ADA Sign Requirements for compliance with the AMERICANS WITH DISABILITY ACT
Since 1992, accessible signage has been a requirement in the United States under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ADA guidelines are intended to remove barriers and make facilities accessible to all people with disabilities.
All public facilities must take steps to comply with ADA guidelines. ADA signs fall into two categories: Signs that must have tactile copy and braille and signs that do not need the tactile/braille but must meet design guidelines and visual copy.
When determining signage for a facility, a general rule of thumb is - if a room has an entry door, an ADA compliant sign with tactile lettering and braille should identify that room or space. Any permanent rooms that have permanent fixtures which are not likely to change require ADA compliant tactile and braille signs. Therefore these rooms are labeled by room names and not just room numbers. Examples are cafeterias, electrical rooms, and restrooms. If a room is considered permanent but can change its function easily, they may be labeled numerically with ADA room number signs. Great examples of these are class rooms, and some offices.
Signs providing direction or information about interior rooms or spaces must meet the ADA visual guidelines but are not required to be have tactile copy or braille. Signs listing rules of conduct, evacuation instructions, exit route maps, and directional signs all fall into this category.
ADA DESIGN RULES FOR TACTILE AND BRAILLE compliant signs
- Signs that identify a room shall have 1/32" raised tactile lettering and Grade II Braille.
- Signs shall have a non glare finish with contrasting colors.
- Pictograms shall be in their own 6" high field.
- Pictograms shall have a relevant ISA symbol where applicable.
- Text characters shall be San Serif and all Upper Case, nor overly bold, condensed, or italic.
- Text characters must be between 5/8" and 2" with a minimum spacing of 1/8".
- Braille shall be separated by 3/8" minimum from tactile characters and raised borders.
- A 1" high space is needed for one line of Braille.
- Braille shall be together and 3/8" to 1/2" below the last line of text.
- Braille shall be domed shaped, not flat or pointed.
- Braille shall be lower case, except proper names, acronyms, or a single letter.
- Line spacing shall be 35-70% of character height.
- ADA Signs are required for both public access and all employee areas.
ADA SIGN INSTALLATION RULES
ADA MOUNTING HEIGHT
The baseline of the tactile characters shall be mounted between 48" at the lowest point to 60" at the highest point above the adjacent floor. This allows signs of different sizes to be mounted on the same visual plane.
Position sign to be a minimum of 9" from edge of door to center of the sign.
ADA MOUNTING LOCATION
The signs should be mounted to the wall on the latch side of the door. If no space may be mounted on the nearest adjacent wall.
Single Doors - Install latch side of door
Double Doors (both active) - Install to the right of the right handed door
Double Doors (one active) - Install on the inactive door a minimum of 9" from the center of the sign to the meeting edge of the door.
ADA MOUNTING LOCATION
In the case of an outward swinging door, the sign must be installed to the wall on the latch side of the door outside of the arc of the door swing. The sign should be located within an 18" x 18" square of clear floor space. (18" away from the door and 18" away from the wall)
Single in swinging doors may have the signs mounted to the door itself if these three criteria are met. The door closes automatically, the sign is mounted on the push side of the door and the door does not have a hold open device. The sign is installed in the center of the door at a max of 48" to the tactile and at 60" to the highest point. This type of installation is common for kitchen and restroom doors.