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Most Common Reasons Signs Fail to Meet ADA Compliance Standards

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There are a number of guidelines signs must meet for them to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Despite these guidelines being explicit and relatively uncomplicated, it's often that signs fail to meet ADA compliance standards, which could make businesses or facilities with those noncompliant signs subject to large fines.

Here are a few of the most common reasons signs fail to meet ADA compliance standards:

Improper font and size.

All font on ADA signs must be Sans Serif, written in upper case, and not be in italic, script, or other unusual or decorative forms. There are also specific height and size standards for characters. For example, the height of the characters measured from the base to the top should be a minimum of 5/8 inches (16 mm) and a maximum of two inches (51 mm) based on the uppercase letter “I.”

Poor spacing.

Officially referred to as “kerning,” this is the metric that trips up a lot of sign makers. There must be at least an eighth of an inch between the two closest points of any tactile characters. The highly specific rules read like this:

703.2.7 Character Spacing.

Character spacing shall be measured between the two closest points of adjacent raised characters within a message, excluding word spaces. Where characters have rectangular cross sections, spacing between individual raised characters shall be 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) minimum and 4 times the raised character stroke width maximum. Where characters have other cross sections, spacing between individual raised characters shall be 1/16 inch (1.6 mm) minimum and 4 times the raised character stroke width maximum at the base of the cross sections, and 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) minimum and 4 times the raised character stroke width maximum at the top of the cross sections. Characters shall be separated from raised borders and decorative elements 3/8 inch (9.5 mm) minimum.

Noncompliant Braille.

Having Braille alone is not enough to make a sign compliant with the ADA. In fact, some forms of Braille still do not comply with ADA standards, even if the rest of the sign does. Braille dots must meet specific standards for base diameter, distance between the dots, height of the dots, and distance between corresponding dots in adjacent cells.’

Improper mounting.

This has less to do with the sign itself and more to do with how it’s hung. The mounting height of the sign is based on the height of the characters on the sign above a finished floor. There are extremely detailed standards for mounting ADA signs in the legislation itself.

For more information about what actually qualifies as an ADA compliant sign, contact us today at Erie Custom Signs.

Filed Under: ADA Signage

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