Share on:

Request A Quote


Massive Benefits of Photoluminescent Exit Signs Over Traditional Electric Signs

12th Apr 2024

When it comes to choosing the optimal exit signage solution, numerous factors must be evaluated. While traditional electrically illuminated signs have long served as the ubiquitous standard, recent advances reveal their shortcomings compared to a newer sustainable technology. The photoluminescent exit sign harnesses groundbreaking science to provide unparalleled reliability, lifespan, and cost-savings.


As a leading accessibility solutions provider in Canada, we at Tactile Solution strive to educate stakeholders on building a future-proofed infrastructure. In this comprehensive guide, we explore the transformative benefits of switching to photoluminescent signs based on national codes, independent research, and real-world case studies.


A Deeper Dive into Emergency Exit Signage Regulations


Canadian codes demand exit routes remain visible during emergencies. The National Building Code mandates:


  • Signs exceed 10 lux brightness for 60 minutes in blackouts without battery power-backup.

  • Even illumination across faces printed with universally recognized green ‘EXIT’ text.

  • Placement at 1800–2400mm maintains visibility from seated or recumbent evacuees.


Understanding these detailed performance standards is pivotal, as non-compliance can endanger lives or incur penalties. Let’s examine how the two major signage tactile solutions compare on these critical metrics.


Science Behind Photoluminescence Exit Sign Operation


Photoluminescent signs surpass codes through a revolutionary self-powered mechanism called photoluminescence. When ambient lit, their phosphorescent pigments absorb visible photons, which excite electrons to elevated states. Upon excitation removal, electrons fall back, emitting accumulated energy as a bright green glow.


Simply charging 30 minutes daily under indoor lighting enables our photoluminescent signs to shine continuously for 70+ hours afterward. Their glow penetrates smoke better than LED bulbs, fulfilling codes regardless of conditions.


In contrast, traditional electrical signs cease during blackouts unless backup batteries endure an evacuation window. Their illumination fluctuates with mains power quality, too.



Performance Reliability


The life-critical factor during evacuations is dependability under all scenarios. Here, photoluminescent signs simply outperform electrically powered rivals:


  • Continue glowing independently for the emergency duration even if circuits fail.

  • Emit uniform luminance from entire face angles, whereas LED bulbs cast shadows.

  • Retain 80% original brightness through over 10 million foot-traffic cycles as per UL testing.

  • Glow underwater or extreme temperatures unaffected, unlike battery terminals.

  • Withstand vibrations, impacts, and weather extremes while traditional components corrode.


This unparalleled self-sufficiency established photoluminescent signs as emergency lighting standards worldwide. Their intrinsic science conquers conditions jeopardizing traditional alternatives.


Illumination Attributes


Beyond prolonged operation, other distinguishing attributes ensure maximum visibility:


  • Produce clear, high-contrast green as per international sign standards.

  • Diffused emissions lack hotspots, which imperile evacuees, unlike concentrated LED beams.

  • Uniformly coat sign backing vs. isolated lamp replacement prerequisites.

  • Recharge through natural lighting, removing complex electrical installations.

  • Remain conspicuously lit even at below code light levels, unlike shutting OFF signs.


These intrinsic optical advantages allow photoluminescent signs to outperform on the very codes that mandate them —perfectly satisfying legislative needs.


Accessibility Compliance


As inclusive designs prioritize everyone’s safety equally, codes globally endorse barrier-free egress. Photoluminescent signs inherently fulfill such progressive mandates:


  • Guide mobility-impaired individuals reliant on visual wayfinding cues

  • Remain visible to low-vision occupants regardless of lighting conditions

  • Automatically activate without additional effort like switches or finding crank handles

  • Maintain consistent luminance for people with seizure disorders, unlike strobing LEDs

  • Educate non-English speaking individuals through universally recognized GREEN EXIT symbology


These inherent human-centric characteristics demonstrate why photoluminescent signs align perfectly with evolved legislative philosophies worldwide.


Lifespan & Cost-Efficiency


A key consideration over building lifecycles remains the total cost of ownership. Here, too, photoluminescent signs demonstrate clear advantages:


  • Require no infrastructure or electrical connection for installation

  • Demand no routine battery replacement carrying disposal compliance issues

  • Sport 15+ year operational lifespans versus 5–7 years for traditional options

  • Exceed longevity and reliability standards set by IEC requirements

  • Charge sustainably through ambient light vs energy usage of illuminated components

  • Lower maintenance overheads without electrical faults or replacements

  • Attract government incentives for green building material incorporation


In summary, photoluminescent code compliant exit signs economically satisfy codes for facilities’ entire usable lifespans, eliminating reoccurring expenses that sap traditional product budgets.


Real-World Use Studies


To further exemplify the proven success of photoluminescent exit signs on performance, reliability, and compliance, we analyze some real-world Canadian and US implementations:


Bon Secours Wellness Arena:


The Bon Secours Wellness Arena, which is the biggest building in its market, is located midway between Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., for advantageous tour routing. It is well equipped with Ecoglo treads and photoluminescent signage.


Toronto Union Station:


The iconic transit hub’s LED exit sign bulbs burned out frequently, straining maintenance budgets. Ecoglo signs provided consistent brightness for over a decade with zero failures or costs.


Barclays Arena, Brooklyn, NY, USA:


The Barclays Center is the home of the Brooklyn Nets and hosts premier concerts, championship boxing, college basketball, and more. This epitome has installed Ecoglo signs to boost its emergency preparedness.


These case studies establish photoluminescent signs as a bankable investment enhancing organizations’ resilience profile for minuscule operational costs compared to traditional power-hungry signage.


Concluding Remarks


As codes progress to embrace sustainability and human-centric innovation, photoluminescent exit signs emerge perfectly suited to lead this evolution. Their self-powered brilliance stays reliable regardless conditions, while traditional competitors struggle under performance, cost-efficiency and compliance criteria as codes intensify.


Contact Tactile Solution Canada’s accessibility experts to switch your signage easily for reliability upgrades, saving budgets in the long term. As the foremost supplier of code-compliant tactile solutions, our team provides guidance on directional exit signage like Ecoglo sign solutions assured to transform facilities into havens safeguarding all during emergencies for many years to come.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How long do photoluminescent signs last?

A: Ecoglo signs provide between 10-15 years of continuous performance, far surpassing alternatives like LED signs needing frequent battery replacements.


Q: Do they require electrical connections?

A: No, photoluminescent signs are completely self-powered through natural/ambient lighting, making installations simple plug-and-play affairs.


Q: Are they weatherproof for outdoor use?

A: Yes, Ecoglo signs endure indoor/outdoor extremes through rigorously tested formulations. No additional enclosures are needed unlike traditional sign components.


Q: Do they satisfy NBC/ADA/AODA codes?

A: Photoluminescent signs surpass stringent global standards through independent third-party lab certifications. This confers legal defensibility for code compliance.


I hope this enlightening guide has informed you of photoluminescent signage’s unparalleled advantages. Let’s work together towards a future-ready infrastructure benefiting stakeholders and communities for many years ahead. Please contact us to transform your facilities into prepared havens safeguarding human lives above all.

Read More Read less

Prioritizing Safety and Compliance in High-Traffic Indoor Facilities

12th Apr 2024

Ensuring accessibility for all individuals using indoor spaces necessitates diligent efforts, especially in high-footfall environments like transportation hubs, arenas, event venues, and retail malls. These locations witness constant heavy pedestrian movement daily, posing unique compliance challenges from intensive wear-and-tear on tactile solutions. As a supplier experienced in navigating such complex accessibility needs, we explore the recommended best practices below for prioritizing code adherence through product selection, inspection protocols, and maintenance routines tailored to high-usage facilities.


Understanding Code Mandates for Busy Indoor Areas


Accessibility legislation governing public buildings, like the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and Ontario Building Code (OBC), strictly necessitate:


  • Identifying designated circulation routes demarcated with parallel directional bars or contrast domes.

  • Installing truncated dome warning tiles alerting hazards like platform edges or stair nosers.

