Legal Requirements for Entrance Matting
A building’s Entrance Matting System plays a key role in creating an inviting and safe environment for the user. The majority of dirt that enters a building is brought in on the soles of shoes and tyres of wheeled traffic. This can make interiors look dirty and unattractive and cause damage to interior floor finishes. It also creates unnecessary health and safety hazards. For this reason, it is paramount to understand all regulations in the Entrance Matting industry. Here, we give some insight into the legal requirements of the entrance matting industry.
What are the legal requirements?
- Part 3.1 of this standard defines an EFS in broad terms as an “installation of flooring materials designed to reduce the ingress of soil into a building or to reduce the transfer of soil from one part of a building to another” It states that an EFS is necessary in order to:
- Reduce the risk of slip injuries
- Prolong the life of the interior floor finish
- Reduce the cost of ongoing maintenance.
- The standard also outlines how the EFS should perform these functions: “The entrance flooring system should scrape, wipe and retain soil, making contact with both the feet of people entering the building and, in the case of wheeled traffic, with the circumference of the wheels.”
- This last stipulation gives an indication of the appropriate size of an EFS. The wheels of a wheelchair have a diameter of 56-66cm, which equates to a circumference of 172-207cm. For the wheels to turn twice on the EFS (in order to remove as much dirt and moisture as possible), the minimum length of the system would be about 4m. This means that being DDA compliant is crucial to ensure the safety of all wheelchair users.
BS 8300: 2009+A1:2010
- This standard is a code of practice for ensuring that the design of buildings and their approaches meet the needs of disabled people. It emphasises the need for ease of movement for wheelchairs in building reception areas, stating: “The approach from the principal entrance to the reception point should be direct, free from obstruction, have a firm, slip-resistant surface and allow easy manoeuvre of a wheelchair.”
- The standard directly addresses the need for entrance matting systems conforming to BS 7953, to reduce “the ingress of soil and surface moisture to buildings, or their transfer between adjacent internal areas, [to their] lowest practical level”.
- Because of the need for a firm surface, it advises against the use of loose-lay mats and coir. It also advises that an EFS use colours that contrast with adjacent floor coverings in order to help comply with the guidelines for the visually impaired.
Building Regulations 2010
Approved Document M “Access to and use of buildings”
Further guidance on meeting the requirements set out in BS8300:2009+A1 :2010 is provided by the Building Regulations, and focuses on these areas:
- Floor surface material within the entrance do not impede the movement of wheelchairs (e.g. coir) and; changes in floor materials do not create a potential trip hazard.
- The floor surface helps to remove moisture from shoes and wheelchairs.
- The surface of the mat is level with the surface of the adjacent floor finish.
- This is not specifically referred to in any legislation but is clearly a matter of necessity and due diligence.
- Gaps of 4-5mm maximum should be specified in areas where stiletto heels may be used.
In practice, this includes most public building and offices, depending on the function and location.
Understanding and adhering to these regulations is paramount to avoid any cases against you. One bad case can cause a PR nightmare and seriously damage the reputation of the firm. Therefore, using manufacturers who have the industry knowledge and a comprehensive understanding of products will not only save you worry but could potentially save you money. Ensuring entrances comply with British standards is essential.
Book our RIBA-approved CPD on Entrance Matting today to find out more or call us on 01425 472000 to ensure your specification is compliant.