Universal design

Universal design is required in order for blind people and people with impaired vision to find their way. Direction lines in floors and markings on stairs are intended to help people with impaired vision to find their way safely. Tactile surfaces with grooves and raised features are intended to help blind people find their way to lifts, reception desks, station platforms etc.

There is a requirement for Universal Design to be used in all buildings to which the public have access.

The Ministry of Climate and Environment’s definition: The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

A lot of personal injuries are the result of poor solutions.

Laws and regulations relating to Universal Design

  • The Planning and Building Act
  • The Anti-Discrimination and Accessibility Act
  • Building regulation – TEK 10
  • Norwegian Standard NS 11001 (not mandatory)

Requirement of Universal Design – significance for choice of materials

The regulation sets out requirements in terms of light and the use of colours so that it is easy for everyone, including those with visual impairments, to orientate themselves. Sufficient contrast between the main material and the material constituting the guiding field can be created by using different types of natural stone. A tactile surface for identifying level changes in front of stairs, platforms and such like can be produced using other materials. This might consist of cast iron, concrete, ceramic materials and such like.

Requirements in terms of contrast

There must be a minimum luminance contrast between floor and walls of at least 0.2. The floor should be darker than the walls. Orientation marking must have a minimum luminance contrast of 0.4. Markings on steps must be at least 0.8. Markings on steps must have a maximum width of 40 mm.

Luminance contrast can be determined using a special instrument or a lysimeter. Measured values are entered into a formula for calculating luminance contrast.

Attention fields

An attention field may consist of transverse direction bars or by some other variation in material surface. Attention fields must be used at the bottom of stairs, in front of lift doors, at reception desks and such like.

The attention field must have a depth of 60 cm and it must go all the way up to the object in question.

Hazard fields

Hazard fields consist of surfaces with round, raised projections. Used at the tops of stairs, ramps and other marked level changes. Hazard fields must have a depth of 60 cm and must start 30 cm from the first step.