More on blisters, corduroys and tactile paving

It’s nice to know some people read our blog posts (this one was about tactile paving) and then give us a call to find out more about disabled access and how to get it right…

Recently I took a call from a contractor trying to interpret an architect’s design. In our experience it is almost always a problem when final design is left to a contractor to sort out and they very often get it wrong – this i often the case with specialist work such as alterations for disabled access.  Accessible toilets are a regular problem where the big box full of handles and rails seems to cause a meltdown in instruction reading.

And so it is with tactile paving. An architects note on a drawing and specification saying “install tactile blister paving studs” doesn’t help a contractor very much at all.

So the contractor called us and asks how far apart blister studs should be. They were going to use individual tactile blister studs like these (we just Googled this, we’re not recommending them, but it is a nice product!).  And the answer is… we didn’t know, but we did undertake to help by finding out as it would be useful to know. The answer, which we found in the Department of Transport Guide to Tactile Paving (Guidance-on-the-use-of-tactile-paving-surfaces) is 67mm apart. See drawing below. Importantly the layout of these should be square and not offset, offset studs – see the drawings below – being used to warn of platform edges.

And then, the kicker. We asked the contractor where these were being installed and he said at the top and bottom of a flight of steps. Nooooo!! Blister studs are used at road crossings and corduroy paving is used at the top and bottom of the steps. That firm that manufactures the nice studs above also does a neat line in corduroys (not trousers!).

So we sent the contractor back to the architect. What happened next we don’t know, but I suspect there was a “but it looks nice” conversation followed by a new instruction and DDA compliance.

And for completeness, corduroy pavings need to be set 400mm back from the top and bottom of steps. Each corduroy should be at 50mm centres, be 20mm wide and 6mm high. Depending on the situation, they need to be 400mm to 800mm deep.

(Originally published by Steven Way, 18 May 2012)