ADA Room Signage: An Important Part of Ensuring Compliance
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Walk into any public facility and you’ll see displays welcoming visitors to the building, providing directions to various areas, and indicating which rooms are which.
Though we don’t often give these signs much thought after we obtain the information we need from them, the fact is that not having the proper signage in place can have serious consequences for a business.
If you’ve recently been tasked with acquiring new displays to identify the rooms in your building, it’s important to educate yourself on the rules regarding ADA room signage and the ways in which having such signs can benefit your organization.
In doing so, you can be sure you order the appropriate ADA room signage for your facility that fits your budget and needs.
Why ADA Room Signage Matters
As previously mentioned, a single glance is usually all it takes for an individual to glean information from a sign before moving on to their intended destination. With that in mind, it’s easy to underestimate the impact that ADA room signage can have on a facility.
However, like anything else, people typically don’t notice when a sign is done correctly—only when it’s done incorrectly. If a sign is missing key features or isn’t installed at a reasonable height, you’re much more likely to receive complaints…
When considering new displays for your facility (particularly ADA room signage), it helps to think of your building like a website.
Navigation and customer experience matter.
The best websites are those that allow visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for quickly and easily. And the same approach should be taken with the displays in your building.
- Make sure all rooms in your building are labeled accordingly so that visitors don’t accidentally walk into the wrong space.
- Clearly identify rooms with both easily legible text and Braille so that individuals with visual impairments can find the space they need as well.
- Install signage at a reasonable height so that people don’t need to bend down or crane their necks to read it.
Avoiding Fines and Lawsuits
Having the correct signage installed in your building doesn’t just improve customer experience and decrease the likelihood of receiving bad publicity, it also helps in avoiding fines and lawsuits related to ADA noncompliance.
ADA room signage is just one feature covered under the ADA, but it’s an extremely important one.
In fact, failing to install ADA-compliant displays in your building can result in lawsuits being lodged against your business by individuals who don’t receive equal access to your building, potentially forcing you to spend tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees. Further, a fine for not having such signage could cost you up to $75,000 for the first infraction.
That’s why it’s well worth putting in the time and effort to research what ADA room signage and other displays you need for your building.
What Rooms in Your Building Need Displays?
First and foremost, it’s worth noting that Title II of the ADA relates to state and local government services, while Title III highlights public accommodations and commercial facilities. Both types of facilities must adhere to ADA regulations, including those pertaining to ADA room signage.
Under the ADA, all signs identifying permanent rooms and spaces must comply with certain regulations. Such rooms may include the following:
- Changing rooms
- Break rooms
- Conference rooms
- Exam rooms
- Electrical rooms
- IT rooms
- Mechanical rooms
- Utility rooms
- Storage rooms
- And more…
Ultimately, any room in your facility that will retain the same function for longer than 7 days is required to have a sign that adheres to ADA regulations.
So, what features must ADA room signage have?
The criteria ADA room signs must meet are quite comprehensive, which is why individuals are encouraged to read the 2010 Standards in their entirety.
However, to make things a little easier, we’ve provided an overview of the required features below.
- ADA room signage should have a matte, non-glare finish to ensure readability. Though reflective substances can be used to make the sign more visually appealing, features that are integral to the sign (e.g., images and text) must be made of a non-reflective material.
- A significant contrast ratio between touchable lettering and background is required. Generally, a ratio of 70% is considered acceptable. Further, there is some flexibility regarding contrast, so you can use light lettering on a dark background or vice versa.
- Fonts used on ADA room signage must be “simple serif” or “sans serif.” This means that italics and scripts may not be included on such signage. However, this rule only applies to necessary text, such as the actual room name and Braille.
- Tactile lettering should be in uppercase and at least 1/32” thick. As for height, ADA regulations require a minimum of 5/8” tall and maximum of 2” tall. However, hanging ADA signs and projection signage must adhere to a different set of rules.
- Pictograms are not required to be tactile. However, these symbols must be accommodated in a field that is at least 6” tall. Not all ADA room signage must have pictograms, so it’s important to speak with a fabricator that knows which types of signs are exempt.
How to Obtain Affordable ADA Room Signage
There are a number of retailers out there that offer ADA room signage, so finding affordable signs for your building that fit your budget and needs shouldn’t be a problem.
The problem, however, is locating a retailer that can offer high-quality signage that will stand the test of time.
Many businesses use mediocre materials to produce their signage, which means you’ll likely need to repair or replace your displays after just a couple of years. As a result, you’ll spend just as much to keep your signs in good condition as you would if you went for higher-quality signage to begin with.
Additionally, if you partner with a retailer that isn’t as well versed in ADA regulations as you would think, you could wind up paying more to resolve noncompliance issues that pop up when your signage fails to meet ADA guidelines.
The best approach is to seek out fabricators that are familiar with both national and local ADA rules. Then, trim the list by looking at those that allow you to shop for signage online. If they offer a special discount program for basic signage that doesn’t require customization, your chances of being able to get the ADA room signage you need at a reasonable price is greatly increased.
If you need new room signs for your building, it’s vital to have a firm grasp of how ADA room signage can affect your organization. Though it seems like a minor issue, installing the wrong signs (or forgoing them altogether) can lead to costly fines, potential lawsuits, and a serious hit to your business’ reputation.
After familiarizing yourself with ADA rules, be sure to check out the selection of high-quality, ADA-compliant room signs we have in our e-commerce shop. And if you’re looking to customize your signs with specific colors or graphics, feel free to reach out for a quote!