(PRWEB) December 2, 2004
Nationwide, city by city, engineers and architects have been trying hard to figure out the best way to install detectable warnings, a new federal mandate for pedestrian ramps and access points on city streets and sidewalks benefiting blind and visually impaired.
Some have used bricks which after one Winter most Northern cities have deemed ineffective due to their inability to withstand the weather constraints, salts and other abrasive chemicals or normal abuse.
Still others have tried inlaying preformed concrete or injection molded plastic 2 x 2 squares into a recessed quadrant in the sidewalk/ramp, but the equipment to lift such heavy panels and the fact they could only form right angles made for expensive work.
Typically product failure was being caused by water getting underneath causing Âfreeze/thaw heaveÂ and with the feds requiring a Âvisual contrastÂ of 70% to the surrounding surface municipalities were quickly seeing these products simply werenÂt up to the task. Like anything else in new product testing and research, trial and error proved one poignant fact: some products worked, others didnÂt.
But what to do with these big gaping holes in sidewalks nationwide once discovering products such as the above werenÂt effective and now engineers everywhere had to fix them? Clearly putting back the products that already failed wasnÂt a valid option. Filling them with new concrete only insured a new place for water to enter the slab creating even more freeze/thaw damage down the road.
Enter Vanguard ADA Systems, long a leader in the field of non skid detectable warnings nationwide with a research team that apparently doesnÂt seem to like the phrase Âit canÂt be doneÂ. After some lengthy trials, they came up with a new product line, effectively an extension of their existing one. They call it ÂFailSafe."
ÂWe named it ÂFailSafeÂÂ says owner Jon Julnes Âbecause I figured these people already had enough problems the first go around, and since we knew our solution was actually stronger than the concrete weÂd be attaching to, it was a pretty easy callÂ.
I asked him how big of a problem this really was and he told me Âcities all across the country have their own aesthetic requirements, or someone else in another city they knew said ÂweÂre going to use such and such productÂ so thatÂs what they used as well, and itÂs such a brand new industry, no one really had any data to prove what worked and what didnÂt. WeÂd had a detectable warning system out there for a long time, the only one that was non skid too, but some people really liked the tiles or the Âwet setÂ or bricks, but never took into account what theyÂd have to do to fix them when they came loose, or wore down, which owners are just now discovering they do a lot faster than anyone expected. We started to get a lot of calls from clients basically saying Âwe used some other product and now we have this huge recess we need to fill in with new domes. ItÂs a trip hazard. ItÂs too late to use your product, can you recommend anything?Â
After a few dozen calls like that, Julnes, who originally invented The Vanguard System of detectable warnings due to frustration at installing other peoples products that simply didnÂt work, realized he was watching money go right out the transom, and got his thinking cap on. ÂI figured, if IÂm getting this many calls, there has to be thousands of others nationwide experiencing similar problemsÂ Julnes opined.
The result was Vanguards new ÂFailSafeÂ system. Since filling the void left by these other products with still more concrete would only insure wicking and new freeze/thaw problems, Julnes determined the solution had to insure that there was no way this new substructure would ever fail, at a cost less than what people were already paying to replace the entire substructure. All this while providing at minimum, a pedestrian surface that, like all of Vanguards other systems, would be at least as non skid as the surrounding concrete or asphalt.
Basically, after some initial prep, Vanguard installers fill the void with their proprietary liquid plastic ÂFailSafeÂ materials, allow to cure for a short period, then cover with a similar but thinner liquid plastic material to create the permanent non skid effect, then add Vanguards standard detectable warning product right on top, that according to Mr. Julnes Âlasts 15 Â 20+ years."
The folks at Vanguard state this repair will last at least as long as any Vanguard installation and probably longer, but one thingÂs for sure says Julnes, Âwe can repair these ramps for about half what theyÂve been paying, and they wonÂt have any more problems with their detectable warning surfaces ever again."
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