Activity Feed Forums Sign Making Discussions General Sign Topics ADA and Other Codes my help or not?

  • ADA and Other Codes my help or not?

    Posted by Deleted User on June 28, 2002 at 10:30 pm

    ADA and Other Codes

    Signage in public areas of all buildings is subject compliance with federal, state and local code requirements, requiring the use of certain symbols, messages and graphic standards (Fig. 1).

    To provide adequate signing for all users, including persons with disabilities, the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), first published in the Federal Register on July 26, 1991 describes specific requirements for the use of typestyles, minimum type sizes, message contrast, symbols, Braille characters, tactile messages, sign background gloss and sign placement. A summation of the ADA as it applies to signage can be found in the Society for Environmental Graphic Design “White Paper”, available through the SEGD, 401 F Street N. W., Suite 333, Washington, D.C. 20001. An Overview of the ADA Law is provided below.

    State and local sign codes vary considerably, such as symbol signs for toilet room doors required in California (Fig. 2).

    The accessibility requirements for informational signs, such as, building directories can seem confusing. Since the ADA does not specifically address informational signs, many people think that they are exempt from the regulations. This is not the case.

    This type of sign must comply with the general requirements for sign finish, contrast and character proportion under the signage section of the ADA. Informational signs do not require Braille or tactile characters and symbols, but other signage requirements do apply:

    Building Directories mounted behind glass must use non-glare glass.

    Character proportions must meet the proper width to height ratio.

    Characters and backgrounds of signs must be of an eggshell, matte or other non-glare finish.

    Characters and symbols must contrast with their background (light background with dark letters or dark background with light letters).

    Directories can be installed either as a projecting unit or integrated into a wall surface. Projecting units, however, must provide a skirt or “cane strike” to meet ADA requirements (Fig. 3).

    Meeting these requirements will make informational signage easier to read for everyone.
    (FIGURE 1.0)

    (Figure 2.0)


    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) went into effect on January 26, 1992. The law requires these establishments to remove architectural and communication barriers where “readily achievable”. This means established business must make a good faith effort to accomodate the disabled, which includes the installation of ADA tactile and braille signage for the benefit of the visually impaired.

    The ADA is an extension of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, with similar enforcement provisions, which are as follows:
    A. Any person may file a federal lawsuit, either for individual discrimination or as a class action.
    B. Any person may request the Department of Justice to investigate and act upon an ADA discrimination claim.
    C. The attorney General may also file a civil action suit in cases of general public importance.

    The courts can:
    A. Order a facility made ADA accessible.
    B. Award monetary damages of up to $50,000 for the first ADA violation and $100,000 for each subsequent violation.

    Tax deductions of up to $15,000 for expenses incurred in the removal of architectural barriers are allowed by the IRS.


    Existing Facilities–Existing facilities defined as public accommodations must take steps to remove “architectural and communications barriers” by January 26, 1992, where such removal is “readily achievable” or easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense”.

    Alterations–Alterations to existing facilities defined as public accomodations or commercial facilities must generally be “readily accessible to and usable by the disabled, to the maximum extent feasible” if the alterations is begun after January 26, 1992. When ADA alterations are made to a “primary function area” an accessible path of travel” to the altered area, and the restrooms area, telephones and drinking fountains must be made. The additional accessibility costs need not be “disproportionate” relative to the overall alteration.

    New Construction–New construction of public accomodations or commercial facilities must be “readily accessible and usable by “the disabled if the ADA facility is first occupied after January 26, 1993, assuming the last official permits were issued after January 26, 1992.

    1. Lodging
    2. Food/drink service
    4. Public gathering
    5. Sales/rentals
    6. Service
    7. Transportation station
    8. Public display/collection
    9. Recreation
    10. Education
    11. Social service
    12. Exercise/recreation

    Commercial Facility–An ADA facility whose operations will affect commerce, that are intended for non-residential use by a private entity, and facilities that are not either covered or expressly exempted from coverage under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, or ADA act of 1992, and cannot be aircraft or railroad cars.

    Exemption–Any private club, religious entity, or government entity.


