Following is a summary of the regulations published in the Department of Justice Federal Register, dated Friday July 26, 1991, 28 CFR Part 36,Title III, and the updated ICC/ANSI A117.1 - 1998 Accessibility Standard (approved February 13, 1998 by the Board of Standards Review). This information may be obtained from the Office of Americans with Disabilities Act at (202) 514-0301 (Voice) or (202) 514-0381 (TDD).

 

ADA signage guidelines are primarily intended to make facilities accessible to the blind, visually-impaired, and mobility-impaired. All public facilities must take steps to comply with ADA regulations.

 

 

A. SIGN REGULATIONS:

  1. Permanent Room Identification Signs (using characters that are both tactile and visual).

Signs that designate permanent rooms and spaces are

generally defined as room numbers, exit signs, and restroom

signs. They must comply with the following:

a. FINISH AND CONTRAST:

Characters and their background must have a non-glare

finish. Characters shall contrast with their background,

with either light characters on a dark background, or dark

characters on a light background.

b. TACTILE CHARACTER DEPTH:

Tactile characters shall be raised 1/32 inch (0.8 mm)

minimum above their background.

c. CHARACTER FORM:

¡¤         Uppercase only.

¡¤         Type style shall be sans serif. Characters shall not be

italic, oblique, script, highly decorative, or of other

unusual forms.

¡¤         Character height: 5/8 inch (16 mm) minimum and

2 inches (51 mm) maximum, (measured vertically from

the baseline to the top of the character, based on the

uppercase ¡°I¡±).

¡¤         Character width: 55% minimum and 110% maximum

of the character height, with the width based on the

uppercase letter ¡°O¡± and the height based on the

uppercase letter ¡°I¡±.

¡¤         Stroke Thickness: Characters with rectangular cross

sections shall have a stroke thickness which is 10%

minimum and 15% maximum of the height of the

character, based on the uppercase letter ¡°I¡±.

Characters with other cross sections shall have a

stroke thickness at the base of the cross section which

is 10% minimum and 30% maximum of the height of

the character, and a stroke thickness at the top of the

cross sections which is 15% maximum of the height of

the character, based on the uppercase letter ¡°I¡±.

d. CHARACTER (LETTER) SPACING:

Spacing shall be measured between the two closest points

of adjacent characters within a message, excluding word

spaces. Where characters have rectangular cross sections,

spacing between individual characters shall be 1/8 inch

(3 mm) minimum and 3/8 inch (10 mm) maximum. Where

characters have other cross sections, spacing between

individual characters shall be 1/16 inch (2 mm) minimum

and 3/8 inch (10 mm) maximum at the base of the cross

sections, and 1/8 inch (3 mm) minimum and 3/8 inch

(10 mm) maximum at the top of the cross sections.

e. LINE SPACING:

Spacing between the baselines of separate lines of characters

shall be 135% minimum and 170% maximum of the

character height.

f. RAISED BORDERS AND ELEMENTS

Raised borders and elements shall be 3/8 inch (9.5 mm)

minimum from tactile characters.

g. BRAILLE:

Tactile characters shall be accompanied by Grade II Braille.

Braille dots shall have a domed or rounded shape. Braille shall

be located below the corresponding text. If text is multi-lined,

Braille shall be placed below entire text. Braille shall be

separated 3/8 inch (9.5mm) minimum from any other tactile

characters, raised elements or borders.

¡¤          Braille shall comply with literary Braille.

EXCEPTION: The indication of uppercase letter(s) shall

only be used for proper nouns and names, individual

letters of the alphabet, initials, acronyms, or before the

first word of sentences.

¡¤         Dot base diameter: 0.059-0.063 inch (1.5-1.6 mm)

¡¤         Distance between any two dots in same cell, center to

center: 0.090-0.100 inch (2.3-2.5 mm)

¡¤         Distance between corresponding dots in adjacent cells,

center to center: 0.241-0.300 inch (6.1-7.6 mm)

¡¤          Dot Height: 0.025-0.032 inch (0.6-0.8 mm)

¡¤          Distance between corresponding dots from one cell to

the cell directly below, center to center:

0.395-0.400 inch (10.0-10.1 mm)

h. PICTOGRAMS:

¡¤          Pictograms or symbols must be located on a field of at

least 6 inches (150 mm) in height. An equivalent

Grade 2 Braille and tactile written description must be

placed below or adjacent to the 6 inch field and may

not intrude into the 6 inch field.

