Gradus Urges Specifiers to Request LRV Test Reports

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27 March 2007

Contract interiors specialist Gradus is urging architects, designers and contractors to request LRV (light reflectance value) test reports when specifying colour schemes, to reduce the risk of creating insufficient visual contrast and failing to deliver inclusive environments.

LRVs indicate the amount of light reflected by a colour and The Building Regulations state that 30 points difference between the LRVs of adjacent surfaces is necessary to provide sufficient visual contrast that will aid building navigation for visually impaired people.

A new British Standard for the measurement of LRVs, BS8493, was published in November 2008 and introduced a requirement for manufacturers to provide LRV test reports for individual colours within all product ranges, based on the new method.

Says Gradus Technical Director Keith Oakes: “By requesting LRV test reports, specifiers can gain peace of mind that their chosen colour scheme will provide adequate visual contrast. The reports provide proof that colours have been measured using the new approved method, which means specifiers can be confident that they are comparing ‘like with like’. For example, if a floorcovering carrying an LRV measured using the former method is compared with a stair edging carrying an LRV measured using the new method, then the necessary 30 points difference may not be achieved, which has serious implications for building navigation, safety and accessibility.

“It is impossible to judge a colour’s LRV with the naked eye, as it is a scientific measure that was developed to overcome the subjectivity of colour perception. By using LRV test reports, specifiers can reduce the risk of delivering insufficient contrast and failing to meet their duties under the Disability Discrimination Act to create inclusive environments.

“Specifiers can protect themselves by requesting these reports and all manufacturers should now be able to provide them.”

BS8493 adopted the ‘CIE Y’ value as the standard for the measurement of LRVs. Gradus offers a range of resources to help designers, architects and contractors specify products in line with BS8493:2008, including a comprehensive design guide, LRV test reports and specification advice sheets, detailing suggested combinations of Gradus carpets and stair edgings.

To request a copy of the LRV resources including test reports or for further advice, contact Gradus Customer Support on 01625 428922. More information can also be found at

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