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

  • Conduct thorough accessibility audits to verify compliance before obtaining occupancy certificates.


Tactiles endure relentless foot strikes daily in bustling spaces. Sustaining visible, durable textures demands judicious proactive efforts to avert accessibility non-compliance penalties. Let’s explore compliant solutions and maintenance tactics optimized for continual high usage.


Selecting Heavy-Duty Tactile Solutions


When outlining infrastructure for crowded locales, durable products proven to withstand extreme utilization include:


  • Cast Metal Tactiles: Stainless steel plates embedded into new concrete withstand over 10 million footstrikes without fade, lasting facilities’ design lifetimes. Ideally suit subways,concourses.

  • Porcelain Tactiles: Premium clay composites fired at high-heat cement porcelain’s integrity against scuffs and stains, complementing transit plazas and convention centers aesthetic ambiance for decades.

  • Composite Polymer Tactiles: Engineered plastics balance durability,affordability making them optimal selections for typical retail,office,hospital settings.Replaceable sections reduce full system replacement costs.

  • Rubber Tactiles: Flexible elastomers absorb shocks,resist abrasions suiting changing pedestrian flows through heavily used passageways linking concourses smoothly.


Understanding Varied Product Durability


While any tactile installed adheres to codes initially,performance varies under exorbitant usage levels. Regular inspections catch degradation early:


  • Cast/porcelain lasts 10-15+ years with proper adhesive bonding maintenance under heavy impacts.

  • Polymer composites typically endure 10-15 years before replacement in focused traffic zones experiencing intensive friction.

  • Rubber remains functional for 7-10 years in the busiest indoor bottlenecks like stairwells/turnstiles.


Partnering with expert tactile solutions, analyzers aid material selection that is aligned to unique building operational needs and budget parameters.


Developing Thorough Inspection Protocols


Frequent inspections capture defects early, enabling prompt repairs and maintaining accessibility unhindered:


  • Inspect high-traffic areas monthly, medium zones quarterly, and low usage biannually.

  • Note tactile integrity, bond strength, cracks/loosening, and trip hazards requiring urgent remedy.

  • Check dome height conformity to specifications under a small ruler.

  • Assess visual clarity from all angles under diverse lighting scenarios.

  • Consult accessibility advocacy groups annually on user experience feedback.

  • Engage third-party auditing certification renewals verifying solutions remain standards-compliant.

  • Address issues promptly as defects are identified without deferring maintenance.

  • Train cleaning staff on disability product care requirements and notify them of replacements needed.


Establishing Routine Maintenance Best Practices


Accessibility demands regimented protocols sustaining code adherence through:


Deep Cleaning

  • Schedule quarterly deep scrubs to remove accumulation obscuring textures critical for navigation.

Bonded Integrity

  • Annually inspect bond lines of applied tactiles probing edges for lifting/degradation needing adhesive repair/replacement.

Wear Resistant Replacement

  • Proactively swap aging products in busiest zones every 5-7 years, determined through semi-annual inspections catching degradation beforehand.

Documenting Repairs

  • Note that all completed remedial work with dated photos within maintenance records substantiates diligence toward compliance.

Outsourcing Specialized Tasks

  • Leverage expert third-party auditing, renewing product certification annually or biannually verifying solutions remain standards-compliant.


The above diligence maintains accessibility triumphs achieved for all users through infrastructure implemented initially according to codes.


Addressing Tactile Solutions Challenges in Busy Spaces


While regular inspections/maintenance safeguards accessibility achievements long-term, occasional obstacles necessitate strategic resolution:


Resource Limitations

  • Prioritize replacement/repairs for the highest usage zones first when budgets constrain the entire facility scope.

Facility Disruptions

  • Schedule inspections in advance post major events, ensuring tactile solutions aren’t disturbed and require realignment/bond repair.

Damage from Adverse Weather

  • Inspect immediately after extreme climatic conditions for potential impact, demanding accelerated replacement cycles.

Staffing Issues

  • Outsource specialized tasks like annual third-party auditing Renewals or conduct temporary tactile training internships for in-house teams.


Addressing compliance hiccups responsively through diligent planning and savvy partnerships reliably maintains accessibility achievements indoors despite unique usage demands encountered.


Industry Expertise from Tactile Solution Canada


As the foremost accessibility solutions supplier, our expertise streamlines compliance maintenance for busy indoor facilities:


  • Advise specifying heavy-duty options matched to traffic intensities and material applications.

  • Provide maintenance agreements encompassing multi-phase tactile replacement scheduling.

  • Assist in troubleshooting inspection challenges, offering cost-saving recommendations.

  • Offer temporary staff training certifying internal teams to conduct basic assessments.

  • Supplement credentialed third-party auditing renewals, keeping facilities certification current.


Simply put, our guidance supports clients reliably in achieving and sustaining accessibility code adherence indoors, demanding solutions optimized for intensive usage levels. Contact our accessibility advisors today!


Frequently Asked Questions:


Q. What inspection frequency suits transit stations experiencing 50,000 daily patrons?

A: As the highest usage category, areas handling over 25,000 footfalls or more daily require weekly inspections with monthly deep cleans.


Q. How are rubber tactiles suitable for indoor use, given flexibility concerns?

A: Modern rubber blends maintain dimensional integrity regardless of substrates or ambient temperatures indoors. Their shock-absorbing quality aids complex indoor flows.


Q. Can tactile repairs be conducted in-house or require contractors?

A: Basic installations can often be addressed in-house with proper training certification. However, annual third-party auditing renewals demand credentialed inspectors.


Q: Which material replacements require floor resurfacing post removal?

A: Cast metal embedded tactiles typically leave impressions necessitating leveling filler. Surface applied tiles detach residue-free for seamless accessibility restoration.


Prioritizing accessibility through rigorous facility maintenance matched to traffic intensities safeguards ongoing code adherence and enhances the user experience while shielding management/owners from compliance risks. Tactile Solution Canada assists with customized solutions nationwide.

Read More Read less

Best Practices for Increasing Accessibility in Shopping Centers and Indoor Stadiums

9th Apr 2024

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


Understanding Accessibility Needs in Shopping Centers & Stadiums


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


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


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

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

  • Marking emergency exits clearly with photoluminescent signage for prompt evacuation

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


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


Selecting Durable Code-Compliant Materials and Solutions


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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


Customization Requirements for Expansive Facilities


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


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

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

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

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


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


Additional Considerations for Proper Implementation


Additional factors ensuring continued accessibility include:


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

  • Preventive Maintenance Training for gentle cleaning and instant damage repairs

  • Redundancy with backup tactiles near critical routes and renovated sections

  • Accessibility Audits by advocacy groups and certified inspectors

  • Snow Removal Strategies to exposed buried tactile pathways in winters

  • Connected Digital Signage complementing tactile directions in mobile apps


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


Tactile Inspections: A Cornerstone of Compliance


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


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

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

  • Physically Audit Routes verifying the flush installation of indicators

  • Note Locations Needing Repair for planning remedial work

  • Click Detailed Photos of Defects for clarity in reports

  • Address Urgent Problems to optimize accessibility without delay

  • Compile Findings on Inspection Reports with Action Plans

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

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


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


Additional Tactile Considerations


Other aspects ensuring safe navigation include:


  • Redundant indicators installed alongside primary paths and intersections.

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

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

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


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


Overcoming Common Challenges


Some hurdles encountered and best practices to address them:


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

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

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

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

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


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


Fastening Methods for New & Retrofit Projects


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


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

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

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


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


Concluding Thoughts


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


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

Read More Read less

Emergency Evacuation 101: The Role of Photoluminescent Exit Signs & Stair Nosing

9th Apr 2024

Evacuation preparedness is crucial for ensuring safety during emergencies like power outages and fires. As per Canadian codes, buildings must have a properly tactile installation of illuminated egress paths and staircases, enabling quick exit to an area of refuge. To achieve 100% compliance, it is imperative to install code-certified photo luminescent exit signs and stair nosings throughout the indoor-outdoor infrastructure.


