LIGHT REFLECTANCE VALUE
The Equality Act 2010 (UK) (which replaced the 2004 Disability Discrimination Act) requires that all new and refurbished public buildings and work places comply with current regulations via their 'Access Statement', ensuring safe entry, exit and safe passage throughout the building.
Required by Building Regulations
Obligations regarding building access and usage are covered under BS8300 / Building Regulations Approved Document. Failure to comply with the Equality Act could result in building owners and facility managers being fined up to £50,000.
The regulations mean that people, regardless of disability, age or gender, must be able to gain equal access to public buildings. For visually impaired people this means amongst other things that there must be a good visual contrast between various elements of the building, including doorways, fixtures and fittings. Therefore, the contrast between for example doors and walls must achieve a certain level – measured by something called Light Reflectance Value (LRV).
Why do we need contrast?
Most registered blind people will still have some vision in colour. Only a small percentage (less than 5%) can see nothing at all, and even people within this group will generally have some sensitivity to light and shade. Ensuring that a minimum of 30 points of LRV difference is specified for adjacent surfaces will in the majority of cases help to ensure that visually impaired people are not discriminated against.
Examples where visual contrast will be required:
- Door faces and/or frames to walls
- Floors to walls
What is Light Reflectance Value?
LRV is a universal value for 'contrast'. It measures the proportion of useful light reflected by a coloured object. It represents a relative light and darkness value rather than an actual colour. Therefore, dissimilar colours could have the same LRV.
LRV is measured on a scale of 0 to 100, 0 being perfect absorbing black and 100 being perfect reflecting white (in reality you never find these perfect objects - a bright white would typically have a result of an LRV of 85).
Kährs hardwood floors and LRV
The LRV values of our hardwood floors are tested at our main production plant in Nybro, Sweden. Due to the natural variation in wood there will be some deviation from the test values. Find out more about our LRV values in the PDF document.
Light Reflectance Value (LRV) scale
The current guidance in the Regulations and in Codes of Practice, BS 8300:2009, is that adequate visual contrast is provided if the Luminous Reflectance Factor - Light Reflectance Values (LRV) of the contrasting areas differ by at least 30 points. The current British Standard for the measurement of LRV is BS8493:2008+A1:2010.