Designing safety into buildings

A group called Designers Initiative On Health And Safety (DIOHAS) represent much of the top hundred architectural practices in the UK and meet regularly on issues relevant to design aspects of health and safety in workplaces and other parts of the built environment.

At one meeting of DIOHAS a member architectural practice was keen to share with the rest of the group its experience in helping an important client to make the right design choices for protecting pedestrians from slip risks.

The DIOHAS meeting was held in the same offices that had, a day earlier, hosted a presentation to clients on a prestige commercial refurbishment project in London with all the usual expensive finishes. All the samples of these finishes were still on display in the meeting room.

The project architect illustrated to the group how every sample had been tested by independent engineers using UK Slip resistance Group ([email protected]) guidelines to validate the claims made by the manufacturers of the floor finishes. The manufacturers had also had earlier tests carried out to the same standard. The practice was able to show that the slip resistance tests results from the manufacturers and the independent testers matched exactly. It is important to understand and have confidence in test data supplied by manufacturers.

The right coefficient of friction and floor micro-roughness levels were present in all the floor finishes proposed for relevant areas without there being any compromise in quality or cost. The designer told the group that a workshop held in conjunction with the Health & Safety Laboratory had helped their practice be better informed and better able to guide clients to choices of floor finish that do not add to pedestrian slip risks in the finished buildings.

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