ADA Requirements for Signs

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 outlines important requirements for businesses including the design and placement of signage. ADA signage requirements include signs in and around office buildings and parking lots, with extensive instructions on how and where to place them in public facilities including bus shelters, train stations, and other transportation locations. ADA offers details on sign design, lettering, colors, finish, contrasts and pictorial symbols.

Applicable Buildings

Most public buildings are covered by the ADA while residential properties are not included with the exception of housing complexes with five or more residences.

New Construction or Redesign

ADA signage requirements apply to all new construction and most building redesigns. Your architect knows what must be done to help your building comply and will incorporate ADA requirements in with her blueprints.

Required Signage

Most signage located throughout a building must comply with the ADA. Those areas include but are not limited to restrooms, offices, meeting room and other permanent rooms. Exit and entrance signage, directional and informational signs and parking lot signs must also comply.

Glare Free

All signs must have non-glare backgrounds and characters. This requirement does not extend to traffic and reflective parking signs.

Contrast Colors

ADA signs must meet certain color contrast requirements. Though not specific as to which colors may be used the differences between lightness and darkness is regulated.

Acceptable Typefaces

Not every typeface is acceptable and spacing between letters is important as is the size of letters, numbers and symbols.

Using Pictograms

Pictures, such as wheelchairs, must be universally recognizable. The ADA outlines what that symbol should look like.

Braille Characters

Braille language characters are included on some signs including directional signs and some informational signs.

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