    Existing Facilities— Existing facilities defined as public accommodations must take steps to remove “architectural and communications barriers” by January 26, 1992, where such removal is “readily achievable” or “easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense”. priority should be given to ADA measures that will enable individuals with disabilities to “get in the front door”, followed by measures providing ADA access to goods and services and providing access to restroom facilities. If physical barrier removal is not “readily achievable”, the facility may be required to take appropriate alternative ADA measures, such as having store employees assist in removing articles from high shelves.

    Alterations— alterations to existing facilities defined as public accommodations or commercial facilities must be “readily accessible to and usable by the disabled, to the maximum extent feasible” if the ADA alteration is begun after January 26, 1992. When alterations are made to a “primary functions area,” an accessible path of travel” to the altered area, and the restrooms, telephones and drinking fountains must be made. The additional ADA accessibility costs need not be “disproportionate” relative to the overall alteration.

    New Construction— New construction of public accommodations or commercial facilities must be “readily accessible and usable by” the disabled if the facility is first occupied after January 26, 1993, assuming the last official permits were issued after January 26, 1992. The standard of ADA compliance is highest for new construction and is not limited by “disproportionate cost” or “readily achievable” regulations.


    Applicable law sections are 4.30.1 through 4.30.8.

    ADA classifications:
    Permanent Signs
    Signs which designate permanent rooms and spaces. Regulations require that ADA signage have raised lettering, braille and pictograms as well as being mounted in a specific location. Recommended sign types:
    Room Identification
    Departmental I.D.

    Directional and Informational Signs
    Signs which provide direction to, or information about functional spaces of a building. Regulations require signs to comply with character proportion, height, finish and contrast rules. Lowercase is acceptable and braille is not required.

    Overhead Signage
    Signs which are “Projected or suspended overhead” must meet ADA requirements for clearance, character proportion, finish and contrast.

    Temporary Signage
    “Building directories, menu boards and all other signs which provide temporary information about rooms and spaces, such as the current occupant’s name, are not required to comply” with the ADA guidelines.


    Minimum requirements:
    Tactile Characters
    Raised 1/32″
    Accompanied by Grade 2 braille

    Upper case & sans serif
    Width-to-height ratio between 3:5 and 1:1
    Stroke width-to-height ratio between 1:5 and 1:10

    Character height
    Tactile ADA characters at least 5/8″ high, but no higher than 2″
    Minimum 3″ high
    Sized to viewing distance

    Text equivalent directly below
    Text outside of background area
    Background area 6″ high

    Finish/Contrast of Characters/Background:
    Eggshell, or matte non-glare finish 70% contrast between backgrounds

    On wall next to latch side of door
    Avoids swinging doors
    Avoids protruding objects
    60″ from floor to sign centerline
    Minimum 80″ clearance from floor

    you can find more inofo like this and other stuff to help you kats at
    oreo or A.B.A. Signs & Designs is not promoting or affilated with sign biz in any way shape or form we are just shareing helphul info

    Paul Davenport replied 21 years, 11 months ago 6 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • Phill Fenton

    June 29, 2002 at 9:57 am

    What’s wrong with the guys right leg in the picture?

    Is it a wooden leg maybe, or perhaps he’s got one trouser leg rolled up as a signal to tell us he’s a “brother” 😆 😆 😆

    I’m not even going to think about what his right hand is doing in his pocket 😆

  • Martin Pearson

    June 29, 2002 at 7:58 pm

    Oreo as with most things we are miles behind the States, we have an act called the Disability Discrimination Act, for signage it is based around your ADA. Unfortunatly hot much is being done at the moment as far as signage is concerned as it will hot be enforced untill 2004.

  • Martin Pearson

    June 29, 2002 at 7:59 pm

    Phill never saw your post to start with, watch what you are saying about peoples legs mate, your on dangerous ground!!

