The ADA is of course the Americans with Disabilities Act, now a federal law prohibiting the discrimination against anyone with a disability from being afforded the same opportunities as anyone else. This includes access to public places and businesses, both in person as well as online access, and also for job opportunities previously unavailable. If you own a business, unless you have less than 15 full-time employees, you are required by federal law to make reasonable accommodations to any existing structure for these patrons. Any new construction must have these accommodations built in from the start. There is a gray area as far as what's considered "reasonable", but it basically means as long as it doesn't require major reconstruction or isn't too costly, you need to make the changes necessary to comply. And regardless, if it is too costly (etc.), you are still required to make acceptable alternative changes, in order to be in compliance. If you do not, there are stiff fines to pay, as well as opening yourself up to lawsuits and liability issues.
To make your business ADA compliant, it needs to be made accessible to handicapped and otherwise disabled people. An estimated 650 million people, 61 million in the United States alone, have a disability. This means you're actually opening your doors to a huge part of a population previously untapped. So, if you're a brick and mortar business with 15 or more full-time employees, you may already be in the middle of renovating, to become ADA compliant. If this or something similar is the case, you may be wondering about ADA signage. This is where it's important to work with a company that specializes in ADA compliant signs, such as ADA Central, with nearly a decade of experience doing these signs in particular. They can tell you how and where to place the signs you need, as well as which signs you must have. Here are some tips, to help guide you.
Tips For ADA Sign Placement
When you're mounting signs for ADA compliance, it's really important to know the detailed requirements, because they are very specific. For instance, you never want to place an ADA sign on any actual door. Instead, you place it on the wall next to the door on the latch side. If there's no room to do that, you can place it on the adjacent wall. The signs should be posted no higher than 60" inches from the floor, and no lower than 48" inches from the floor. If you're wondering which rooms must have signs, if it has a set purpose, it needs a sign. In other words, if the room has a specific functionality and does not change, it requires an ADA sign. If the room has varying functions, and serves more than one purpose, it does not need a sign. An example of a permanent space or room would be a bathroom, kitchen, or closet, because they are designed with a specific function and will not change without significant reconstruction. An example of a temporary space or room would be a conference room, or a classroom that may be math one year and English the next. In addition, all exits, stairways, elevators and emergency exits must have ADA signs. These signs are meant to identify, direct to, or inform about accessible features of, all areas of a business. ADA signs should be on a non-glare, high-contrast background. They should include tactile lettering in all caps and Sans Serif font, as well as Braille grade 2 and follow the specified requirements for dimension and position, below corresponding text.
ADA Exit Signs
Since we started out with the specific question, what is the height for ADA exit signs, let's talk a little bit about these requirements in particular. First off, all exits including emergency exits must be clearly designated. Any directional guiding, if necessary to get to them, must also be provided. Keep in mind that these signs are for everyone, and you're just making sure even your patrons with disabilities can read them and locate them, too. So, think: visual, tactile, Braille. You can have two different types of signs, for instance if you already have a good visual sign, you can just add a tactile sign accompanied by Braille, at the height and location required by the ADA. Exit signs, like most all ADA compliant signs, are to be mounted on the wall next to the corresponding door, on the latch side of the door, and be no higher than 60" inches from the floor, and no lower than 48" inches from the floor. If there are double doors with only one side active, the sign should be posted on the inactive side. If both sides are active, the sign goes to the right of the door on the right side. Hopefully, this answers the original question, but there are other specs for other types of doors as well. If you still have questions, you can consult with your sign company, or look up the code in the manual.
Utilizing an experienced sign company that specializes in ADA compliant signage is of utmost importance, and can make this project much easier for business owners. ADA Central is a trusted choice for your ADA compliant signs, and does customized work as well. Regardless, if you are attempting to become ADA compliant, your signage is critical. There are consulting companies that help businesses become ADA compliant, as well. Some will even give you a mock inspection, so you can address and remedy any issues that may remain, before they can cost you any real money in fines and/or lawsuits. The ADA guidelines are set with the goal of "enhancing and expanding accessibility for all people" in mind. Since the statistics show that 1 in 4 people in America suffer from a disability, this seems like an honorable goal. Doing your part to help people in this population is simply the right thing to do.