The American Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990, and prohibits discrimination based on disability. Since the ADA defines visual impairment as a disability, businesses are legally required to install signage that can be easily located and read (visually or through braille/tactile touch) by individuals with visual or other sensory disabilities. Below, we highlight what your business needs to know about ADA compliance signs.
What Signs Must be ADA Compliant?
Per section 216.2 of the ADA, all interior spaces or rooms where a sign is not likely to change over the course of time must be ADA compliant with respect to labels, names or designations. In addition, ADA compliant signs must be installed next to each door inside a stairwell and elevator, and they should identify both the floor level and exit level.
What Signs are Exempt from ADA Compliance?
Building addresses, building directories, advertising signs, business logos, business names, parking signs, and temporary signs (those in use for 7 days or less) do not need to be ADA compliant. Also, rooms that do not serve a permanent function do not need to have ADA compliant signs.
What are the Key Design Requirements for ADA Compliant Signs?
The key design requirements for ADA compliant signs are as follows
- All applicable signs must include lower case braille letters, which also must be domed and rounded.
- All applicable signs must include uppercase tactile letters.
- All applicable signs must feature high-contrasting colors to enhance readability.
- All applicable signs must use sans serif fonts.
- All applicable signs must include spacing of 1/8” between adjoining characters.
- All applicable door signs must be installed next to the door they pertain to.
- All applicable permanent signs must be mounted between 48” and 60” off the ground.
- All applicable signs must have non-glare backgrounds and characters (the exceptions are traffic signs and reflective parking signs).
- All applicable signs must display four universal accessibility symbols: a wheelchair (indicating mobility); an ear (indicating that an assistive listening device is available); a keyboard (indicating that a text telephone is available); a phone with sound waves (indicating that volume control is available).
Who Enforces ADA Compliance?
ADA compliance is enforced by the Department of Justice, and enforcement activity is carried out by local code inspectors. The penalties for non-compliance are severe and be as high as $50,000 for a first offense. It can also lead to costly and lasting reputation damage.
How to Get ADA Compliant Signs
At the Landmark Sign Company, we fully understand the detailed requirements for different ADA signs (indoor and outdoor), and will ensure that your business is both complying with the law, as well as properly serving and informing your visually impaired customers, employees and other visitors. Contact us today for your free consultation.