Luminance Contrast of Doorways: Do you See it? You Should

Old red door in a white washed brick wall

Doors need to be visible for two main reasons:

  1. So we can find them; and
  2. So we can safely move through them.

The Building Code of Australia (part of the National Construction Code) and the Premises Standards (under the DDA), both require compliance of doors under the general provisions of Table D3.1 (i.e. “to and within all areas”) and at entrances under Clause D3.2.

AS 1428.1 (2009) outlines two specific requirements for luminance contrast of doors. Luminance contrast is defined as “the light reflected from one surface or component, compared to the light reflected from another surface or component.”

Fully glazed doors need a visual indicator glazing band across the door so it is more visible to people, particularly those with some level of vision loss, which is why the band must be solid and 75mm wide as per below:

6.6 Visual indicators on glazing

Where there is no chair rail, handrail or transom, all frameless or fully glazed doors, sidelights, including any glazing capable of being mistaken for a doorway or opening, shall be clearly marked for their full width with a solid and non-transparent contrasting line.

The contrasting line shall be not less than 75 mm wide and shall extend across the full width of the glazing panel. The lower edge of the contrasting line shall be located between 900 mm and 1000 mm above the plane of the finished floor level.

Any contrasting line on the glazing shall provide a minimum of 30% luminance contrast when viewed against the floor surface or surfaces within 2 m of the glazing on the opposite side.

Also, there must be a 50mm band around each door, as per below (noting, that only one of the listed options is required – not all of them):

13 DOORWAYS, DOORS AND CIRCULATION SPACE AT DOORWAYS
13.1 Luminance contrast

All doorways shall have a minimum luminance contrast of 30% provided between—
(a) door leaf and door jamb;
(b) door leaf and adjacent wall;
(c) architrave and wall;
(d) door leaf and architrave; or
(e) door jamb and adjacent wall.
The minimum width of the area of luminance contrast shall be 50 mm.

Additional areas where a higher luminance contrast of door features would be very beneficial include:

  • Door handles
  • The vertical leading edge of glass doors
  • A lower level visual indicator glazing band for shorter people and children

For more information, Access Central has published a specialised website just for luminance contrast – www.luminancecontrast.net.au