Ideally the slip resistance of surfaces will not change over time; however, through slip resistance testing and monitoring, it has been observed that the slip resistance of many slip resistant floor surfaces will reduce in slip resistance over time. Thus slip resistance test results obtained on factory fresh floor surfaces may be illusory, misleading designers into specifying products that may be potentially hazardous within weeks or months of installation.
Since many building codes throughout the world require safety measures, such as floors with sufficient slip resistance, to perform not less than they were required to achieve, this has implications for the architect when specifying a floor surface. The slip resistance of new surfaces can change by processes including installation, surface treatments, maintenance, wear and contamination.
The problem of sustainable slip resistance is further exacerbated when the inclining ramp slip resistance test methods (R rating slip test) cannot be conducted onsite for monitoring any changes in slip resistance. Safe Environments provide accelerated wear testing to assess sustainable slip resistance.
The current development of accelerated wear slip resistance test methods which seek to assess the probable long term slip resistance was pioneered by Carl Strautins, Property Risk Consultant, Safe Environments.
The process involves subjecting the floor sample through a number of cycles of wear in conjunction with wet pendulum slip resistance testing method of AS/NZS 4586, Slip resistance classification of pedestrian surface materials. The accelerated wear slip resistance test provides a means to assess and compare the relative propensity of a proposed floor surface to reduce in slip resistance. The results should be assessed as a part of a continual improvement cycle.
As the slip resistance can change over time, the inclining ramp test methods (R Rating slip test) cannot be conducted onsite to verify the initial documented slip resistance and only the pendulum slip test and Dry FFT slip test can confirm the onsite performance. This aspect of onsite slip resistance testing is quintessential within a continual improvement cycle, where slip resistance benchmarks must be established based on correlation between real world performance and tests on specimens subjected to accelerated wear tests.