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Tactiles have been around for decades now, however only being enforced in the last 8-10 years.

We’ve been Installing Tactiles for over 10 years now. With Installations ranging from small Tactile Pad installations through to large scale Individual Tactile Installations. The Industry has changed over the years and will continue to evolve if the changes internationally are an example of the industry movement.

Here in Australia, the biggest changes we have found is the actual implementation and enforcement of Tactile Requirements in Schools, Commercial and Industrial spaces. Unfortunately as it stands today we regularly receive requests from builders and the like who never factored in the tactiles in their budget when tendering or quoting projects. For those builders, its usually a last minute thoughts because the Building Inspector or similar is due in a few days or a week to come and sign off on their project. Without their Sign-off occupancy or Building Certificates wont be issued.

This has lead to a need to service these clients promptly, with little to no-notice and quite often with after hours works. This also leads them to search for the cheapest product and sometimes inexperienced labourers installing tactiles for the first time. While at first the concept is quite simple, installation of tactiles to the wide assortment of substrates and surfaces, comes with its own challenges. Which only training and years of experience can remedy.

We’ve put together this page to inform you of what to look out for when choosing your tactile solution:

Finned Tactile Strips – the worst kind
You’ve likely seen them, and almost certainly, you’ve walked over them. Tactiles installed by way of concrete saw cut, then fixed in to the saw cut with a fin, under the tactile itself. We wanted to inform you of our warning for these Tactiles. Whilst being a cheaper and potentially more cost effective solution to Individual Tactiles with Stem (requiring a hole for each individual Tactile) Cutting 12 strips along the width of the area and installing the strip does make light work of the installation process. However, if you have taken the time to have a look at these Tactiles after a few weeks/months after being installed, you’ll notice one certainty. That there’s some missing, damaged, ripped off or crumbling (yes there is even a brand of these strip tactiles which crumbles with weathering).
Pros:
– Cheaper option, reasonably quick installation for large qty’s
Cons:
-Weather-ability, Durability, Longevity, ongoing replacement require, repair difficult.
Note: Here at Fill the Gaps, we never install new Finned Tactiles, we have removed and replaced many times over recent years.

Tactile Pads
The cost effective solution. Tactile Pads come in various forms and are typically more cost effective than Individual Tactiles. there are an assortment of types catering to different traffic-ability.
Tactile Pads come in the following Options:
– 300 x 600 Polyurethane Pads
– 300 x 300 Self Stick Pads (Bitumen Adhesive)
– 300 x 600 Self Stick Pads (Bitumen Adhesive)
– 300 x 600 Fibreglass Reinforced Tactile Pads (Mechanical & Adhesive Installation)
– 300 x 600 Hard Polymer Tactile Pad (Mechanical & Adhesive Installation)
Less Cost Effective Solution however extremely durable
– 300 x 600 Solid Stainless Steel Tactile Plate (Mechanical & Adhesive Fixing)
– As above, with Black Plastic Insert or Black Carborundum Insert
– 300 x 600 Solid Brass Tactile Plate

All of the above come in Warning tactile & Directional Tactile form.

Individual Tactiles
For optimal Surface Indicating Solution, manufactured from an assortment of materials to cater for a range of budget and aesthetic solutions.
Types of Individual Tactiles Available to the Market:
– Plastic Tactiles
– Yellow, Black, Grey, Ivory, Blue, Teracotta.
– white available only for internal use
– Stainless Steel Tactiles
– Stainless Steel Tactile with Screw Fixing
– Stainless Steel Tactiles with assorted infil/inserts
– Plastic Insert – yellow, black, ivory, glow in the dark
– Carborundum Insert (non-slip insert) – assorted colours
– Solid Black PVD Tactile
– Tactile with PVC Base and Stainless Insert
– Brass Tactile

Directional Tactiles
Directional Tactiles are designed to highlight the path of travel for those who require visual or direction assistance by way of feel.
Types of Directional Tactiles are available:
– Individual Plastic Directional Bar
– Individual Stainless Steel Directional Bar
– 300 x 600 Directional Pads (Mechanical & Adhesive fixing options)

Soon to be available
In the next few years, as need and use of Tactiles heighten, as seen in cities around the world. The use of LEDs in Tactiles will spread to Australia. Typically with a Stainless Steel Base and LED insert, they will highlight Paths of travel and change of surface for those who are vision impaired, and for those who don’t require such assistance.

Application/Location of Tactiles and compliance
Tactile requirements for Buildings are derived from the following:

  • National Construction Code – Section D3.8
  • Australian/New Zealand Standard 1428.1 2009 – Design for access and mobility – Design for access and mobility: General requirements for access – New building works
  • Australian/New Zealand Standard 1428.4.1 2009 – Design for access and mobility – Means to assist the orientation of people with vision impairment: Tactile ground surface indicators
  • Australian/New Zealand Standard 4586 – 2013 – Slip resistance classification of new pedestrian surface materials

Whist many of you would never read the above Compliance documentation, its important for various reasons, to know exactly where and when Tactile and Directional Tactiles are required.
The basic rule of thumb is: Anywhere there is a change of surface, inclusive but not limited to ramping, stairway, step-down etc, intersection between foot and road traffic to name a few.
Internally for buildings the same rule applies some exclusions apply to the internal of residential premises (however common areas still require them)
Its also important to ensure you don’t over do it, as some builders find out the hard way, there are areas where tactiles are not required, even though a draftsman or otherwise has specified them to be in a specific location.

Its best to liaise with your Building Inspector, draftsman or ourselves for Code Compliance. Feel free to contact us for any assistance.