As your trusted supplier of accessibility solutions for over a decade, we at Tactile Solution Canada understand the significance of emergency preparedness. In this detailed guide, we explore the mandate for exit signage and Tactile Warning Strips in Canada as per the National Building Code of Canada (NBC). We also discuss recommended installation practices and standards-compliant Ecoglo products that facilitate effortless compliance.


Emergency Evacuation Standards in Canada


Canadian legislation like NBC rigidly outlines requirements for exit route illumination and stairway safety. As per Part 3 Section 2.7 and 3.4 of NBC 2010:


  • Where emergency lighting is required, photo-luminescent exit signs must illuminate at a minimum of 10 lux for 60 minutes without power.

  • Signs must be placed above doors/corridors at eye level between 1800 and 2400mm for visibility against wall décor.

  • Directional indicators using green running man symbols help navigate complex floor plans.

  • 2-inch wide slip-resistant Tactile Warning Strips for Stairs nosing along all tread edges ensure visibility in smoky conditions.

  • Nosings must be installed using durablefasteners or adhesives on steel-concrete-wood staircases for permanence.


Failure to comply can incur hefty monetary penalties or legal liabilities in case of injuries/fatalities during evacuations lacking proper signage. It underscores the need for code-conforming solutions.


The Role of Photoluminescent Exit Signs


Ecoglo self-illuminated exit signage effectively fulfils code signage mandates through innovative photo-luminescence technology:


  • Daylight absorbent zinc sulphide pigment stores visible light energy, re-emitting it gradually for hours without electricity.

  • Glow intensity exceeds 10 lux minimum as per NBC for at least 60 minutes, aiding evacuation from total blackouts.

  • Weatherproof materials maintain luminance outdoors for over a decade of usage lifespan.

  • Universal GREEN EXIT graphic easily identifiable for people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

  • Optional supplementary directional indicators clarify complex floor/stair plans.

  • Independent lab certifications to NFPA, ISO, A17.1, and NBC ensure reliability and legal defensibility.


The science behind photoluminescence converts daytime light energy into nocturnal self-illumination. This science differentiates products like Ecoglo exit signs as the optimal choice for code compliance.


Proper Ecoglo sign placement helps egress even in zero-visibility scenarios due to smoke after a fire starts. Their longevity lowers long-term facility operation costs versus traditional LED exit signs.


The Role of Photoluminescent Stair Nosings and Tactile Strips for Stairs


Marking stair tread edges is equally crucial for evacuation as per NBC. Requirements for tactile stair nosing include:


  • Installing continuously along the full length of all staircases

  • Adhering nosings securely against stair materials like concrete, steel or wood

  • Maintaining a consistent 2-inch width for clear visibility

  • Fabricating from slip-resistant, stain/chemical-proof, heat-resistant composites

  • Illuminating treads even in zero-visibility conditions using photoluminescence


Staircases contribute to over 200,000 injuries annually in Canada, and they usually result from falls.


Code-compliant stair nosings eliminate evacuation hazards by:


  • Clearly marking tread edges in darkness using Ecoglo's GREEN GLOW technology

  • Slip-resistant surfaces maintain traction under damp/smoke-filled conditions

  • Heat-resistant adhesives securely bond nosings onto steel-concrete-wood staircases

  • Continuous nosing installation along all steps prevents confusion over gaps

  • Corrosion/UV resistance withstands decades of indoor-outdoor weathering

  • Glow intensity exceeds codes after a minimal 15-30 minutes of charging


Unlike paint, which wears off over time, a tough photoluminescent tactile strip and nosing ensure fail-safe stair safety for building lifespans as mandated.


Photoluminescent nosings provide fall-safe evacuation guidance even in total power/visibility loss scenarios. Their tough formulations ensure stair safety for the infrastructure's designed functional lifespan.


Compliant Implementation of Egress Solutions


Fully maximizing preparedness demands installation best practices:


For Photoluminescent Exit Directional Signs:


  • Face signage directionally towards oncoming pedestrian traffic flow

  • Mount between 1800-2400mm at eye level using durable fasteners for all weather anchoring

  • Place within direct line of sight at each exit and corridor intersection

  • Inspect quarterly; replace if luminance degrades below code minimums


For Photoluminescent Stair Nosings:


  • Adhere continuously along the full length of all stair tread edges

  • Prepare substrates properly, removing debris and degreasing as per manufacturer specs

  • Set according to manufacturer specified environmental conditions, curing durations

  • Conduct annual bond strength assessment; re-apply adhesive if debonding occurs


Regular Inspections and Drills


No system remains optimally responsive without the following:


  • Annual device performance testing by certified experts

  • Monthly sign face/nosing surface cleaning to restore full luminance

  • Unannounced quarterly evacuation drills assessing egress effectiveness

  • Replacement of degraded/damaged units immediately upon detection

  • Ongoing staff training programs reinforcing correct emergency procedures


This comprehensive preparation establishes organizations as leaders in life safety, boosting both operational resilience and stakeholder confidence.


In Conclusion


The lives saved during emergencies are priceless. Proper implementation of code-compliant photoluminescent exit signage and stair edge markings gives building occupants, including persons with disabilities, a fighting chance at survival. By partnering with expert accessibility solution providers like Tactile Solution Canada, contractors and building authorities can cost-effectively achieve and maintain total evacuation preparedness as per Canadian accessibility legislation. Do reach out for recommendations on specialized solutions optimized for your unique infrastructure needs. Let's work together towards an accident-free, accessible community for all.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q. How long do Ecoglo signs/nosings continue glowing?

A. Our range of Ecoglo products can glow for more than 70 hours after just 54 minutes of lux charging, exceeding code requirements.


Q. Are Ecoglo signs/nosings weatherproof for outside?

A. Yes, our photoluminescent solutions are rigorously tested for UV/water resistance and safety-rated for rigorous indoor and outdoor conditions.


Q. Do Ecoglo products meet NBC evacuation standards?

A. All Ecoglo solutions are tested by independent third-party labs to exceed performance metrics set by CSA, NFPA, ISO, NBC, and A17.1, ensuring lawful code compliance.

Read More Read less

Surface Applied Warning Tactiles: Key Features and Benefits

1st Apr 2024

At Tactile Solution Canada, our mission is to help create fully accessible and inclusive built environments for people of all abilities. As a leading Canadian supplier of surface-applied warning tactiles, we understand the crucial role tactile surfaces play in facilitating independent and safe mobility.


In this blog, we will explore the key features and benefits of our surface-applied detectable warning systems that meet stringent AODA, CSA, ISO, IBC, and NBC codes. By incorporating these specially engineered tactiles in high-risk areas, property managers, contractors, and builders can enhance universal accessibility and reduce accidents.


Choosing the Right Warning Tactile


When retrofitting existing structures or building new projects, the first step is determining whether you need directional tactiles to guide pedestrians or a detectable warning system to signal potential drop-offs or hazards.


Our Tactile Warning Surface Indicators are perfect for wheelchair ramps, stair nosing's, transit platforms, and other situations where the built environment transitions from a walkway to a vehicular zone or drop-off area. These non-slip tiles provide tactile feedback underfoot to alert people with vision loss of impending changes in elevation or potential dangers.


There are many factors to consider when selecting between our various surface-applied detectable warning options. Some key attributes to evaluate include:


  • Surface Compatibility: Check if the existing surface is suitable for bonding or if a renovation is required. Our tiles are designed to adhere easily over concrete and other hard surfaces.

  • Durability: Harsh weather, heavy footfall, and snowplow battering necessitate durable materials that can withstand extreme conditions without degrading tactility over time.

  • Substrate Preparation: Simple self-adhesive types require minimal cleaning, while adhesive or screw-down options involve more surface prep work.

  • Tactile Pattern: Dome or bar patterns must comply with codes and be clearly discernable under varying ambient light conditions.

  • Colour Options: Standard attention dome and directional bar tiles come in different standard colors to meet visual contrast criteria outlined in regulations.

