Commercial Property Signs | ADA Compliance


As a commercial property owner, how can you best protect your investment?

Obviously, you first need to assure that the property is safe and appropriately insured against loss.  But one of the most important issues, and one that is often overlooked, is the nature and effectiveness of your property signage.  That signage can convey a professional image, but it must also be compliant with a variety of state and federal regulations.

ADA signs, ADA restroom signs, sign compliance

And how can you be sure your signage is compliant with all of the regulations?

And one of the greatest challenges in this area has to do with your compliance with the requirements set down in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990.

ADA requirements are detailed and specific.  For example, for Braille signage there are clear standards such as:

  • Dot diameter: .059 in.
  • Inter-dot spacing: .090 in.
  • Horizontal separation between cells”  .241 in.
  • Vertical separation between cells:  .395 in.

 If all this weren’t enough, the regulations go on to suggest signs with “an eggshell finish (11 to 19 degree gloss on 60 degree glossimeter)” and then notes that signs are more legible for persons with low vision when the characters contrast with their background by at least 70 percent.  The instructions go so far as to provide you with a formula to determine that percentage:

Contrast = [(B1-B2)/B1] x 100

Fortunately, the guidelines provide  an explanation of B1 and B2, but by this time most novice sign makers (or Do-It-Yourself Property owners) will be tearing their hair out before even reading the rest of the list of regulations.   If you have the courage to read on in the regulations you will find a few more daunting tasks ahead of you, such as:

  • Character Proportion
  • Symbols of Accessibility for Different Types of Listening Systems
  • Illumination Levels

So, how can you make sure your property signage is compliant?

You find a sign company that not only understands ADA compliance regulations, but knows how to make signage work for you.  Compliance alone is not enough.  The signs have to look good, as well.

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