¡¤         Pictograms and their fields must meet requirements for

finish and contrast.


 

i. MOUNTING HEIGHT:

¡¤         Tactile characters shall be 48 inches (1220 mm)

minimum and 60 inches (1525 mm) maximum above

the adjacent floor or ground surface,measured from

the baseline of the characters.

¡¤         Visual characters shall be 40 inches (1015 mm)

minimum above the floor or ground. Refer to the chart

on page 3.4 for more information.

¡¤          Braille shall be 40 inches (1015 mm) minimum and

60 inches (1525 mm) maximum above the floor or

ground, measured from the baseline of the Braille cells.

j. MOUNTING LOCATION:

Single Doors: mount sign adjacent to the latch side of door.

Double Doors: mount sign to the right of the right hand

door. Where there is no wall space,mount sign on the

nearest adjacent wall. Minimum 18 inches x 18 inches

floor space (centered on the sign) beyond the arc of any

door swing between the closed position and 45¡Æ open

position.

¡¤         EXCEPTION: Door-mounted signs shall be permitted on

the push side of doors with closers and without

hold-open devices.

¡¤         Refer to Section 5 for more information on Installation.

 

 

  1. Permanent Room Identification Signs (where separate tactile and visual characters with the same information are provided):

a.      Visual characters can be uppercase, lowercase, or a

combination of both. Type style shall be conventional in

form. Characters shall not be italic, oblique, script, highly

decorative, or of other unusual forms. Visual characters

must meet the requirements listed under item number ¡°1¡±

(on pages 3.1 and 3.2) for character width, line spacing,

finish and contrast. Refer to the table on page 3.4 for

character height.

¡¤         Characters shall have a stroke thickness which is 10%

minimum and 30% maximum, the height of the character,

based on the uppercase letter ¡°I¡±.

¡¤         Spacing between individual characters, excluding

word spaces, shall be 10% minimum and 35% maximum

of the character height.

b.      Tactile characters shall be duplicated in Braille.

c.      Tactile characters shall be all uppercase and meet the

requirements listed under item number ¡°1¡± (on pages 3.1

and 3.2) for character depth, style, width, line spacing,

mounting height and location.

¡¤          Character Height: 1/2 inch minimum and 3/4 inch

maximum.

¡¤         Character Stroke Thickness: maximum 15% of the

character height, based on the uppercase letter ¡°I¡±.

¡¤         Character Spacing: 1/8 inch (3mm) minimum to 1/4

inch (6mm) maximum between the two closest points

of adjacent characters (excluding word spaces).

¡¤         Tactile characters are not required to contrast with

c. Tactile characters continued

their background and they do not have to comply with

non-glare standards on a Combination Tactile/Visual Sign.

 

 

Character height is based on height above the floor and minimum viewing

distance. Character height is based on the uppercase letter ¡°I¡±. Minimum

viewing distance is measured as the horizontal distance where an obstruction

prevents further approach toward the sign.

 


  1. Directional and Informational Signs
    • Visual signs that provide direction to or information about

function spaces within a facility can be wall mounted,

projected or suspended overhead.They are not required to

contain tactile characters, but must meet the requirements

listed under item number ¡°1¡± (on pages 3.1 and 3.2) for

character width, line spacing, finish and contrast.

¡¤         Characters shall have a stroke thickness which is 10%

minimum and 30% maximum, the height of the character,

based on the uppercase letter ¡°I¡±.

¡¤         Spacing between individual characters, excluding word

spaces, shall be 10% minimum and 35% maximum of the

character height.

¡¤         Characters can be uppercase, lowercase, or a combination

of both.

¡¤         Type style shall be conventional in form. Characters shall

not be italic, oblique, script, highly decorative, or of other

unusual forms.

¡¤         Character height is based on height above the floor and

minimum viewing distance. Character height is based on

the uppercase letter ¡°I¡±. Minimum viewing distance is measured

as the horizontal distance where an obstruction prevents further

approach toward the sign.

Refer to the table on page 3.4 for character height.

  1. Temporary Information Signs

Building directories, menus, and all other signs that

provide temporary information about rooms and spaces,

such as current occupant¡¯s name, are not required to

comply with ADA guidelines.

  1. Exterior Signs

The requirements for exterior and interior signs are generally

the same. Exterior signs are not required to have tactile and

Braille lettering, other than in the situation where a permanent

room, such as a bathroom, is directly accessed from the outside.

However, they must meet requirements for visual characters.

