Last edited 12 Jan 2021

Visual contrast

The building regulations, set out legal requirements for specific aspects of building design and construction. A series of approved documents provide general guidance about how different aspects of building design and construction can comply with the building regulations.

Approved document M provides guidance for satisfying Part M of the building regulations: Access to and use of buildings, which requires the inclusive provision of ease of access to, and circulation within, buildings, together with requirements for facilities for people with disabilities.

Approved document M, Volume 2: Buildings other than dwellings, suggests that the phrase ‘contrast visually’ when used to indicate the visual perception of one element of a building against another means:

‘…the difference in light reflectance value between the two surfaces is greater than 30 points. Where illuminance on surfaces is greater than 200 lux, a difference in light reflectance value should be a minimum of 20 points. Where door opening furniture projects beyond the face of the door or otherwise creates enhanced differentiation and shade, a minimum difference in light reflectance value of 15 points is considered adequate. For further information, reference should be made to Colour, contrast and perception – Design guidance for internal built environments – Reading University.’

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