Keep your glazing visible with custom or off-the-shelf visibility strips for glass
Does your business have full height floor-to-ceiling clear windows or glass doors?
To keep them safe and compliant, you'll need to have visibility strips applied to them so they're more easily seen by the public. These strips are bars of vinyl that contrast with the floor colour by at least 30% to help to distinguish the glazing and make sure no one accidentally walks into the glass.
There's a few requirements that you'll need to follow in order to ensure your visibility strips are compliant, but apart from these small things you have a bit of creative license so that they fit with your branding and the architecture of your building. A well designed visibility strip can really contribute to the look of your building, and doesn't just need to be tacked on for compliance purposes.
These requirements differ based on what Standard your building needs to comply with, so it's important that you're aware of this before you begin working on a design brief for your decals. Things like the installation height of visibility strips, and even the level of visual contrast are determined by this Standard and they can have a huge impact on how your strip looks.
The things that you'll want to consider for your visibility strip include:
Visibility Strip Size
A visibility strip will need to be at least 75mm high, and must extend to the full width of your glazed window or door.
Most strips are made to one of the following sizes:
Of course, these are just the most commonly seen sizes and don't necessarily need to be the exact size you choose. Just remember that if you're using a plain bar for your visibility strip without any custom designs or decorations, these are the most common 'off the shelf' sizes.
Visibility Strip Colour
There's some variance on the colour and transparency of your visibility strip depending on the type of building you're in. The restrictions here in order to meet accessibility standards mean that some buildings are allowed to have frosted visibility strips, and some will need to be of a solid colour.
Your strip will also need to be in contrast with the colours that are visible behind the glazing to ensure that people can actually distinguish your visibility strip. The legal definition here is 30% luminance contrast, and the AS1428.1 standard can help you determine if your desired colour meets this requirement.
Within this definition, the acceptable colours can include:
A solid bar of a coloured vinyl in a contrasting colour to the floor / background
A full colour print to white or frosted print media (such as your corporate branding)
And in some cases a solid bar of frosted vinyl, though this will not meet design for accessibility guidelines
You may not use a strip of clear vinyl, or a print to clear vinyl, unless your print is edge-to-edge and includes a full coverage dense white ink so the colours don't wash out. These simply don't stand out enough to help distinguish the glazing.
Visibility Strip Design
Your visibility strip can be designed to match the rest of your corporate branding or signage style guide, but there are some rules you'll have to be aware of on top of the size and colour restrictions.
You can have your design cut out from the bar itself (your logo, or text as an example) and this is a pretty popular way to create a visibility strip. However, the bar itself still needs to be a solid bar - you can't just have a long row of dots, or logos, or lines.
Visibility Strip Installation Height
There are two differing standards that outline the installation height of your visibility strip. AS1288 Glass in Buildings - Selection and Installation and AS1428.1 Design for Access and Mobility.
AS1288-2006 only requires that the visibility strip be installed between 700mm and 1200mm from floor level.
AS1428.1-2009 requires that the bottom of the visibility strip is between 900mm and 1000mm from floor level.