Provision of safe pedestrian surfaces throughout economically reasonable life cycles Richard Bowman, Ceramic Engineer

As many floors can become slippery due to wear, what slip resistance is needed when building housing where the owners intend to age in place? Although various slip resistance guidance has been developed, what has been based on robust evidence-based research; well-intended subjective approaches; and/or to serve vested interests? While some access consultants have recommended highly slip resistant surfaces for use in inclusive residential bathrooms, their textured surfaces will cause cleaning problems. How should one specify readily cleanable products for slip resistant accessible paths of travel? To what extent is the existing infrastructure unsafe (in terms of slippery floors)? Where people have slipped and then fallen, is there data that quantifies the environmental contribution? Do specific forms of disability feature disproportionately in the falls data? While most falls of older people are likely due to a loss of balance or a failure to use prescribed aids, is the floor a convenient, least embarrassing scapegoat? While the Standards Australia Handbook 197 slip resistance guidance was the best practice approach 20 years ago, its inclusive basis is poorly recognised. The basis of the 2014 HB 198 recommendations and the National Construction Code requirements for ramps and stairways require confirmation. The requirements for residential stairs are unnecessarily high; and imply a similar need elsewhere. Why has the Australian Tile Council resisted the provision of SR guidance for residential situations? Why has it obstructed the adoption of improved slip resistance testing procedures and better product selection practices? This presentation will highlight specific limitations of some accepted research. It will question why some organisations’ mercenary approach has been permitted to frustrate the development of improved slip resistance testing procedures that would enable better specification practices. It will provide a roadmap for attaining a Goldilocks solution to satisfying reasonable expectations for inclusive safe flooring.