Selecting and inspecting flooring in a new commercial building

19 August 2020

When selecting or inspecting flooring for installation, within a new retail shop, office or other commercial building, it’s important to look at more than just the aesthetic properties of the materials.

There are three main considerations under the National Construction Code (NCC) for selection of flooring materials:

  • NCC Part C1.10 – Fire hazard properties
  • NCC Part D2.10 & D2.14 – Slip Resistance
  • NCC Part D3.3 – Accessibility.

The first consideration when selecting a floor is the fire hazard properties. The NCC provides specific requirements for the Critical Radiant Flux ratings of flooring materials.

It’s important to ensure that the flooring material selected complies with the critical radiant flux requirements for the applicable classification. For example, flooring going into a large shopping centre complex and has a sprinkler system must comply with a critical radiant flux requirement. The requirement cannot be less than 1.2, whereas flooring going into a small office that does not require sprinklers must comply with a critical radiant flux of not less than 2.2.

When selecting flooring, always ask the supplier for the manufacturers test certificate for the products. This certificate should certify the product has been tested in accordance with ISO9239.1 with the CRF values provided which can be compared to those required under Specification C1.10. If the supplier cannot provide a certificate, do not install the product.

Test Report

The second consideration is slip resistance. The flooring on stairs, landings or ramps is required to comply with a minimum slip resistance testing, which is contained within Table D2.14. It is important to ensure the testing of the floor covering meets the minimum dry level (indoors) or wet (outdoors) as appropriate for the application.

Slip-resistance classification

The third consideration when selecting flooring is the disability access requirements, predominantly around carpets, specifically concerning carpet backing and pile heights. The NCC specifically requires for carpet that “the pile height or pile thickness shall not exceed 11 mm and the carpet backing thickness shall not exceed 4 m”. Generally, carpets that comply with the fire hazard properties will meet this requirement.

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