  • Warranty: Look for superior engineered polymer and rubber compositions backed by long-term performance guarantees.


After considering project parameters and the various compliant solutions available, you'll be ready to select the optimal Surface-Applied Tactile Indicator Tiles for your accessibility needs. Let's explore the key benefits of our top-rated options in more detail.


Advantage One Tactile Systems


Advantage One Tactile Systems is our line of TWSI's (Tactile Walking Surface Indicators) that come in different metal materials. Designed to last in the most rigorous applications or to enhance the look of your projects while complying with all code requirements. Advantage One Tactile Directional Indicators and Tactile Domes are suitable for applications like curb ramps, shopping malls, transit platforms, parking areas, stairwells, and escalator approaches.


Eon Tile


Eon TM are durable and flexible rubber tactile indicator tiles chosen first by professionals who design and construct the finest commercial, institutional, and public environments. EonTM Tile is a state-of-the-art rubber compounded together to create category-leading quality and a contemporary look and finish. Suitable for a variety of applications such as airport concourses, railway stations, shopping centers, department stores, supermarkets, hospitals, swimming pools, schools, banks, community centers, or almost any high-traffic environment. Eon Tile's line of products offers attention indicators (truncated domes) for warning and tactile direction indicators for wayfinding.


Elan Tile


ElanTM Tile is the ultimate porcelain tactile indicator chosen by professionals who design and construct the finest commercial, institutional, and public environments. Incorporating the best raw materials in the market, ElanTM Tile far exceeds the EN 14411 standard, allowing the product to meet the designation of "Porcelain Stoneware" and to be suitable for both interior and exterior applications. Offering highly durable and versatile tactile walking surface indicators (truncated domes) for warning and direction indicators for wayfinding, the ElanTM Tile line of products signals the newest generation of excellence from Kinesik.


Armor Tile Tactile System Surface Applied


Armor-Tile Surface Applied Tactile Attention Indicator takes pride in being the leading manufacturer of tactile walking surface indicator systems. Its truncated domes are a diamond-hard vitrified polymer composite that sets the benchmark for durability and detectability in tactile systems. 


The Armor-Tile surface applied tiles provide a cost-effective method for retrofitting existing sidewalks. These surface-applied tiles are available in 10 colors, creating clear boundaries to ensure separation and safety for pedestrian routes from vehicular traffic or other potentially hazardous obstacles. The tactile walking surface indicators (TWSI) can be used for a variety of applications, including curb ramps, escalator approaches, parking areas, transit platforms, top-of-stair landings/wheelchair ramps, multimodal transit stations, pedestrian crossings, and vehicular passageways. Armor-Tile surface applied products are in full compliance with Canadian accessibility codes AODA, CSA, ISO, and provincial and national building codes (Ontario tactile walking surface indicators).


AccessTile Surface Applied Attention Domes


Access Tile Surface Applied Truncated Domes are the industry leader in affordable detectable warning tiles that are perfect for any retrofit job. These Tactile Attention Indicators are slip-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and abrasion-resistant, ensuring all truncated domes are durable against wear and tear, maximizing the longevity of the detectable warning pads. The Surface Applied truncated attention domes can be applied in many situations, including multimodal transit stations, curb ramps, accessible pedestrian crossings, parking areas, tops and bottoms of stair landings, escalator approaches, and many more to warn the public when they have reached an unsafe edge. Access Tile Surface applied truncated attention domes are available in 8 different colours to provide visual contrast warning the public when they have reached an unsafe edge.


AccessTile Surface Applied Wayfinding Bars


Access Tiles Surface Applied Directional Wayfinding Tiles (Directional Bar Tiles) are specifically designed to work in unison with truncated attention dome tiles. These Canadian accessibility code-compliant wayfinding bars are designed to lead the public between spaces and follow the desired path safely. These (TWSI) tactile walking surface indicators use a series of bar-shaped tactile surfaces, creating a detectable path. These paths are created with truncated attention dome tiles to indicate where the path begins, ends, or splits so the visually impaired can orient themselves to follow their desired path.


Detectable Warning Tile Installation Requirements


To ensure your selected warning tactiles function effectively for decades while remaining bonded safely in all weather extremes, proper substrate preparation and installation methods are crucial. Here are some code-mandated guidelines to follow:


  • The surface must be stable, non-friable, flat, and level with no sharp protrusions. Grind any high spots and fill low areas.

  • Thoroughly degrease and prepare substrate per manufacturer instructions to achieve optimal adhesion. A light sanding may be required for non-porous surfaces.

  • For peel-and-stick types, ensure the surface is completely clean, dry, and free of contaminants before application.

  • According to technical data sheets, certain adhesive bonding options necessitate priming substrates beforehand.

  • Carefully measure and mark out tile placement using pre-drawn site plans for uniform spacing between tactiles per code recommendations.

  • For corners and complex areas, score tiles using a utility knife before bending or shaping to prevent fracturing.

  • Periodically recheck tile alignment and make any necessary adjustments before adhesive cures completely.

  • If adhering with contact cement, apply thin coats to both surfaces and allow proper flash-off times prior to contact.

  • Conduct regular maintenance checks and promptly replace any tiles showing early wear or debonding to preserve accessibility.


Conforming to these prerequisites ensures engineered polymers bond securely to withstand traffic and climate stresses, keeping tactile warnings fully operational throughout their design lifespan. Proper preparation pays off with problem-free installations.


Maintaining Code Compliance with Surface Applied Tactiles


Accessible built environments demand ongoing stewardship to retain their inclusive functionality over extended periods of operation. With attentive maintenance, our durable surface-applied warnings will continue serving communities for many decades ahead while fulfilling all evolving legal standards.


Here are some best practices to uphold ongoing compliance:


  • Conduct routine maintenance inspections monthly or seasonally to identify signs of tile debonding, deterioration, or wear before issues arise.

  • Promptly replace any tactile units showing early failure from environmental stresses, such as cracking, looseness, or erosion of tactile features.

  • Periodically clean tile surfaces using non-abrasive cleaners to remove accumulated dirt and contaminants that obscure domes or bars.

  • Address landscape, drainage, or snow removal issues causing premature tile damage from pooling water, sanding agents, or mechanical impacts.

  • Monitor code updates and retrofit additional tactiles or directional indicators whenever regulations expand required coverage areas.

  • Schedule refurbishment projects every 10-15 years or as needed to restore substrate conditions and re-apply new tiles, ensuring surfaces remain ADA compliant.


Our commitment to stewardship extends beyond the initial sale with ongoing technical support guiding facilities managers and contractors regarding maintenance best practices. Together, we can safeguard protected spaces for generations to come.


Frequently Asked Questions


Here are answers to some common questions about surface-applied detectable warning systems:


Q: Will different tile brands work for both indoor and outdoor use?

A: Yes, however, some products are formulated specifically for demanding applications. Check material specifications and warranty coverage for the intended environment.


Q: Which tile type installs fastest with minimal disruption?

A: Self-adhesive tiles like Advantage One Dome and Bars apply in minutes without the need for adhesives or special tools.


Q: What is the expected lifespan of detectable warning tiles?

A: Properly maintained tactiles can last 10-15 years or more, while economy options typically warrant 5 years of expected performance. Harsh site conditions may affect actual durability.


Q: At what point should faded or worn tactiles be replaced?

A: Replace any tactile unit showing premature wear, cracking, looseness, or erosion, rendering domes or bars no longer discernable by foot according to regulations. Maintain written records of replacements.


Q: What cleaning products are safe for detectable warnings?

A: Use non-abrasive, pH-neutral cleaners only. Avoid stronger solvents, chemicals, or pressure washing that could degrade polymers or dislodge units prematurely from substrates over time.


We hope this guide has equipped you to select confidently from our extensive range of certified compliant surface-applied warning tactiles engineered for universal accessibility, safety, and code approval on any project. Please contact us for application-specific recommendations, quantities, or technical assistance.

