Which Slip Resistance Test?
There are two slip resistance test Standards for pedestrian surfaces; one for new surfaces and one for existing surfaces. Within each Standard, the selection of an appropriate slip resistance test begins with knowing if the surface is either new (not yet laid), or has been laid. A floor is considered to become an existing surface once it has been installed and made available for pedestrian traffic.
What Surfaces are Suitable for Slip Resistance Testing?
Slip resistance test methods for pedestrian surfaces are suitable for all resilient pedestrian surfaces including timber, ceramic, stone, vinyl and pit covers. Products such as sealers, polishes and etchants that modify the surface characteristics of pedestrian surfaces are also suitable for testing. Neither test Standard applies to carpets and only the ramp test methods apply to gratings.
Slip Resistance Test on New Surfaces
The slip resistance test options available for new surfaces are provided in AS/NZS 4586:2004 Slip Resistance Classification of New Pedestrian Surface Materials and are:
Wet pendulum slip test (Appendix A): AS/NZS 4586:2004 & AS4586-2013
This method tests the surface under water wet conditions and provides a classification under the superseded AS/NZS 4586:2004 of either V, W, X, Y or Z (based on the British Pendulum Number or BPN obtained from the test); or a classification under the current AS 4586-2013 of either P0, P1, P2, P3, P4 or P5 (based on the Slip Resistance Value or SRV obtained from the test). This test method may also be applied insitu for existing surfaces under AS/NZS 4663:2004 and AS4663-2013. The minimum specimen size is five (5) tiles of a minimum of 15×15 cm. In the current standard the introduction of pink lapping film is set to dramatically change previously tested materials.
Dry floor friction slip test (Appendix B): AS/NZS4663:2004 and AS4663-2013
This method tests the surface under dry conditions and provides a classification of either F or G under the superseded AS/NZS4663:2004 and a classification of either D0 or D1. D0 is used for surfaces measuring a Coefficient of Friction less than 0.40 and D1 for surfaces measuring a Coefficient of Friction equal to or greater than 0.40. This test method may also be applied in-situ for existing surfaces under AS/NZS 4663:2004. The minimum specimen size is 100x25cm or sufficient specimens to make up required area. Samples for the Wet Pendulum test may also be used for the Dry Floor Friction test.
for barefoot areas and may provide a classification of either A, B or C. This test can only be performed in the laboratory and hence is suitable only for new surfaces. Minimum specimen size is 100x50cm or sufficient specimens to make up required area. Maximum specimen size is 120x60cm. This type of test is currently not offered by SESA.
Oil wet inclining platform slip resistance test (Appendix D)
This test is more suited to profiled or textured surfaces and may provide a classification of either R9, R10, R11, R12 or R13. This test can only be performed in the laboratory and hence is suitable only for new surfaces. Minimum specimen size is 100x50cm or sufficient specimens to make up required area. Maximum specimen size is 120x60cm. This type of test is currently not offered by SESA. These four slip resistance test options provide an assessment of the contribution of a pedestrian surface to the risk of slipping to assist in the specification of a surface material for most pedestrian applications. Unless the application of the surface can be controlled such as through written instruction, all test methods are the most prudent approach. In any case, at least one of Appendix A, C or D should be used for all external pedestrian surfaces and internal surfaces that have a reasonably foreseeable risk of the presence of wet substances such as water, grease and oil. The inclining platform methods (Appendices C and D) are particularly suitable for gratings, heavily profiled surfaces and resilient surfaces. Such surfaces are primarily designed to provide drainage or entrapment of contaminant materials. Where the surface is generally wet and used in barefoot conditions, choose the wet barefoot ramp method (Appendix C). Typical locations are swimming pool surrounds, showers, wash rooms and change rooms. An inclining platform method does not mean that the surface is necessarily used as an inclining platform. While this may be the case, the inclining platform method derives its name from the way in which the test is conducted: the new surface is applied to an inclining platform while an operator traverses up and down the slowly inclining platform. The angle at which the operator slips determines the slip resistance rating. If the material is installed on a slope, slope correction factors must be applied. This can mean that an initial inclining platform classification of R9, the lowest inclining platform test rating, may fail to meet an inclining platform classification in-situ due to the slope of the surface on which the material is installed. The wet pendulum and dry floor friction test methods (Appendices A and B) may not apply to heavily profiled surfaces. Where a inclining platform test method is specified, a wet pendulum test (Appendix A) should also be performed provided the surface is not highly profiled. Gratings are a typically highly profiled example where a inclining platform test is the only suitable slip resistance test. Tactile Ground Surface Indicators (TGSI’s) are an example of a profiled surface that is suitable for both inclining platform testing and wet pendulum testing. A wet pendulum test offers the advantage of slip resistance determination (and risk) under a wider range of conditions and because the wet pendulum test can be applied to installed surfaces (ie. in situ), it provides a measure of the inevitable change in slip resistance over time, enabling the risk of slipping to be monitored. While the measurement of slip resistance using wet methods is achieved with Appendices A, C and D, the inherent slip resistance value (uncontaminated surface) is achieved with the dry test (Appendix B) and is the only method suitable for testing under dry conditions. Appendix E of the Standard provides a method for testing the displacement space of a pedestrian surface that has a severely profiled or structured surface. The method measures the capacity of a pedestrian surface to hold contaminants that would otherwise effect slip resistance. The displacement volume test method is a useful test alongside a ramp test where the surface is severely profiled or structured and designed to provide drainage or entrapment of contaminants.