 

By following these protocols, contractors fulfill essential accessibility safety functions while warranting tile installations last through intended use cycles. The proper initial application forms the base for a tactile system's longevity.

 

Periodic Maintenance Extends Surface Tile Longevity

 

Regular maintenance cannot be over emphasized for peel-and-stick tiles to serve communities dependably over time. Suggested best practices are:

  • Inspect substrates and tactiles annually or as conditions dictate for any debonding, wearing, or damage.

  • Address issues immediately to prevent accessibility and safety compromises. Replace impaired tactiles.

  • Clean with non-abrasive detergent to remove algae, grime, and pollutant buildup obscuring dome clarity.

  • Scrubbing may be prudent for stubborn deposits without harming tile finishes as per manufacturer guidelines.

  • Seal cracks and holes in adjacent surfaces to prevent water infiltration underneath tactiles.

  • Record all refurbishment activities diligently for eventual compliance auditing and due diligence.

 

Consistent upkeep shields tactile polymers or rubber compounds from premature weathering, sustaining their distinctive textures for longevity. Compliant maintenance sustains inclusive built environments long-term.

 

Best Practices for Surface Applied Tactile Removal & Replacement

 

While peel-and-stick tiles simplify installation, their judicious removal and replacement require equal diligence to avoid substrate damage compromising new bonding:

  • Heat tiles minimally using a hot air gun to soften the underlying adhesive before attempting to peel it off.

  • Scrape away residual glue patiently using plastic spatulas or solvent-safe glue removers without harming the substrate itself.

  • Sand substrates sparingly only if needed to level uneven adhesive remnants, being cautious of polished finishes.

  • Clean and prepare tile bonding surfaces as per original/new product specifications before reapplication.

  • Replace tiles expeditiously to avoid leaving hazardous voids or trip points in essential walking routes.

  • Properly discard old tiles as per environmental compliance and install new tiles matching adjacent layout, spacing, and alignment.

 

Conforming to these best removal practices enables the reuse of bonding surfaces for seamless integration of replacement tactiles as accessibility components near usage end-of-life.

 

Keeping Pace with Evolving Regulations

 

As codes progress and new research shapes product standards, some additional recommendations are also prudent:

  • Monitor accessibility guidelines issued by provincial or municipal bodies for any coverage/location revisions.

  • Upgrade tactile installations promptly to reinforce inclusive safety wherever regulations expand the scope.

  • Consider switching to harsh-climate optimized options for outdoor receptacles to severe weather if the original tiles show early wear.

  • Plan refreshes incorporating modernized tactile patterns, configurations, or materials have proven highly effective through recent clinical findings.

  • Maintain purchase and installation records for reporting to authorities upon compliance evaluation requests.

 

Staying abreast of evolving regulations through resources like webinars and industry periodicals helps building managers update tactile solutions proactively, ensuring infrastructure accessibility keeps pace with community needs.

 

In Conclusion

 

Surface-applied tactiles have transformed accessibility retrofits with their simplicity and affordability. However, their design lifespans hinge on adhering to best practices shared in this article. From substrate preparation to removal and periodic upkeep protocols endorsed by codes, the following guidance ensures these vital safety components sustain protected spaces dependably as intended for years to come. Committing to excellence in application and maintenance empowers property owners and contractors to steward inclusive facilities responsibly well into the future. Our team of technical experts remains on standby to assist with any phase of your tactile projects.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What is the expected lifespan of surface-applied tactile tiles?

A: High-quality peel-and-stick tactiles certified to rigorous standards can last 10-15 years with proper care and regular maintenance. Budget options may only survive 5 years on average depending on site conditions and traffic loads. Promptly replacing failing units helps extend the system's overall lifespan.

 

Q: Are there any preparations needed before installing tactile tiles outdoors?

A: For outdoor use, ensure surfaces are clean, dry, and free of all contaminants before tactile application. Additionally, prime non-porous substrates as directed. Opt for weather-resistant tile types rated for UV exposure, de-icing salts, moisture, and temperature fluctuations in external environments.