Read More Read less

Understanding the Need for Wayfinding Tiles in 2024 and Beyond

1st Apr 2024

As Canada continues to move towards a fully inclusive society, accessibility and universal design remain at the forefront for developers, contractors, and other built environment professionals. Laws and codes like the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) ensure that public and private spaces consider the needs of citizens with disabilities. However, true accessibility goes beyond legal compliance - it means thoughtfully designing spaces with Tactile Walking Surface Indicators where everyone can navigate, orient, and perceive information independently and with equal dignity.


Tactile wayfinding tiles are an integral element in creating navigable zones for individuals with low or no vision. Comprised of linear bars or truncated dome patterns embedded into flooring, these tactilely detectable tiles give directional cues and hazard warnings through distinct textures detectable underfoot or by a long white cane. While codes mandate their presence along accessible routes, proactive deployment of wayfinding tiles throughout facilities enhances usability for all users - not just those with vision impairments.


This blog explores the evolving need for compliant wayfinding tiles in Canada as we progress toward 2025 and beyond. It examines applicable accessibility standards, optimal applications, considerations in product selection, early design integration best practices, and more. Let's begin our exploration.


Why Wayfinding Matters?


Effective wayfinding through compliant floor guidance systems benefits all by enabling:

  • Independence through intuitive orientation

  • Dignity via autonomy versus reliance on sighted assistance

  • Safety via hazard detection

  • Participation by empowering access to key community amenities

  • Inclusion of disabled citizens within mainstream experiences

Beyond compliance, proactive wayfinding makes public infrastructure welcoming through universal usability. It forms the cornerstone of accessibility, facilitating independent living, learning, and labor force participation.


Current Codes Governing Wayfinding Tiles


Across Canada, accessibility regulations reference standards from the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) regarding dimensions, arrangement, materials, and other specifications for tactile walking surface indicators (TWSI), which include both warning and guidance tiles.


Key requirements include the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), which mandates the integration of TWSI along accessible routes. The National Building Code of Canada references CSA B651 to address wayfinding needs. Provincial building codes like Ontario's complement national mandates.


Municipalities also maintain bylaws - for example, Toronto outlines placement protocols along sidewalks and curb ramps. Understanding evolving codes is crucial, as non-compliance carries heavy penalties. With 2025 looming, proactive upgrades ensure preparedness.


Evolving Applications for Enhanced Usability


Originally intended primarily for hazards, guidance tiles now delineate complete pathways within multifaceted groundscapes. Their presence guides seamless navigation between key decision points, minimizing disorientation.


As environments grow more intricate, wayfinding tactile indicators deployment should mirror complexity through logical, comprehensive layouts. Beyond basic compliance, consider enhancements like:

  • Transit hubs: Connect complex stations intuitively

  • Office buildings: Link lobby, stairs, and amenities effortlessly

  • Shopping districts: Foster easier mall navigation

  • University campuses: Simplify travels between classes

  • Parks & trails, Arenas & Stadiums: Delineate routes clearly for risk-free enjoyment

Proactive placement creates an accessible experience on par with sighted users. Rethink spaces holistically to serve all.


Selecting Durable, Cost-Effective Products


Wayfinding tiles must withstand relentless foot traffic yet provide long-term performance. Consider the setting, traffic intensity, material durability as well as:

  • Porcelain withstands demanding conditions efficiently

  • Metal resists impacts better than polymers or concrete

  • Replaceable systems simplify upkeep, future changes

  • Surface-applied options facilitate renovations cost-effectively

  • Slip-resistance and color contrast aid partial sighted users

  • Compliance with AODA, CSA B651 is non-negotiable

Consult experts on optimal selection aligned with project needs, minimizing total cost of ownership. Integrate feedback from guide dog users and advocacy groups to gain user-centered solutions.


Early Wayfinding Integration Best Practices


Proactive wayfinding inclusion ensures accessibility from project genesis. Consider:

  • Discuss requirements in the schematic design phase

  • Refine floorplan layouts accounting for tile placement

  • Develop phased mockups testing usability iteratively

  • Incorporate input from end-users and experts

  • Create 3D renderings verifying code-compliant flows

  • Budget for complete tactile flooring needs from the start

  • Get approvals citing holistic, inclusive designs rapidly

This "design for all" mindset fosters universal experiences benefitting citizens of varying abilities equally. True inclusion is accessible from conception.




As visible minorities grow and an aging population emerges nationwide, fostering independent mobility assumes heightened urgency. While compliance focuses on basic accessibility, proactive measures promote dignity through intuitive wayfinding floor tactile, aiding in independent navigation for all.


Canada's goal of barrier-free communities by 2040 relies on the responsible and insightful integration of inclusive elements like compliant wayfinding tiles optimized through early design considerations and product selection catering to diverse needs. By keeping codes, standards, and user experience at the forefront, the built environment can progressively actualize universal access for a society of varied constituents.


Let Tactile Solution Canada be your trusted accessibility advisory partner. With in-depth expertise in products, codes, and inclusive design best practices, we aid in the seamless inclusion of optimized media-finding systems into your next project. Contact us to explore holistic, user-centered solutions for a future where true access is more than legislation - it's a lived reality.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What applications require wayfinding tiles?

Any public, multi-story, or complex facility mandates compliant tactile wayfinding per accessibility codes.


Q. How do tiles enhance safety?

Hazardindicatortiles alert users to upcoming risks while guidance paths improve spatial orientation.


Q. What factors determine optimal tile specification?

Footfall, weather resistance, substrate, lifespan, noise control, aesthetics, material, and budget considerations.


Q. Do tile requirements differ between new construction and renovations?

Yes, new projects can specify ideal bespoke tile layouts, while retrofits must integrate within confines.


Q. How do tiles improve the usability of buildings for end-users?

Convenient, intuitive circulation routes and hazard warnings promote confidence, participation, and autonomy.

Read More Read less

Exploring the Benefits of Replaceable Cast in Place Tactile Tiles

22nd Mar 2024

As Canada continues to prioritize inclusivity and accessibility in the built environment, the demand for innovative solutions that cater to the needs of individuals with disabilities has surged. Among the pioneering advancements in this world is the introduction of replaceable cast-in-place tactile tiles, a game-changing approach to creating safer and more accessible spaces for the visually impaired and wheelchair users.


Understanding Tactile Tiles: A Pathway to Inclusivity


Tactile tiles, also known as Tactile Walking Surface Indicators (TWSIs) or detectable warning surfaces, are a vital component of accessible design. These tiles are designed to provide tactile cues and visual contrast, alerting individuals with visual impairments or mobility challenges to potential hazards or changes in the walking surface. By incorporating raised truncated domes or guiding bars, tactile tiles help navigate pedestrians safely through environments such as curb ramps, transit platforms, and building entrances.


The Evolution of Cast in Place Tactile Tiles


Traditional tactile tiles have often been surface-applied or retrofitted, leading to potential issues such as delamination, cracking, or displacement over time. Nevertheless, the introduction of cast-in-place tactile tiles has revolutionized the industry, offering a more durable and seamless integration into the built environment.


Cast-in-place tactile tiles are installed during the construction or renovation process, becoming an integral part of the concrete surface. This approach ensures a secure and long-lasting installation, eliminating the risks associated with surface-applied tiles while providing a smooth transition between the tactile surface and the surrounding area.


The Advantages of Replaceable Cast in Place Tactile Tiles


While cast-in-place tactile tiles offer numerous benefits, the replaceable design takes accessibility to new heights. These innovative tiles are designed with a modular and removable system, allowing for easy replacement or repair without disrupting the entire surface. This feature not only extends the lifespan of the tactile warning system but also ensures continuous compliance with accessibility codes and regulations.


1. Durability and Longevity:

Replaceable cast in place tactile tiles are engineered to withstand the harshest environmental conditions and heavy pedestrian traffic. Manufactured from high-quality materials such as cast iron, these tiles are resistant to weather, wear, and tear, ensuring long-lasting performance and minimizing maintenance requirements.


