Light Reflective Values - LRV – Stair Nosings & Tread Covers

Light Reflective Value – LRV – measures the amount of visible and usable light which is reflected from a coloured surface when illuminated by a light source. This is measured as a percentage of light a colour reflects.

Legislation (Equality Act 2010) requires that all new and refurbished public buildings and workplaces comply with current regulations via their ‘Access Statement’, ensuring safe entry, exit and safe passage throughout the building. This means regardless of disability, age and gender all individuals will have equal access to a public building.

For visually impaired people, this means amongst other things that there must be a good visual contrast between various elements of the building. Therefore, the contrast between stair nosing and floors must achieve a certain level – measured by Light Reflectance Values (LRV).

Building Regulations and British Standards papers outline guidance for the design of stairs for use in buildings with public or shared use. They are as follows:

  • Building Regulation Document K – Protection from falling
  • Building Regulation Document M – Access to and use of buildings
  • BS8300:2009+A1:2010 – Lighting of stepped access & slip resistance
  • BS 9266:2013 – Design of accessible and adaptable general needs housing

Recommended Light Reflective Value colour of Stair Nosing based on documents BR (K&M), BS8300, BS9266 & BS5395:

  • The colour of the stair nosing is expected to contrast with the surrounding floorcovering.
  • Every colour has an LRV between 0 (Black) and 100 (White). There should be at least 30 points difference between the stair nosing LRV and floorcovering.
  • This creates a “ladder effect” which assists visually impaired individuals when ascending or descending stairs.

Nosing Colour Available


LRV Value

Black (RAL 9004)


Dark Grey (RAL 7043)


Blue (RAL 5002)


Light Grey (RAL 7035)


Carmine Red (RAL 3002)


Yellow (RAL 1003)


White (RAL 9016)


Brown (RAL 8002)



Beige (RAL 1019)


Forest Green (RAL 6011)


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