Extract from the Human Rights Commission website: © Australian Human Rights Commission

ISSUE 6:
Visual indicators on
fully glazed doors and side lights

Importance of the feature

The application of visual indicators on fully glazed doors and sidelights is to inform all members of the community, particularly those with a vision impairment of the presence of the fully glazed panels in their path of travel.

Many people with a vision impairment have a depth of field limitation, which requires them to focus their attention 1 to 2 metres ahead of them as they proceed along a path of travel, which results in them looking down at an angle of 45 – 50 degrees. This also allows them to choose a safe path of travel.

 

When a person is within 1 – 1.5 meters from a fully glazed door or sidelight they are able to detect the visual barrier at the height of 900 – 1000mm above the finished floor/ground level, provided the luminance contrast criteria has been met in respect of the background on which it is being viewed. People with 20/20 vision will be able to detect the visual indicators without difficulty at the location heights as set out in the relevant standards.

Code requirements

The Building Code of Australia (BCA), through reference to AS 1428.1 at D3.3(c) and AS 1288, provides technical details of requirements for the location, dimensioning and luminance contrast of visual indicators.

Visual indicators are only of use to all members of the community if they are installed in accordance with AS1428.1.

Good use of visual indicators on glass door
Photo 1

Photo 1 shows a good example of the use of visual indicators.

Achieving best results

To be effective visual indicators must be within the design criteria set out in AS1428.1.

This is achieved by ensuring:

  • The visual indicators are located at the appropriate height above the finished floor
  • The visual indicators are the full width of the door and sidelight and the specified depth. The Commission’s view is that the visual indicator should be solid and continuous as broken lines, symbols or words may not achieve the required effect.
  • The luminance contrast of the indicators of at least 30% is achieved when viewed by a person with a depth of field limitation. The background in all cases will be the circulation space on the opposite side of the door

Common problems and misinterpretations

1. Dimensioning of the visual indicators and height above the finished floor level

Indicators too high and not clear enough

Photo 2

Indicators too high and not clear enough

Photo 3

Indicators too high and not clear enough

Photo 4

Indicators too high and not clear enough

Photo 5

The visual indicators in photos 2 - 5 are located too high and/or do not meet the specifications of AS 1428.1. The intent of the requirement is to have a solid 75mm line extending across the full width of the glazed doorway and sidelights. These photos have in all cases a broken line of symbols or words, none of which have a depth of 75mm.

Correct visual indicators

Photo 6

Correct visual indicators

Photo 7

Photos 6 and 7 show the correct application of visual indicators on fully glazed doors.

2. Luminance contrast of visual indicator to background

Vision impaired view of poor visual indicators

Photo 8

20/20 view of poor visual indicators

Photo 9

Glazing with no visual indicators

Photo 10

Good indicators if light background fill added

Photo 11

Photo 8 depicts what a person with a vision impairment may see as they approach a fully glazed doorway and sidelight. Photo 9 shows the doors in question with the inadequate visual indicators that are very common in the built environment. Photo 10 shows glazing with no visual indicators. The door and sidelights in photo 11 would be excellent if the background behind the symbols was to be filled in with a light colour.

Good contrast and height for indicators
Photo 12

The visual indicator in photo 12 complies with AS 1428.1 as it has the required luminance contrast of at least 30 percent and is located at the appropriate height of 900mm - 1000mm above the finished floor.