  • Phill Fenton

    June 30, 2002 at 10:20 am

    Sorry Martin – it was not my intention to try and poke fun at disabled people. I was merely poking fun at the picture itself. If it came across as offensive let me know and I will delete the post. 😳

  • Paul Davenport

    June 30, 2002 at 9:12 pm

    It would be nice if we had some proper guide lines here in the UK, although we have the BSGA, reading through their manuals i find them, seriously out dated, and somewhat (sometimes) over technical on differing items, we are in an industry where common sense should prevail but is largely ruined by a chap with a PC and some sticky back plastic thats been making signs for 2 month.

    Its all to easy to throw somet up on the comp and think it looks fine !!!!

  • Martin Pearson

    June 30, 2002 at 9:36 pm

    No need to appologise Phill, I had a good laugh at your post, just couldn’t resist the temptation to wind you up a bit!!

  • Mike Brown

    June 30, 2002 at 10:08 pm

    Sorry to have to say this Paul, but, I find your last post offensive. As a moderator here I would expect you to have a more enlightened opinion regarding all aspects of signmaking – including cut vinyl – and respect for those who are new to the trade. Furthermore I count several women sign makers here and wouldn’t presume for a moment that everyone new to the trade with a computer was a ‘guy’!

    I, for one, had no formal training whatsoever and indeed started out with no more than a “…PC and some sticky back plastic…” (as you put it!). Yet you suggest that I and others like me are in some way responsible for problems within the trade. Problems, I might add, that are no different today than they used to be. Historically every painter and decorators’ apprenticeship included some tuition in signwriting, and they too would then offer all manner of signwork on the strength of just a few weeks training…

    It maybe that you didn’t mean it in quite that way – but I found it unpalatable and I’m sure a great many others will too…


  • eddie cotter

    June 30, 2002 at 10:23 pm

    i am one of the guys, with a pc & some sticky lettering just starting out, 😀

  • Deleted User

    Deleted User
    June 30, 2002 at 10:38 pm

    I also agree With you Mike i’ve been doing this for over 16 yrs. i started hand painting signs at the age of 14yrs. and i did that until i was 19 where i started to learn about (The Stick Plastic) and i learn on my own i had no one to help me out the guys i work for had no knowlage of the sign business they started because some guy came in and sold them all the equipment and said type this, move it here, cut it, an there heres a sign so i learned every aspect of that system and i tryed to take it to the extream and to this day i do the same i tell the guys that work for me here some old school tricks and so on and so fourth but if it was’nt for us veterans in the field our future sign Guys/Gals well never get over the stumbling blocks we’ve over come and our trade would die

    A.B.A. Signs & Designs

  • Paul Davenport

    June 30, 2002 at 11:19 pm

    OOPS…..youve all got me wrong, please dont thrash me BUT how many times do you see things which just shouldent be up on the wall !!!

    Im not knocking vinyl either, its part of the trade, part of the whole circle
    just like plastics, neons, metals etc
    Maybe these people who sling things up on the wall need one thing….TRAINING or some decent guidelines to follow, i for one will give my time to whoever, experianced or not to help out and in the 16 years or so i have been involved with signs UKSG has been the only place available for people to find stuff out.

    And its not just new to the industry people, i know of companys who turn out rubbish year after year after year

    Im all for people having a go but neither do i want to see the trade get like the building trade, or the garage trade, which are full of cowboys.

    I hope this site will help many a signmaker, both experianced and inexperianced but at the end of the day theres no excuse for putting up bad work just like no one would accept a badly built engine or a half cooked bag of chips

  • Mike Brown

    July 1, 2002 at 1:15 am

    Well at least you’ve stopped calling it ‘sticky back plastic’…that’s a start eh! 😉

    P.S. You’re right in that the UKSG is indeed a wonderful site, however, contrary to your observation about it being the only such site, Rob and I, not to mention Grahame Belton, Phill Fenton, Adrian at Signrite and many others have worked together before. We have both run and actively contributed to other similar sites that were, in recent years, just as popular and well known throughout the trade as this one. Though the UKSG, with its core membership of independent signmakers and unique buying group advantages, is without doubt, the finest yet…

  • Paul Davenport

    July 1, 2002 at 11:39 am

    i love you all, each and every one !!!!!!

Log in to reply.