 

 

B. IDENTIFICATION OF ACCESSIBLE FACILITIES & FEATURES

  1. Entrances, Restrooms, and Bathing Facilities

The international symbol of accessibility  must be displayed

at accessible entrances, if all entrances are not accessible.

Directions including the symbol must be provided from

inaccessible entrances to accessible ones. Similar guidelines

apply to restrooms and bathing facilities.

  1. Parking Areas

Accessible parking spaces and loading zones must be marked

by a sign showing the symbol of accessibility , located so it

cannot be obscured by a parked vehicle. An installation height

of 60 inches minimum is required above the ground to the

bottom of the sign. Note: Some states have their own requirements;

California requires 80 inches. Also, if the sign is in the public way, it may

qualify as a protruding object and must be 80 inches above the ground.

  1. Assembly Areas

The international symbol of access for hearing loss must be

displayed where assistive listening systems are required,

together with a description of the system installed.

  1. Areas of Rescue Assistance

Areas of rescue assistance must be identified with illuminated

and/or non-illuminated signs including the international symbol

of accessibility . Instructions must be posted on how to use

the area during emergencies. Inaccessible exits must be

identified as such. Where all exits are not accessible, signs

including the symbol are required to direct visitors to areas of

rescue assistance.

  1. Public Telephones

Text telephones must be identified with the TTY symbol.

Volume control telephones must be identified by the volume

control symbol. Where all telephone banks are not so equipped,

directions including the appropriate symbols must be provided to

guide users from unequipped telephone banks to equipped ones.

  1. Assistive Listening Systems

Assistive listening systems must be identified by the international

symbol for hearing loss, together with a description of the

system provided.

  1. Protruding Objects

The law requires that no objects, including signs, shall protrude

more than 4" from the wall surfaces or 12" from posts or pylons

on a horizontal zone between 27" from the floor to 80" from

the floor. Similarly, all corridors, halls, etc. shall have a minimum

headroom of at least 80".

 


C. COMPLIANCE

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lists a number of due dates for

compliance by facilities.

 

Existing facilities defined as ¡°Public Accommodations¡± (i.e., private

establishments that provide goods and services to the general public) must

have started to take steps to remove architectural and communication

barriers by January 26, 1992, where removal is readily achievable or

easily accomplished.

 

Alterations to ¡°Public Accommodations¡± generally must be readily

accessible and usable by the disabled to the maximum extent feasible

if alterations began after January 26, 1992, and if the cost is not

disproportionate relative to the overall cost of the alteration.

 

New construction of ¡°Public Accommodations¡± must be readily accessible

and usable by the disabled if the facility is occupied after January 26, 1993,

assuming the last official permission – such as a building permit – was

issued after January 26, 1992. Note that for such new construction,

compliance is not limited by disproportionate cost or readily

achievable rules.

 


D. DEFINITION OF TERMS

  1. ACCESSIBLE

To allow people with a variety of disabilities the ability to

enter and use the facilities and services of buildings and sites

which are open to the public.

  1. ADA

Abbreviation for ¡°Americans with Disabilities Act¡±; a law

giving people with disabilities as much access as possible to

public buildings, services, and employment.

  1. BRAILLE

Braille is a reading system of tactile dot patterns used by the

visually impaired. Each Braille character, or ¡°cell¡±, is

composed of up to six raised dots. The number and location

of the dots indicates the character(s) it represents.

Grade 1 Braille is the alphabet,¡°letter-for-letter¡±.

Grade 2 Braille is required by ADA. Grade 2 Braille

uses the same character dot cells as Grade 1, but is not a

¡°letter-for-letter¡± scheme. Grade 2 Braille contains close to

200 contracted words and word fragments.

Grade 3 Braille is a shorthand form.

  1. COMMERCE

Means travel, trade, traffic, transportation, or communication.

  1. SIGNS

Displayed verbal, symbolic, tactile, and pictorial information.

  1. TACTILE

Describes an object that can be perceived using the

sense of touch.

  1. COMMERCIAL FACILITIES

Facilities that are intended for non-residential use by a

private entity and whose operations affect commerce.

  1. PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS
    • Social service center establishments
    • Places of lodging
    • Places of education
    • Places of exhibition or entertainment
    • Places of recreation
    • Places of public display or collection
    • Places of public gathering
    • Sales or rental establishments
    • Stations used for public transportation

 


E. EASY REFERENCE CHART FOR ADA SIGNAGE