Not only should a floor feel good to walk on and preferably good to look at, it must also make it easier for the disabled to find their way around. There are both tactile and visual walkways, and here we explain the difference and describe how we work with various solutions.

What do the regulations say?
National building regulations stipulate that persons with impaired orientation abilities must be able to easily find, and find their way to, important targets such as walkways, stairs and ramps. It is good if connected walkways are available, both tactile and visual, in open spaces such as receptions and foyers, However, there our no statutory specifications on how guided walkways should be designed. It’s up to the person placing the order for a public space to design the technical solutions.

Tactile walkways
Textured markings in the walkways act as a signpost. Risk areas like stairs and elevators should have textured warning markings, so-called stop surfaces. It must be possible to feel tactile guided walkways with the aid of a blind cane.

Visual walkways
Visual guided walkways help people with impaired vision or cognitive abilities to orient themselves in the premises. Visual walkways should preferably be smooth but the colour may differ from the rest of the floor surface. They must have adequate contrast, at least 0.40 on the NCS colour system scale.

Various designs
We work with tactile markings and handicap adaptations on both our in situ terrazzo and terrazzo tiles. The markings are made once the floor is in place and there are several ways of doing this such as making grooves. We can also add aluminium or brass profiles as tactile markings. These are fixed by drilling or bonding. We usually work closely with clients; we base our work on their requirements and are happy to bounce ideas around and contribute with our own experience.

We also work with contrast markings. This is important in stairs or ramps for people with impaired vision to make it easier to recognise level differences. We can also combine and contrast markings with other functions such as anti-slip flooring, or why not simply for ornamentation?

Reference projects
The photographs show three of our reference projects where we created tactile solutions. They are Askim’s Church and Mölndal Hospital where we made continuous grooves across their open spaces. In Amhult’s Church we placed markers on top of the floor, and on the so-called decision surfaces where two walkways meet, we differentiated with circular markings instead of rods.