Using smooth deck boards to help promote inclusive access and meet Part M
Timber decking can provide an excellent solution when designing to, and interpreting Part M of the current building regulations.
To help meet Part M, a smooth deck board should be chosen to give an easy comfortable ride when accessing the decking with a wheelchair. The non-slip inserts should give a low potential for slip, but at the same time, not be so slip resistant to cause a trip or stumbling hazard for those who are less able and may have difficulty picking up their feet.
These inclusivity issues were highlighted in the work completed within the Olympic Park, where an average PTV (pendulum test value or ‘slip risk’) value of 48 was targeted. Typically, tarmac and concrete pavers fall in the 45-55 range and CitiDeck, a smooth non-slip deck board (with a finer aggregate non-slip insert) was designed to match this.
Recommended spans are set to ensure a maximum 3mm deflection so again, there is no trip hazard.
Timber decking provides an easy way to create access ramps into buildings. In addition raised timber decks & balconies can provide additional outdoor living space with no changes in level from inside to out.
When designing ramps, to meet the requirements of part M, the slope should be no more than 1 in 20.
Other inclusivity considerations
Highlight changes in either level or surface – Use colour, ideally yellow, to mark changes for the visually impaired.
Indicate start and finish – A change in walking surface is required to indicate start and finish. This can be indicated by using castellated boards or by a change in the anti-slip insets to show a difference.
Highlight edges – Use an up stand, but not to cause a trip hazard, usually handrails are also required.
Not too much anti slip – If the walking surface is too ‘grippy’ this can cause a trip hazard to pedestrians who have difficulty picking up their feet.
To find out more about designing for inclusivity read the Olympic Park case study.
Or to find out more about Marley Decking solutions,