Polished concrete contractors and designers have a responsibility to ensure that the floors that they design and lay are safe for people to walk upon. Slip testing of these floors is a must. There has been an issue about the standard slip test for polished concrete, but now there is good news – There is a test that can be used to measure the slip risk of these floors. This method has been accepted by the industry and protects contactors from slip accident litigation.
This method involves the use of a Tribometer, which is a slip meter, to assess just how much traction is gained from ceramic, porcelain and other similar slippery materials provide. The Tribometer can now be used to measure the action gained from various types of polished concrete floors and materials. The Wet DCOF measurement method verifies just how safe a polished concrete surface is.
The adoption of this test has given contractors an industry-accepted and standardized slip testing method. Although it is not a requirement, it is great for showing that the smooth polished floor that your company has laid in any building has been tested using a credible method that is accepted by the industry. The adoption of this testing method opens up a channel for the construction industry to accept this as the standard methods of testing the safety of all polished concrete floors.
This ANSI standard is now part of the International Building Code (IBC) Materials Section. The secretariat can now expand the scope of this standard to include polished concrete floors, which will help the IBC to adopt the DCOP testing method as standard. This will enable general contractors, building owners and architects to recommend polished concrete floors for their buildings and projects.
How as this standard arrived at?
A six-month study was conducted in 2014 at the Clemson University, in which three different slabs were tested using the ANSI A-137.1 method. The slabs were each divided into 16 small squares, each processed to replicate the different types of polished concrete available in the industry. These categories were arrived at based on the possible combinations of four different exposures and four different gloss levels.
An independent party was called in to perform wet DCOF tests, and it was found that all categories had more than the 0.42 minimum traction threshold. They mostly had 0.50 and above, which is said to be high traction. The three slabs were all tested in identical manner
Therefore, it is great news for all parties involved in the laying and design of polished concrete floors that the Tribometer can be used to test for slip risks. This goes a long way in alleviating the law suits that are leveled at companies and owners of buildings with polished concrete floors. Architects and Contractors now can shield themselves from litigation by conducting and documenting this test.