ADA Signage Requirements
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)was signed into law by George H.W. Bush in 1990. The purpose of ADA is to remove barriers for those with disabilities, as well as, protect employment rights of the disabled and their ability to access goods and services. Disabilities include but are not limited to; emotional, learning, speech, hearing, mobility, and sight disabilities. Signage is particularly important in public facilities. For buildings not meeting the correct requirements a code violation could be enforced at the federal level by the Department of Justice. Examples include signs not meeting the required size or not including Braille. Signs not required to meet ADA standards include, building addresses, directories, parking signs, and temporary signs, those being utilized seven or fewer days.
ADA Signs are required for every permanent space or room in a building to ensure accessibility to the disabled, the elderly, and those with vision impairments or blindness. Tactile signs are required to be placed in stairwells, identifying floor level, stair level, and exit level. Regulations and standards concerning mounting heights, wall mounting location, overhead ADA signs, and projecting ADA signs are outlined below.
Wall mounting and signage height requirements include directional, informational, and permanent room identification signs. Signs are required to be mounted at 48” at the lowest point and 60” at their highest point. Standard regulation ensures all signs are mounted on the same visual plane. 54” is suggested across the board as a consistent reference throughout a building. Tactile text must be 5/8”, contrasting against the background of the sign, in a non glaring, eggshell and/or matte finish. Maximum character height is 2” and must be Sans serif font. Grade two Braille must be used. Should there be no wall to the right or the left of the door, sign mounting placement should be located on the nearest adjacent wall. Elevators are excluded from this rule.
When considering placement location, take care in understanding the type of door, the opening and closure of doors, and the location of the door. Listed below are the types of door and each type of doors signage placement:
- For a single door, requirements state, signs should be mounted to the wall on the latch side of the door.
- For double doors, with two active leaves, signs are to be mounted on the wall to the right of the right handed door.
- For double doors, with one active leaf, the sign should be mounted on the inactive leaf.
- For doors that swing open inward, the sign may be mounted to the door providing the following three criteria are met: The door automatically closes, the sign is mounted on the push side of the door, and the door does not have a hold open device.
- For doors that swing open outward, the sign must be mounted to the wall outside of the arc of the door swing, 18”x18” away from clear door space.
When concerning overhead signs, signage must be 80” above the floor and must not interfere with any emergency equipment nor the function of the door itself. A 2” minimum character, contrasting against the background of the sign, such as an eggshell or matte finish and non glare reflective is required. Braille is not required on this particular signage. Projecting signs however, must be at a minimum, 27” off the floor with a maximum of 4” protruding into a pathway. Overhead and projected signs include both directional and informational signage categories.
If a consumer or patron feels that their rights have been violated by the ADA, the Department of Justice may implement a fine up to $55,000 for a first offense.