 

Q: Can older adhesive residues on substrates be reused for new tile bonding?

A: No, completely remove adhesive leftovers from previous tactile installations. Even traces prevent achieving optimum bond strength between new tiles and reconditioned surfaces, compromising longevity. Thoroughly preparing the base is critical for lasting performance.

 

Q: How often should tactile tiles be inspected for maintenance?

A: Tactiles in heavy traffic areas must be inspected at minimum every 6 months and low traffic locations annually. More frequent checks may be necessary depending on site conditions, especially outdoors. Problems like degradation, debonding or loss of dome clarity compromise accessibility and compliance if not addressed immediately.

 

Q: What are some signs indicating tiles need replacement?

A: Look out for cracking, debonding, worn or faded domes/bars which have lost tactile definition over time. Tiles showing these failure signs can no longer fulfill their essential function and must be replaced to uphold accessibility standards and safety expectations.

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Surface Applied Vs Cast-in-place Tactile: What are the Key Differences

3rd May 2024

As accessibility regulations evolve to prioritize universal design for everyone, tactile walking surface indicators (TWSI) play an indispensable role in promoting safe, independent mobility. When upgrading infrastructure to meet standards, contractors often grapple with selecting the ideal tactile tile installation method. However, surface applied versus cast-in-place systems offer distinct benefits that should guide such critical choices.

 

As the leading supplier of tactile warning domes and guidance bars in Canada, we're frequently asked about the differences between surface-applied and cast-in-place tactile installation methods. In this detailed blog, we'll break down the key differences to help contractors, landscapers, architects, and building managers make the right choice for their unique project needs.

 

What are Tactile Surfaces?

 

Before comparing the two installation methods, let's briefly explain what tactile surfaces are and why they are essential accessibility features mandated by codes across Canada.

 

Tactile surfaces feature textured domes, bars, or other patterns that can be detected underfoot or with a cane. They serve two crucial purposes - as warning indicators to alert pedestrians of upcoming trip hazards like stairs or drop-offs and as directional cues to safely guide users along designated pathways.

 

The need for detectable surfaces dates back to post-war efforts facilitating veterans' integration. Since then, breakthroughs like Miyake's 1965 tactile textured blocks have revolutionized accessibility globally. Today, organizations like CSA and ISO harmonize international compliance criteria, guiding code-compliant material selections and installation best practices that match unique infrastructure demands.

 

As per accessibility regulations like the Accessible Canada Act and Ontario's Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, tactile surfaces are required in outdoor paths of travel and certain indoor areas to enhance safe mobility for Canadians with vision loss or other disabilities.

 

Cast-in-Place Tactiles

 

Cast-in-place tactile installation involves embedding the tactile tiles directly into wet concrete during new construction. Some key aspects:

 

  • New Construction: Ideal for projects where fresh concrete is being poured, like sidewalks, parking lots, plazas, etc. Seamlessly integrates tactile.

  • Permanence: Concrete cures and hardens firmly anchoring tactile, withstanding even heavy loads and machinery.

  • Durability: Properly installed, can last 15+ years without replacement, and is perfect for high-traffic areas.

  • Aesthetics: Tactile blend flush into the walking surface for a seamless appearance.

  • Materials: Durable metals, porcelain, and polymers designed for concrete embedding.

 

While more labor-intensive than surface applied, cast-in-place ensures code compliance and accessibility for decades when done right. It's overwhelmingly the preferred method for outdoor paths, transit platforms, and other locations experiencing relentless footfall.

 

Surface Applied Tactiles

 

As an alternative to cast-in-place, surface applied tactiles are bonded onto existing hard surfaces like concrete, asphalt or pavers using adhesives and mechanical fasteners.

  • Retrofitting: Enables upgrading paths/buildings without demolition, ideal for indoor/low-traffic areas.

  • Speed: Can be installed in hours versus days for cast-in-place during fresh concrete curing.

