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Tactile Standards

Australian Standards and Building Codes - Tactile Ground Surface Indicators

There are two main publications covering the application of Tactile Indicators in Australia:

AS/NZS 1428.4.1:2009 – Design for Access and Mobility – Part 4.1: Means to assist the orientation of people with vision impairment – Tactile Ground Surface Indicators.



  • This Standard is available here. There are several formats available from $248 for a hard copy to $424 for a networkable copy and paste PDF.
  • A Public Consultation Draft Copy, which is essentially the same as the final publication is available for free here.
  • This Standard is the more comprehensive of the two publications and defines the shape, size and luminance contrast of Warning and Directional Tactile Indicators, as well as where and how they are required to be laid out.
  • The basic principles of the Standard are outlined below.

Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) – National Construction Code.

  • The Code can be downloaded for free as a complete series or in separate volumes here.
  • Volume 1 is relevant to the requirements for Tactile Indicators and, in particular, the following section:

Access and Egress - Part D3: Access for People with a Disability.

  • The Code contains fairly basic information about Tactile Indicators but does stipulate where they are required to be installed.
  • The relevant excerpts are listed below.

comprehensive information is available from the following on-line resources:

Australian Government - Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002

Australian Government Logo

  • The legislation can be viewed and downloaded here.
  • Part 18 relates to Tactile Ground Surface Indicators.

Australian Human Rights Commission


IMPORTANT: the following information is based on TacPro’s 25-year experience in working with tactile ground surface indicators, consultation with various stakeholders and the practical application of the national standards and building codes relating to them.

We cannot, however, be responsible for your interpretation of our material. It’s also worth noting that building and civil infrastructure inspectors / certifiers can interpret the standards and codes differently; even staff from the same office can have differing views.

If there is any doubt about the requirement for, or application of tactile indicators on your project, we advise seeking clarification from your inspector / certifier (in writing) as early as possible. This can save a great deal of time and grief at the end of your project (tactile indicators are a finishing trade) and can, in the worst case, delay the issuing of critical certifications allowing the facility to be used.


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The Basic Principles of AS/NZS 1428.4.1:2009 - Design for Access and Mobility


Size & Shape Requirements:

  • Warning / Hazard Tactile Indicators incorporate a grid pattern of studs at 50mm-centres. They are raised, truncated cones with a base diameter of 35mm, no higher than 5mm, and a top diameter of 25mm.
  • Directional / Leading Tactile Indicators incorporate rows of parallel bars with rounded ends spaced 50mm apart, end to end, and at 75mm centres side by side. They also have a chamfered side with a base of 35mm by approx. 285mm long and 5mm high.

Colour Requirements:

  • Tactile Indicators must have a luminance contrast to the surrounding ground surface, i.e., light grey tactile indicators installed to light grey concrete will not achieve a luminance contrast.
  • 30% minimum luminance contrast to the surrounding ground surface is required where the Tactile Indicator is in the form of a precast concrete paver or tile or mat with a uniform colour (defined as being ‘integrated’).
  • 45% minimum luminance contrast to the surrounding ground surface is required where the Tactile Indicator is an individually drilled and fixed stud or bar (defined as ‘discreet’).
  • 60% minimum luminance contrast to the surrounding ground surface is required where the individually drilled and fixed Tactiles have a different colour top than the side - the 25mm diameter top must exhibit the minimum 60% luminance contrast.

TacPro Note: Luminance meters are available to check contrast levels but common sense often prevails with a simple rule of thumb – light colours on dark ground surfaces, and vice versa. Issues only arise when building owners and architects consider aesthetics over public safety and attempt to blend the tactiels into the surrounding ground surface. Whilst not mandatory, Safety Yellow has been proven to provide the most effective contrast on almost any surface.

Detailed information on Colour Requirements and a usefull Luminance Contrast Calculator can be found on the next page of this Resources section - Tactile Colour Contrast (Click Here)

Diagram Showing Tactile Indicator Standards for Buildings

Location Requirements:

  • Warning / Hazard Tactile Indicators are required at both the top and bottom of stairways, ramps, escalators and moving walks. There are some exceptions in the National Construction Code, i.e., residential aged care facilities.
  • They are required to indicate a hazard, obstacle or public service point in an open circulation space. This includes public telephones, help points or ticket offices, tripping or contact hazards or a pedestrian / vehicle shared space where both surfaces are the same grade and separation is required for safety.
  • They are used to indicate safe road crossing points, i.e., pedestrian crossings and warn of potentially hazardous driveways such as shopping centre car park entry and exit points.
  • They are also used for public transport to indicate embarkation points at bus and tram stops and warn of significant hazards at train stations and ferry terminals where a fall from the platform or wharf edge could be fatal.
  • Additionally, a wall or part thereof that projects into the path of travel or any overhead structure less than 2m high such as the underside of a flight of stairs or escalator that has not been isolated by a compliant, detectable barrier.
  • Directional / Leading Tactile Indicators are installed to give directional orientation in open spaces in the absence of other directional tactiles cues, for instance, a building line wall, fence, curb or handrail.
  • There are two main functions of these indicators – one is to ‘lead’ the pedestrian along an accessible path of travel to a sevice point such as a telephone, help point or ticket office. The other is to intersect the accessible path of travel to give direction to points of reference not on the path such as mid-block pedestrian crossings, public transport access points or entry points to significant public buildings.

