What is Light Reflective Value (LRV) and its importance in washroom design?
In Commercial Washrooms it is recommended that there be sufficient visual contrast between one element or fitting in the washroom against another. For example between the wall and a grab rail, or the wall and floor.
This difference in visual contrast between the two objects makes it easier for users with visual impairments to see. It will enable those with poor vision including the elderly to easily distinguish between the two objects.
Visual contrast is measured by LRV, which is the acronym for 'light reflectance value'. The LRV of an object is a measure of the quantity of visible light at all wavelengths that is reflected from the surface when illuminated by a light.
The recommended difference in LRV values of two surfaces should be greater than 30 points. Where rooms provide adequate illumination measured to greater than 200 lux an LRV value no less than 20 would be acceptable. If further information or clarification is sought please refer to Document M - Part 2 and BS 8300 7.2.5
In practice comparing LRV values to comply with the regulations will prevent installers from fitting fixtures and fittings on to the fabric of the building where the colours are similar. For example, mounting white grab rails on to white walls which would be too difficult to perceive for some users.
In order that specifiers are able to correctly select colours and finishes for washrooms, particularly in disabled accessible toilets and washrooms many manufacturers of washroom equipment provide LRV values for their products. For example in the Polyrey Washroom Collection, you can find the LRV values of each of the colours available in the last column of the table.
Other manufacturers often specify LRV values in their technical documentation, ensuring these values have a minimum difference of at least 30 will ensure compliance with Document M - Part 2 and BS 8300. Which in turn and more importantly will ensure compliance with the Equalities Act.