2. Cost-Effectiveness:

By enabling selective replacement of damaged or worn tiles, replaceable cast-in-place systems offer a cost-effective solution over time. Rather than undertaking expensive and disruptive full replacements, facility managers can target specific areas, reducing overall maintenance costs and minimizing downtime.


3. Accessibility Compliance:

Adherence to accessibility codes and regulations is paramount in creating inclusive environments. Replaceable cast-in-place tactile tiles are designed to meet and exceed the stringent standards set forth by organizations such as the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), and provincial accessibility requirements. This ensures that public spaces remain compliant, providing a safe and accessible pathway for all.


4. Aesthetic Appeal:

In addition to their functional benefits, replaceable cast-in-place tactile tiles offer a wide range of design options. Available in various colors, textures, and patterns, these tiles can seamlessly integrate into the surrounding architectural landscape, complementing the overall aesthetic while maintaining a high level of visibility and contrast.


5. Easy Installation and Maintenance:

The modular nature of replaceable cast-in-place tactile tiles simplifies installation and maintenance processes. These tiles can be easily cut to fit various shapes and radii, conforming to the unique requirements of each project. Additionally, their removable design allows for efficient replacement or repair without disrupting the entire surface, minimizing downtime and ensuring continuous accessibility.


Trusted Canadian Suppliers of Replaceable Cast in Place Tactile Tiles


As the demand for accessible solutions continues to grow in Canada, trusted suppliers like Tactile Solution Canada have emerged as industry leaders in providing high-quality, replaceable cast-in-place tactile tiles. With a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of accessibility codes and regulations, these suppliers offer a wide range of products tailored to meet the diverse needs of contractors, building managers, landscapers, and building owners across the country.


Embracing Inclusivity: The Future of Accessible Design


The adoption of replaceable cast-in-place tactile tiles represents a significant stride toward creating more inclusive and accessible environments for all Canadians. By prioritizing durability, compliance, and ease of maintenance, these innovative solutions not only enhance safety and independence for individuals with disabilities but also contribute to a more equitable and welcoming society.


As Canada continues to lead the way in accessible design, the integration of replaceable cast-in-place tactile tiles will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the built environment, ensuring that public spaces are truly inclusive and accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


1. What are the main advantages of replaceable cast-in-place tactile tiles over traditional surface-applied tiles?

Replaceable cast-in-place tactile tiles offer superior durability, longevity, and seamless integration into the built environment. They are designed for easy replacement or repair without disrupting the entire surface, ensuring continuous accessibility compliance and cost-effectiveness over time.


2. How do replaceable cast-in-place tactile tiles contribute to accessibility compliance in Canada?

These tiles are engineered to meet and exceed the stringent accessibility codes and regulations set forth by organizations such as the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), and provincial accessibility requirements, ensuring safe and accessible pathways for individuals with visual impairments or mobility challenges.


3. What materials are commonly used in the manufacture of replaceable cast-in-place tactile tiles?

High-quality materials such as cast iron are commonly used in the production of replaceable cast-in-place tactile tiles. Cast iron offers exceptional durability, weather resistance, and longevity, making it an ideal choice for these applications.


4. Can replaceable cast-in-place tactile tiles be customized to match specific design requirements?

Yes, these tiles are available in a wide range of colors, textures, and patterns, allowing for seamless integration into the surrounding architectural landscape while maintaining high visibility and contrast for accessibility purposes.


5. How do replaceable cast-in-place tactile tiles simplify maintenance and repair processes?

The modular and removable design of these tiles allows for efficient and targeted replacement or repair without the need to disrupt the entire surface. This minimizes downtime, reduces maintenance costs, and ensures continuous accessibility compliance.


By embracing the advantages of replaceable cast-in-place tactile tiles, Canada is paving the way for a more inclusive and accessible built environment where individuals of all abilities can navigate public spaces with confidence and independence.


Here at Tactile Solution Canada, our goal is to empower inclusive design approaches through the provision of code-compliant accessibility products. Contractors, landscapers, and building owners looking to incorporate tactile floor indicators as per municipal standards can rely on our expertise.


We carry a wide selection of replaceable cast-in-place tiles from top industry brands like Access Tile, Armor Tile, and Advantage, which are suited for varied indoor and outdoor applications. Offered in multiple dimension and radius options, our tactile tiles can tackle complex contour compliant installations with ease. We look forward to creating a barrier-free environment together with discerning builders like you.

Read More Read less

Understanding Accessibility Standards Canada's Roadmap to Barrier Free Canada by 2040

22nd Mar 2024

Canada has always strived to be an inclusive society where people from all backgrounds and abilities can equally participate. With approximately 30% of Canadian adults living with some form of disability, removing barriers to accessibility has become imperative. Recognizing this need, the Government of Canada passed the Accessible Canada Act in 2019, which aims to achieve an Accessible Canada by 2040 where persons with disabilities can live independently and with dignity.


Accessibility Standards Canada plays a pivotal role in realizing this vision. It was established under the Accessible Canada Act to develop accessibility standards that will systematically remove barriers across priority areas like employment, transportation, built environment, etc. To effectively carry out this mandate, Accessibility Standards Canada developed a 'Roadmap to 2040', which outlines a comprehensive plan to guide its work towards a barrier-free Canada in the next two decades.


As a key supplier of tactile warning systems for the visually impaired, we at Tactile Solution Canada aim to enhance accessibility and safety for all through our products. In this comprehensive blog, we delve deeper into understanding Accessibility Standards Canada's Roadmap to 2040. We explain its strategic approach and timelines and how accessibility standards developed by it can positively impact Canadians with disabilities. Our goal is to spread awareness about initiatives promoting inclusion so contractors, building managers, and owners are encouraged to adopt accessible design practices from the outset.


Accessibility Standards Canada's Guiding Vision


The overarching vision driving Accessibility Standards Canada's work is to have a barrier-free Canada by the target date of January 1, 2040. Nevertheless, developing accessibility standards is just one part of achieving this audacious goal. For the standards to be impactful, they need to be incorporated into regulations by the Government and implemented on the ground by federal entities.


Accessibility Standards Canada recognizes it cannot accomplish this alone and needs to collaborate closely with other players, such as diverse disability communities, regulators, standards development organizations, and different levels of Government. The Roadmap thus outlines two key work streams: developing world-class accessibility standards while also positioning the organization as a strong leader, influencer, and partner.


Developing Accessibility Standards in Phases


Under its first work stream, Accessibility Standards Canada plans to develop standards in three rounds spanning the next two decades:


  • Round 1 (By the end of 2024): Standards addressing immediate priorities that can reduce barriers in the short term, such as employment, emergency planning, etc.

  • Round 2 (By the end of 2026): Standards focusing on areas with high impact but requiring more resources, such as complex built environment guidelines.

  • Round 3 (By the end of 2028): Standards for remaining and emerging issues to complete coverage of priority areas by 2033.


Multiple criteria are used to determine standards for each round, like level of barrier impact, resource needs, alignment with Canadians' priorities, and regulatory plans. Careful phasing allows for efficient marshaling of resources while retaining the flexibility to address new concerns. A built-in 5-year review cycle also keeps standards dynamic.


Leadership, Partnering, and Culture Change


The second work stream centers on positioning Accessibility Standards Canada as a strong influencer. This involves conducting ongoing research, including consulting disability communities and closely coordinating with regulators to help swiftly convert standards into mandatory rules.


International cooperation and harmonizing standards across Canada through relationships with provincial/territorial governments are also prioritized. Importantly, Accessibility Standards Canada recognizes that simply developing guidelines is not enough - it must work alongside stakeholders to foster a culture where inclusion is the norm through information, training, and best practices sharing.


Advancing Accessibility with Tactile Solution Canada


With years of experience in the tactile warning systems domain in Canada, we at Tactile Solution Canada understand first-hand the accessibility challenges faced, especially regarding indoor spaces like multi-floor buildings, transit terminals, arenas, hospitals, etc. Tactile products like our attention domes and directional bars serve as important wayfinding aids for visually impaired persons to detect hazards/changes in surfaces independently and confidently.


