What Rooms Require ADA Signs?
The first step in making sure your school, church, or business is following ADA compliance is to determine which rooms require ADA signage. All public buildings are required to meet the guidelines outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Most business owners don't have time to wade through the act to determine what is required of them and at first it can seem overwhelming just to determine where compliant signage is needed. Luckily, there is a growing amount of information available on the web now that helps make it easy to keep your business in compliance.
The easiest place to start in this process is to make a list of all of the permanent rooms. Permanent rooms all require compliant signs. For the rooms that contain permanent fixtures that cannot be moved easily these rooms should be labeled by room names and not just room numbers. Examples of these would be kitchens, electrical rooms, and restrooms. Permanent rooms that can change function more easily can be labeled using alphanumeric or ADA room number signs. Examples of these would be cubicles mounted to the floor or ceiling, classrooms that could change subject from year to year, and some offices.
What is a Temporary Room?
If you have spaces that you aren't sure are permanent or temporary rooms the best rule to go by is if the walls are fastened to either the wall, ceiling, or both it's a permanent room even if it's a movable wall once it's unfastened.
Rooms changing function in less than 7 days do not require ADA compliant signage.
Life Safety Signs
After making a list of all of your permanent rooms the next place to look at is life safety signs. Life safety signs include information on how to exit a building during an emergency or where and how to get to areas of refuge. These can include the following sign types:
- Exit signs at doors
- Stairwell signs indicating stair designation, floor level, floor served, roof access information, and the level at which the exit is located
- Floor designation signs at stairs
- Elevator restriction during emergency such as "In case of fire use stairs"
What Signs are not Required to be ADA Compliant?
Not all signs are required to be ADA compliant and not all signs need tactile characters and braille to be ADA compliant. Overhead signs like ones used often in hospitals and flag signs that are mounted perpendicular to the wall are not required to have raised characters or braille but do have some requirements regarding fonts and readability.
Directories, menus, company logos, occupant names, and instructional signs are examples of signs that are not included in ADA codes.