NZ Slip Standard AS/NZS 4586

What are the requirements for a surface to be slip resistant?

The NZ Building Code (1992) gives this instruction on slip resistance:

D1.3.3 Access routes shall:

 (d) Have adequateslip-resistant walking surfaces under all conditions of normal use.

 

For surfaces that may become wet (section 2.1.2):

The Acceptable Solution to this D1 section (Access Routes) - D1/AS1 lists two methods for complying with the Building Code:

 a) have an SRV classification of not less than 39 from the wet pendulum test method (AS4586, Appendix A)

 b) Use the materials listed in Table 2 as acceptable wet slip

 

For surfaces that will usually remain dry (section 2.1.3):

A surface must either be tested to AS4586 Appendix B and pass at more than 0.40, or be selected from Table 2 as acceptable dry slip.  In practice almost all floor-coverings provide acceptable dry slip resistance, as listed in the table and therefore do not require a test under Appendix B.

 

For sloping surfaces and stairs (section 2.1.5):

For sloping surfaces, the SRV required will increase from 39, depending on the slope of the surface - Appendix F of AS4586 provides tables for working out how much the requirement increases by. 

Alternatively, for both sloping surfaces and stairs, Table 2 in the D1/AS1 provides a Yes/No acceptable rating for a limited range of slope (see the notes). 

Finally, and most easily, a P4 rating from the AS4586 wet pendulum test is acceptable for stairs and ramps not steeper than 1:12.

 

What about the old AS/NZS 3661 standard?

Although AS/NZS 3661 standard is now obsolete, the D1/AS1 revision still recognises it. Section 2.1.2, note 2 states that a co-efficient of friction (COF) of 0.4 when tested under AS/NZS 3661.1 may be assumed to be equivalent to a SRV of 39.  For both AS/NZS 3661.1 and AS4586 higher numbers equal more slip resistance, and they can be correlated (eg 0.4 = 39, 0.74 = 65).  So if you see a test under AS/NZS 3661.1 with a number over 0.4, then you'll know it passes the new requirements.  If you want to know the exact converted number, you can use this equation: 330 x COF / 3 + COF = SRV value (eg. 330 x 0.4 / 3.4 = 39).

 

Where do I need to specify slip resistant surfaces?

Residential (section 2.1.2 b)

The only access route that requires a wet slip resistant surface is the approach to the front door. Kitchens, bathrooms and laundries are assumed to remain dry under normal use, so any surface that is listed in Table 2 as acceptable dry slip may be used. No guidance is given for areas around pools and outside decks and courtyards (if they're not part of the main approach), so surfaces may be selected to suit the occupant's requirements. For outside areas (courtyards, around pools, walkways etc) in apartment or multi-residential complexes, we'd recommend a slip resistant surface to meet the acceptable wet requirements.

 

Commercial

For commercial spaces most areas will remain dry and therefore any floor-covering can be used.  For areas that may become wet, there are some differences by area and type of application:

Wet/Dry Entrance Transition Zones (section 2.1.6)

D1/AS1 provides a guide for the entranceway transition zone, between 'wet under normal usage' and 'dry under normal usage'.  This zone can use either water absorbent entrance matting for an area sufficient to absorb most water from shoes (suggested as minimum 1.8 metres), or an extended area of the wet slip resistant surface (suggested to be 6 - 10m from where the ground gets wet from rain).

 

Slip Resistance in Commercial Kitchens (section 2.1.4)

The D1/AS1 states that AS4586 Appendix D is an acceptable method for testing surfaces in industrial and commercial spaces.  This is the oil/wet ramp test, which gives a R rating (R9, least slip resistant through to R13, most slip resistant).  It is technically equivalent to DIN 51130, which many imported surfaces will be tested to.  The D1/AS1 directs you to refer to HB198, Table 3 for suggested R-values in commercial situations.  HB198 is part of the Australian National Construction Code, and is available for purchase from Standards Australia.  To make life slightly easier, the two relevant mentions for Commercial Kitchens are -

Loading docks under cover and commercial kitchens - R12

Serving areas behind bars in public hotels and clubs; cold stores and freezers - R11

With R11 or R12 slip resistant floors commitment to the correct maintenance routine is absolutely essential - the floor will need to be regularly washed with either a machine brush or manual brush to prevent the build-up of fatty deposits rendering the non-slip surface smooth. 

It's important to consider the type of kitchen you're specifying for also - full size commercial kitchens and cafe kitchens potentially have different requirements, and will likely have differing abilities to keep floor surfaces clean.  For cafe and similar smaller kitchens, there needs to be a balance between safety underfoot with a slip resistant surface and ease of cleaning.  In the past we haven't recommended a R12 surface for these smaller kitchens as the floor will be difficult to keep clean, but as the NZBC now requires this standard we suggest that specifiers discuss their project with the building inspector of the relevant territorial authority before making the final decision on which product to choose.

> View Safetred Universal Plus, our R12 rated commercial vinyl 

> View the Slip Product Guide to find R11 rated flooring options

 

Slip Resistance in Commercial Bathrooms

The D1/AS1 doesn't specifically mention commercial bathrooms, but carrying on with the previous reference to HB198 Table 3 in commercial situations:

Toilet facilities in offices, hotels and shopping centres - P3 or R10

P3 = SRV of between 35 and 44.

Commercial bathrooms are not considered to be a wet area, and therefore don't definitively require a SRV of 39, so this guideline is useful - it advises some slip resistance, but not a heavily textured surface. We'd suggest smooth vinyl (which mostly have reasonable slip resistance), or a ceramic tile with a slight surface texture. Critically for a bathroom, both of these options are easy to clean.

The only application where a more highly slip resistant surface is definitely required is when the bathroom becomes a wet room with the addition of showers. In this circumstance, the wet barefoot guidelines below should be used.

> View the Slip Product Guide to find R10 / SRV 35-44 rated flooring options

 

Slip Resistance in public Pool areas and Shower rooms (section 2.1.2 c)

In wet barefoot areas such as around swimming pools and in communal shower areas, the D1/AS1 accepts surfaces classified as B (or C) under AS4586 Appendix C.  This is the wet barefoot test and is technically equivalent to DIN 51097, which many imported surfaces will be tested to. Under this test class A is the least slip resistant, through to class C as the most slip resistant.

> View the Slip Product Guide to find barefoot class B or C rated flooring options

 

Can I use R-ratings instead of SRV?

Possibly. In the second Comments section of the D1/AS1 under 2.1.2 there is statement that "imported materials are often tested by a ramp test equivalent to Appendix D of NZS 4586.  While this is an oil wet test using an industrial work shoe, a R11 result will often be equivalent to an SRV of 39 for water wet conditions."  It doesn't explicitly state whether or not a R11 rating will be considered acceptable without further testing ("often equivalent" is a pretty loose term). In our experience R11 does usually give a SRV of 39 or over, but certainly not always.

We'd expect that different territorial authorities may have different interpretations on the acceptability of R-ratings in general areas, so if you're planning on using them in circumstances other than those specifically allowed for (section 2.1.4, Commercial and Industrial areas that may be contaminated by oils and similar), then we'd suggest you check with the relevant Council authority. 

 

> If you'd like more information, don't hesitate to get in touch with one of our flooring experts.

> Choose the perfect product for your next project: for a full list of the SRV, R-rating or Wet Barefoot Classes that each of our products has been tested to, check out our Slip Product Guide.