Richard Bowman and Slipbusters
Richard Bowman is a ceramic engineer, who spent 30 years working as a principal research scientist at CSIRO, Australia’s national scientific R&D organisation.
Richard’s interest in the dimensional stability of tiling systems, and the behaviour of ceramic tiles as tiling system components, led him to become heavily involved in the standardisation of ceramic tiles and developing codes of practice for tile fixing. In turn, this soon led to a need for reliably determining the slip resistance characteristics of ceramic tiles. Although this would seem to be a relatively simple task, vested interests and international politics have thwarted the production of an ISO standard for the slip resistance of ceramic tiles for over 20 years.
Richard has chaired the Standards Australia committee on the slip resistance of pedestrian surfaces since 1991. AS/NZS 4586 uses the Pendulum, and the German (oil wet and wet barefoot) ramp tests to classify the wet slip resistance of new pedestrian surface materials. Architects use Standards Australia Handbook 197 (which Richard wrote) when selecting internal and external products for building projects. AS/NZS 4663 uses the Pendulum to measure the wet slip resistance of existing pedestrian surfaces.
The Australian Standards should be revised by mid-2007 to require the use of smooth rubbers (prepared on 3µm lapping film) when testing products that have a smooth surface (Rz less than 20µm). Although this will extend the range of slip resistance results, enabling better identification of the most dangerous products, it will result in lower slip resistance classifications for many marginal products, necessitating a revision of the guidance provided to architects.
Richard has published over 100 papers, many of which relate slip resistance. He hopes to publish more papers relating to the slip resistance research projects that he directed at CSIRO. Some of this work relates to SlipAlert and the correlation between wet Pendulum and wet SlipAlert results. Richard has been an enthusiastic advocate of SlipAlert as it can be readily used by shopping centre managers, hospitals, education departments and many others for routine auditing of maintenance, as well as an initial immediate characterisation of floors should an accident occur.
Since late 2005, Richard has been managing director of Intertile Research Pty Ltd, better known as Slipbusters. While Slipbusters undertake some routine testing, Richard is concerned about the longer term need for sustainable slip resistance. He prefers to be involved in research projects and the specification of products for the more complex and challenging situations. As an expert he inevitably becomes involved in some litigious matters, where his prime concern is to assist the court to understand the relevant issues. He abhors ‘hired guns’, who deliberately choose to mislead and confuse in attempts to frustrate justice.
SlipAlert in Australia