As Canada strives towards the 2040 goal, adopting principles of universal design from the beginning for both new and renovated buildings will be key. Retrofitting accessibility later tends to be more expensive and disruptive. We are committed to contributing to this mission by working closely with architects, designers, and contractors to incorporate inclusive design seamlessly.


Our extensive range of code-compliant cast iron, stainless steel, polymer, and rubber-based tactile systems offer flexible solutions for any indoor project while meeting all provincial/municipal guidelines. Integrating our products as per Accessibility Standards Canada's recommendations would future-proof structures to be barrier-free from day one as envisioned in the Roadmap.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What if the 2040 target is missed?

A. The 2040 deadline is ambitious but provides motivation. Even if some barriers persist beyond, progressive systematic efforts under the Roadmap will still enhance participation manifold. Continuous reviews also allow goals to be recalibrated as needed.


Q. How will standards impact Canadians?

A. Once incorporated into regulations, accessibility standards will create mandatory uniform requirements. This will translate to an improved quality of life whether seeking employment, accessing public services, or moving independently in daily life. Widespread adherence ultimately fosters a society with no limits for disabilities.


Q. What areas does my project require tactile solutions?

A. Reach out to us for a compliance assessment of your site plans. Our experts can identify code-mandated location for installing detectable warnings - stair nosings, edge strips, platform edges etc. Selection will depend on the nature of your project - commercial/institutional building, transit terminal, healthcare facility, and so on.


Going forward, we at Tactile Solution Canada are committed to supporting Accessibility Standards Canada's barrier-breaking efforts. Please feel free to contact us for any tactile product or compliance queries. Together, through diligent efforts across all fronts, we aim to help build the inclusive Canada envisioned in this pioneering Roadmap.

Read More Read less

British Columbia Building Code 2024: Everything You Need to Know

20th Mar 2024

The Province of British Columbia officially adopted the 2024 edition of the BC Building Code on March 8, 2024, introducing several impactful changes. In this in-depth guide, we will comprehensively explore all aspects of the updated code regulations, compliance verification processes, permitted design flexibilities, and implications for construction stakeholders across BC.


Key Changes in the 2024 BC Building Code


The BC Building Code 2024 largely adopts the model 2020 National Construction Codes for consistency across Canada. Yet, some provisions have been customized to reflect BC's unique geography, climate, and policy priorities. Let's examine these key BC-specific updates in further detail:


1. Accessibility and Adaptability Requirements


For the first time, 100% of new dwelling units in buildings featuring three or more storeys and four or more residential occupancies must fully comply with adaptable dwelling design standards as defined under Part 3.8 of the Code. This aims to facilitate independent living for occupants through all life stages by future-proofing unit layouts and mechanical systems layouts.


Additionally, the ground floor units of all smaller multi-unit residential buildings featuring between two to four above-grade storeys must also adhere to the same adaptable dwelling design standards. For all other dwelling units, reinforced bathroom walls will facilitate future grab bar installations to assist aging residents.


2. Cooling Requirements


Recognizing British Columbia's warming climate trends, the Code now requires that every dwelling must incorporate at least one habitable living space, such as a living room or den, designed to remain below 26°C during peak summer indoor temperature conditions through ventilation or mechanical cooling provisions. This establishes a benchmark for resident thermal comfort.


3. Earthquake and Seismic Design Standards


To enhance building and structural resilience against seismic events, the Code has adopted stricter national standards for the earthquake-resistant design and construction of smaller houses, townhouses, and multi-unit residential buildings located within specified high earthquake hazard zones across the province.


4. Radon Mitigation Requirements


Reflecting radon's established risks to respiratory health, the Code has introduced prescriptive language specifying the installation of extended subsurface rough-ins and cavity preparations to facilitate future retrofitting of radon depressurization mitigation systems province-wide, regardless of measured radon levels.


Code Implementation Timelines and Transitions


While most 2024 Code changes officially took effect on March 8, 2024, and applied to all new building permit applications from that date onwards, the Province recognized that additional transition periods were prudent for some updates. Specifically, the new requirements for adaptable dwellings and strengthened earthquake design provisions will have a deferred effective date of March 10, 2025.


This calibrated approach aims to balance housing supply needs while allowing construction professionals sufficient time for training, cost-benefit analyses, and developing innovative design solutions conforming to the new standards with minimal impacts. Buildings already permitted under previous Code editions are largely exempt unless they are undergoing substantial renovations triggering full upgrades.


Such measured implementation, supported by a year-long notification, helps enable smoother industry and regulatory compliance verification processes overall. The Province recognizes that both building safety and housing supply priorities must be optimized through practical phased transitions.


Code Alignment with National Requirements


For consistency across Canada, the BC Building Code largely adopts the format and technical content of the model National Construction Codes released on a three-year cycle. However, some chapters reflective of BC's unique building contexts, like standards for large farm structures, have been deferred pending further review and substantiation, given different climatic conditions and land use patterns.


Overall, this alignment approach seeks to streamline compliance verification processes for all stakeholders active across provincial or territorial borders while still allowing customization of uniquely applicable requirements. The deferred chapters provide an opportunity for additional engagement tailored to BC needs.


Accessing the BC Building Code 2024


For accessibility, transparency, and universal adoption, the fully updated BC Building Code 2024 is provided free for download on the Province's official Building and Safety Standards website in intelligent digital file formats. Hard print editions encapsulating the Code and referenced standards are anticipated to be made available for purchase later in 2024 from the same online portal.


The Province will officially notify all subscribers once print publications are ready to order, aiming to facilitate adoption across BC's diverse geography through multiple access modes. Until then, registered professionals and other construction stakeholders can smoothly reference the fully searchable digital Code.


Code Compliance Verification Processes


While the BC Building Code 2024 establishes uniformly applied minimum construction standards, design flexibility remains permitted. Registered Architects, Engineers, and Building Officials oversee facilitating Code-compliant solutions. At the project application stage, professionals verify that technical drawings and specifications meet requirements.


Construction must then be properly inspected on-site by the Authority whose jurisdiction has been appointed for the corresponding local government. Upon full occupancy readiness confirmation, including final inspections and life-safety system testing, an occupancy permit or similar approval allows the activation of the building for end use.


Off-Site Construction Pathways


British Columbia recognizes the potential for modular and off-site construction approaches to address housing supply needs through streamlined delivery. However, all building assembly and components must still fully satisfy all applicable BC Building Code technical requirements that would apply to site-built equivalents.


Modules constructed at controlled factory environments today facilitate more stringent materials and process quality assurance compared to conventional job site construction, which is prone to variability. But prefabricated assemblies are not exempt and ensure regulated compliance verification, inclusive of Authority oversight at the entry point into BC from other jurisdictions if applicable.


Flexibility through "Alternative Solutions"


While aiming to establish construction safety baselines, the BC Building Code also supports innovative design by permitting documented "Alternative Solutions" that can thoroughly demonstrate achieving equivalent or improved results relative to stated objectives and functional statements.


Registered professionals developing Alternative Solutions bear the onus of performing due diligence to prove equivalency through performance testing or comparative risk assessments vetted and authorized by the Authority Having Jurisdiction for a given local government or geographic area. Where proven, flexibility drives progress toward environmental, social, and economic priorities.


Providing Climate Resilience


Through the adoption of national building science advancements, the BC Building Code supports increasing communities' climate resilience and minimizing disruptions from more intense or frequent weather events attributed to climate change. Alongside reducing emissions through minimum energy efficiency standards, the Code enhances adaptive capacity.


As infrastructure resilience gains prominence, the BC Building Code's role in future-proofing structures will further grow in importance, given rising risks from factors like subsidence, flooding, wildfires, and hazardous events compounded by climate change. Periodic upgrades aim to safeguard residents province-wide.


Accessibility Infrastructure Requirements


Many elements in the strengthened BC Building Code 2024 directly impact the specification of code-compliant <a href="">tactile products</a> serving requirements for detectable warning systems and directional guidance cues upholding independent mobility.