Standards Compliant Diagram of Warning Tactile Indicators in Urban Environment

Layout Requirements:

  • Warning / Hazard Tactile Indicators – Set-Back. In most cases, the required set-back distance from an obstacle / hazard is 300mm +/- 10mm. This distance is measured from:
  • The top and bottom riser on a flight of stairs.
  • The change in gradient on a ramp.
  • The end of the moving handrail on an escalator or travellator.
  • The curb face at a pedestrian crossing or pram ramp.

The exception to the 300mm set-back requirement is at train stations and passenger ferry terminals. Due to the extreme danger of falling off the platform of wharf edge, the minimum set-back increases to 600mm.

TacPro Note: There may be some cases where it is impractical or impossible to install certain types of tactiles exactly within the 300mm +/- 10mm set-back requirement, especially the individual drill in type. Expansion joints or steel plates at the tops and bottoms of internal stairs sometimes coincide with the set-back requirement. We have often found that if the building inspector is presented with a reasonable explanation, they will not fail the installation.

  • Directional / Leading Tactile Indicators. The minimum set-back requirement for Directional Tactiles is also 300mm from any hazard / obstacle.
  • The intent is to ‘lead’ pedestrians safely from point A to B, free of obstacles / hazards.

Standards Compliant Diagram Showing Where Warning Tactile Indicators are Required

Coverage Requirements:

  • Warning / Hazard Tactile Indicators are generally required to cover the full width of the path of travel, i.e., the full width of a pedestrian crossing or handrail to handrail on a flight of stairs, ramp or escalator.
  • On stairs and ramps, the front to back measurement (depth) of a warning tactile area depends on the amount of clear travel immediately before or after the stair or ramp.
  • If the approach or landing is 3m or greater, the minimum depth of tactile indicators is 600mm.
  • If the approach or landing is less than 3m, the minimum depth of tactile indicators is 300mm.
  • If a landing is less than 3m and there is a continuous handrail on both sides, no tactile indicators are required.
  • In a streetscape environment, the minimum depth of tactile indicators is 600mm. A greater depth should be considered at particularly busy roads to give more warning of the up-coming hazard.
  • Directional / Leading Tactile Indicators. Where directional tactile indicators are used to ‘lead’ a pedestrian along a path of travel, the width is required to be 300mm (4 bars).
  • Where Directional Tactiles are used to intersect the path of travel and direct pedestrians to an adjacent point of interest such as a mid-block pedestrian crossing, the width is required to be 600mm (8 bars). The reason for this is that a directional tactile indicator strip less than 600mm could be easily over-stepped and the point of interest missed by the pedestrian.
  • Where tactile indicators are used to ‘lead’ the pedestrian along a path of travel and there is a change in direction, a 600 x 600mm Warning Tactile grid is required to indicate the change.

TacPro Note: In reality, a warning tactile grid to denote a change in direction would normally only be required if the direction change was 45° or greater. Denoting smaller changes can result in a messy and confusing layout.

Standards Compliant Diagram Showing How Directional Tactile Indicators Should be Installed

For any queries or advice you are welcome to use our live chat service on this website, send us an email or give us a call on Freephone 1300 822 776.



NCC 2016, Complete Series

“The series is a uniform set of technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings and other structures throughout Australia.”

Volume 1 is relevant to the requirements for Tactile Indicators and in particular the following excerpt:


D3.8 Tactile indicators

(a)   For a building required to be accessible, tactile ground surface indicators must be provided to warn people who are blind or have a vision impairment that they are approaching —

      (i)    a stairway, other than a fire-isolated stairway; and

      (ii)   an escalator; and

      (iii)   a passenger conveyor or moving walk; and

      (iv)   a ramp other than a fire-isolated ramp, step ramp, kerb ramp or swimming pool ramp; and

      (v)    in the absence of a suitable barrier –

(A) an overhead obstruction less than 2 m above floor level, other than a doorway; and

(B) an accessway meeting a vehicular way adjacent to any pedestrian entrance to a building, excluding a pedestrian entrance serving an area referred to in D3.4, if there is no kerb or kerb ramp at that point, except for areas exempted by D3.4.

(b)   Tactile ground surface indicators required by (a) must comply with sections 1 and 2 of AS/NZS 1428.4.1.

(c)   A hostel for the aged, nursing home for the aged, a residential aged care building Class 3 accommodation for the aged, Class 9a health-care building or a Class 9c building need not comply with (a) (i) and (iv) if handrails incorporating a raised dome button in accordance with the requirements for stairway handrails in AS 1428.1 are provided to warn people who are blind or have a vision impairment that they are approaching a stairway or ramp.

Note that TGSI's are not required on enclosed landings between flights of stairs where no other entrance/exit leads onto/off the landing.

The specifications for TGSIs are contained in sections 1 and 2 of AS 1428.4.1.

D3.4 Exemptions

The following areas are not required to be accessible:

(a) An area where access would be inappropriate because of the particular purpose for which the area is used.

(b) An area that would pose a health or safety risk for people with a disability.

(c) Any path of travel providing access only to an area exempted by (a) or (b).

The complete series and individual volumes can be downloaded here from the NCC website (free registration required).

For any queries or advice you are welcome to use our live chat service on this website, send us an email or give us a call.

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