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Regulations and considerations when fitting LVT transitions

Tim Hayes explains the regulations that must be taken into consideration when fitting LVT transitions.

LVT transitions are available in several styles and materials. They’re often fitted LVT-to-LVT, but there are options to transition between LVTs and many different floorcoverings. A strip of the LVT itself can be fitted in a channel of the transition to create a uniform look, or a bright transition can be used to highlight the floorcovering join.

Whatever the style of LVT and its transition strips, when fitting LVT transitions it’s essential to be aware of the regulations which cover these small but vital flooring accessories. Even beyond the legal requirements, it’s important to be aware of the environment where LVT is being installed. LVT in a care home for instance may require a vastly different style of transition strip to one in an office.

Dangers and regulations
According to RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations), they say: ‘Slips, trips and falls make up more than half of all reported major injuries in the built environment, causing suffering and financial loss to individuals, companies and society at large’.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that over one million working days per year are lost from slips, trips, and falls, with numerous major injuries to employees and significant costs to employers. Therefore, it’s critical to remove any potential hazards which can lead to accidents related to fitted flooring. This makes it vital to fit robust transition profiles, to minimise the risk of hazards developing.

There are two building regulations that cover flooring transitions. The first is Part K: Protection from falling, collision and impact. The second is Part M: Access to and use of buildings. This outlines provisions for entrances and general access, which includes the gradient of ramped access.

BS 8300-2:2018 is also important, as it regards the design of an accessible and inclusive built environment. Building regulations and British Standards state the need for flooring to be safe for all users, and unnecessary ramps and hazards should be avoided.

Key considerations
The following are the key considerations which you should be aware of when selecting an LVT transition strip:

  • Heights:
    What are the heights or thicknesses of the two floorcoverings you are going to transition? Often, LVT-to-LVT transitions will be the same height on each side, joining the flooring as a door bar or just to link different areas or LVT styles. If there’s a difference in heights, such as LVT to carpet or carpet tile, a gently ramped profile will need to be utilised.
  • Traffic:
    How many people are accessing the area where the transition will be fitted? The more people who walk over the transition daily, the more robust the transition will need to be. Similarly, will there be heavy items such as trolleys running over the transition? If this is the case, it’s important to select a product that can deal with the weight and repeated impact without failing.
  • Environment:
    There are two key points here. Firstly, is the area at risk of being wet or is it continually dry? If the area has a risk of being wet, does the transition you’re fitting have a visible surface? If so, you should use an LVT transition which can offer slip-resistant properties when wet, with a Pendulum Test Value (PTV) above 36. Secondly, as with the traffic issue above, what will the volume of people be, and what are the demographics of those people likely to be? For instance, in hospitals or other healthcare environments, a more slip resistant LVT transition may be needed than for other projects. This is because there may not be a high level of footfall, but also the likelihood of vulnerable people who could be more susceptible to slips, trips, and falls.
  • Colours:
    Within schools, bright and bold transition colours are often used to make a learning environment more exciting. However, for projects such as hospitals or care homes, dementia friendly LVT transitions may be necessary. In these instances, the colour of the transition should match that of the floorcoverings as closely as possible.

    The difference in colours between the transition and the floorcovering on each side shouldn’t exceed 10deg of Light Reflectance Value (LRV). It’s also important that shiny metals or patterned transitions should not be used, as they can cause confusion. Dementia friendly transitions therefore tend to be made of materials such as uPVC, allowing the transition to have a similar LRV to the floorcoverings in healthcare environments.
    01616 274 222
    Tim Hayes is marketing and specification manager at Quantum Profile Systems
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