Our team of accessibility experts is dedicated to supporting all actors in the construction sector in smoothly transitioning towards and verifying compliance in implementing these enhanced infrastructure standards, which benefit people of varying abilities across British Columbia through tactile products suited for indoor and outdoor applications.


Frequently Asked Questions


A few commonly asked questions on the BC Building Code 2024 include:


Q. What if my existing building does not fully meet the new standards?

Generally, previous Code editions will continue governing until substantial renovations occur, triggering the requirement for full upgrades.


Q. How long is a building permit valid for beginning construction?

Permits issued by local Authorities will remain in effect for 180 calendar days from the date of issuance, and they can be extended for another 180 days maximum upon re-application before expiry if work has begun.


Q. Can buildings permitted elsewhere satisfy the BC code without alterations?

Any assembly, including prefabricated or modular units, must either demonstrate full code compliance at the time of permitting or be modified to satisfy BC requirements before occupancy permission is granted within the province's boundaries.


Q. Where can architects or builders find code interpretations?

Authority Having Jurisdiction officials can provide preliminary binding views. Clarification letters involving urgent issues are posted by the Building and Safety Standards Branch online database and are searchable by Code article for precedents.


We hope this comprehensive guide has equipped you with knowledge to smoothly navigate the updated BC Building Code 2024 as an informed construction professional, building owner or user. Feel encouraged to reach out should any other queries arise regarding accessibility solutions for your upcoming projects.

Read More Read less

The History and Evolution of Tactile Walking Surface Indicators Over Time

20th Mar 2024

Tactile walking surface indicators, also known as detectable warning surfaces, have come a long way since their inception in the mid-20th century. From humble beginnings as an accessibility solution, tactile products today have transformed accessibility globally and continue advancing. Let's explore the rich history and milestones in the evolution of these indispensable pedestrian cues.


Origins in Post-War Japan


The need for tactile surfaces traces back to post-World War 2 Japan, where nearly half a million military personnel and civilians suffered vision impairment or limb loss. As the nation rebuilt its devastated cities, large numbers of visually impaired veterans faced mobility challenges navigating unfamiliar urban landscapes independently.


In 1965, an engineering student named Seiichi Miyake at Okayama University sought to address this issue. Inspired by reading Braille as a child, he developed the world's first functional tactile paving system - textured concrete cubes with raised bumps resembling Braille dots, detectable underfoot and with a cane.


Miyake's innovative design was chosen for the first tactile installation that very same year near a school for the blind in his hometown of Okayama City. Constructed under his supervision, this pioneering 60-square-metre test site along a busy street crossing kickstarted the tactile paving revolution. Local residents quickly realized its benefits in aiding safe street crossing.


Word of the 'Tenji Blocks' spread across Japan, with early adoptions at pedestrian crossings and transit platforms. Key was the tactile cues' ability to empower independent mobility among growing numbers of vision impaired veterans wishing to participate in post-war reconstruction. Within a decade, tactiles became ubiquitous nationwide and systematically integrated into urban design standards.


Spread across Asia-Pacific and Beyond


Through the 1970s, other Asia-Pacific nations caught on to tactiles' potential in promoting safe, barrier-free mobility. Australia began mandating installations through the Disability Discrimination Act of 1992. The United Kingdom saw compliant tactile deployments through initiatives by the Department for Transport to upgrade infrastructure.


These early adopting countries collaborated closely with Japanese tactile manufacturers, exchanging insights that helped refine designs, standardization, and installation best practices. Established international guidelines promoted intuitive uniformity in cue meanings across divergent cultures and languages.


By the late 1980s, tactiles had permeated streetscapes globally in cities with progressive disability inclusion policies. Notable were expansive tactile rollouts transforming urban landscapes of Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Seoul to enhance pedestrian access universally. Intercontinental knowledge transfers laid the groundwork to systematically integrate tactiles into built environments worldwide.


Early Adoption in North America and Europe


Through the 1970s, tactile products spread internationally, inspired by Japan's success. Australia mandated tactile via the Disability Discrimination Act of 1992, while the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 fostered U.S. adoption.


The U.K. Department for Transport led early compliant installations. As standards emerge globally, city infrastructures increasingly incorporate tactiles as mandatory cues at civic spaces like transit hubs, enhancing safety and independence for all.


Advancing Materials and Design


Initially relying on simple concrete cubes, tactile designs evolved, incorporating new durable materials. Cast iron, stainless steel, and polymer composites delivered slip-resistant textures perfectly mimicking Braille dots.


Profile variations now provided directional bars apart from dome cues while color-contrasting borders aided visibility. Products like ArmorTile offer modular outdoor solutions that are better resilient to freeze-thaw cycles and vandalism.


Consolidating International Compliance


By the 2000s, tactile design saw intensified standardization through organizations like the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to harmonize global compliance criteria. Published standards addressed installation best practices and benchmarked material performance traits.


The key was 2015's ISO 23599:2007 standard, which outlined tactile tile properties for slip-resistance, impact durability, weathering, and dimensional stability—essential for ensuring the longevity and safety of installed cues. Products underwent rigorous testing certification before receiving compliant ratings.


Meanwhile, regional codes emerged across Europe, Australia, the Americas, and beyond, mandating tactile use based on precise specifications. In Canada, the AODA legislation of 2005 consolidated national requirements by referencing ISO and CSA standards to promote barrier-free mobility consistently.


Such rigorous oversight globally advanced tactile accessibility – synchronizing expectations for manufacturers, contractors, and facility managers while protecting end-users reliant on detectable surfaces for navigation and hazard avoidance. Overall compliance raised tactile adoption standards industry-wide.


AI-Driven Innovation


Today's tactiles are intelligent. RFID and QR-coded tiles transmit location data, assisting navigation apps. Select models embed LED lights, aiding low-light mobility.


AI-powered devices recognize tactile layouts, providing audible mapping. Contactless designs even eliminate germ exchange. New materials like 3D-printed stone composites deliver enhanced durability and aesthetics.


Global Leadership in Accessible Design


Progressive cities worldwide adopted inclusive planning mandating tactiles across the civic infrastructure. Tokyo, London, and Singapore established global benchmarks through coordinated district retrofits that connect amenities to be barrier-free.


Canada's urban centers also progressed in accessibility through collaboration. Today, tactile-compliant infrastructure empowers millions to navigate inclusively and independently, transforming lives.


Tactiles Solutions in Canada


Nearly most Canadian infrastructure requires tactile indoors per building codes for paths, stairs, and platforms. Core products forming code-compliant options include:


  • Armor Tile and Access Tile cast paver systems for high-traffic outdoor applications

  • Advantage Guidance Line single-dome columns ideal for indoor wayfinding

  • Eon Tile bonded rubber tiles neatly upgrade existing surfaces

  • Ecoglo nosing indicators and signage aids egress compliance


Our team offers expert guidance on choosing optimal solutions that meet AODA, NBC, and regional municipality standards for indoor/outdoor use, new builds, and renovations.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What was the first tactile surface system?

The world's first tactile paving system was developed in 1965 by Seiichi Miyake in Okayama, Japan.


Q. When did codes require tactiles?

Major standards and legislations driving tactile adoption include the ADA (1990), AODA (2005), ISO 23599:2007, and the National Building Code of Canada (2015).


Q. Are tactiles required outdoors, too?

Yes, accessibility codes mandate tactiles outdoors at hazards like pedestrian crossings, stair/ramp edges, and hazardous grade changes as per AODA IASR.


Q. How do I choose suitable tactiles?

Factors include location, existing substrate, traffic levels, aesthetics, and, most importantly - confirmation of code compliance for your regional requirements. Consultation with experts is recommended.


Q. Can existing floors be upgraded?

Many tile systems are specifically engineered to smoothly bond to a variety of existing flooring materials, extending their functional lifespan, provided substrate conditions permit.


We hope this covered the rich history, evolution, and key requirements around tactile walking surfaces. Please reach out to Tactile Solution Canada if you have any other queries on enhancing accessibility for your upcoming projects through our code-compliant solutions.

Read More Read less