  • Cost: More affordable solution than excavating/pouring new concrete.

  • Replaceability: Individual tiles can be removed/replaced as needed over time.

  • Versatility: Can be used on almost any stable substrate material indoors/out.

  • Materials: Durable polymers, rubber, and metals designed for adhesive/screw bonding.

 

While less permanent, surface applied tactiles provide a cost-effective solution to achieve compliance through retrofitting or for temporary applications. Proper adhesive selection and installation is critical.

 

Durability Comparison

 

One major differentiator is durability - how long tactiles will withstand environmental factors and high foot traffic before needing replacement.

 

Cast-in-Place:

When installed to specifications, it can easily last 10-15+ years without issues, even withstanding extreme loads in the busiest areas. Concrete protects tiles.

 

Surface Applied:

Bond strength depends on substrate, adhesive and workmanship quality. In ideal conditions may last 15-20 years, but high traffic can cause premature failure if not commercial grade. Periodic inspections needed. Surface exposure leaves tiles vulnerable.

 

For locations with heavy usage patterns, cast-in-place is overwhelmingly recommended for its proven longevity and ability to maintain accessibility compliance. But surface applied is sufficient for low-traffic entrances and less demanding applications.

 

Cost Comparison

Let's look at the cost factors contractors should consider for each option:

 

Cast-in-Place:

  • Excavation/disposal of existing surface

  • Formwork/bracket installation

  • Fresh concrete material and labor costs

  • Longer project timelines

 

Surface Applied:

  • Lower material costs for tactile

  • Minimal surface prep is needed

  • Quick installation vs cast-in-place

  • Potential future replacement costs

 

While the up-front budget tends to be higher for cast-in-place tactile, the long-term accessibility is ensured for decades without further expenses. Surface applied tactile have a lower initial sticker price but periodic replacement must be anticipated over the years. Overall lifetime costs generally balance out between the methods.

 

Standards Compliance

 

Both installation types can comply with accessibility legislation when engineered, installed, and maintained appropriately according to manufacturer specifications and industry best practices. Some key points:

 

  • Tactile must be spaced and sized as per provincial/national codes for visual/tactile detectability

  • Dome height must meet ISO 23599 2021 minimum standard of 1.5mm

  • Clear dimensional tolerances reduction wear/consistency

  • Adhesive/substrate bond strength tested to withstand weathering

  • Installers certified by manufacturers for warranty validity

 

With the right products selected and quality workmanship, either method enables compliance. However, cast-in-place eliminates human error and settles concerns for consistent long-term conformance regardless of future maintenance quality.

 

Ideal Applications

To summarize the most suitable placements for each installation type:

 

Cast-in-Place Tactile:

  • New construction sidewalks/ramps

  • Transit platforms and stations

  • Outdoor paths of major hospitals/campuses

  • High foot traffic bridges, concourses

  • Areas accessible by maintenance vehicles

 

Surface Applied Tactile:

  • Retrofitting/renovating existing surfaces

  • Temporary pathways or secondary routes

  • Low traffic residential entrances

  • Indoor areas away from carts/equipment

  • Elevator lobbies, corridors, washrooms

 

As the accessibility experts, we can advise on the optimal solution tailored to any unique site requirements and budget considerations.

 

Our Compliant Tactile Solutions

 

Here are some examples of solutions offered that are compliant with all Canadian codes:

 

Cast-in-Place:

 

Surface Applied:

 

We also offer photoluminescent signage, stair edge nosing and detectable directional bars for enhanced perceptibility. Browse our products or reach out to discuss your upcoming project needs.

 

Closing It Out

 

In closing, both surface applied and cast-in-place tactile installation methods have merits depending on the unique site factors. We carefully evaluate each project to recommend the long-term optimal compliant solution balancing functionality, aesthetics, and total costs. Upgrading accessibility is a team effort, and we're here to guide you every step of the way.

Partner with tactile industry professionals like Tactile Solution Canada to remain confident your solutions will satisfy codes now and for generations of pedestrians to come.

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