FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ADA SIGN REGULATIONS

1. Which rooms in buildings require 2010 ADA compliant tactile / Braille signs?
2. Is a building directory required to meet the 2010 ADA Standards?
3. How do I indicate the wheelchair symbol in tactile text and Braille?
4. What directional signs are required signs?
5. Is there a Federal ADA regulation requiring a minimum 70% contrast on signs?
6. Are Braille dots required to contrast with their background? Also are signs required to contrast with their background (building wall color)?
7. Is Braille required to be all caps?
8. Is there an advantage to tactile characters with beveled edges?
9. Are churches required to follow ADA guidelines?
10. When do the 2010 ADA Standards take effect?

1. Which rooms in buildings require 2010 ADA compliant tactile / Braille signs?

All PERMANENT ROOMS in a publicly accessible building are required to be identified by a sign containing tactile text and Grade 2 Braille. If a room is kept locked, it still falls under the definition of a permanent room.

Exclusions Noted in the Law:

• Detention and Correctional Facilities - signs not located in "public use" areas.
• Exterior signs not located at the door to the space they serve shall not be required to comply.

2. Is a building directory required to meet the 2010 ADA Standards?

The following informational signs are not required to comply with ADAAG laws:

• Building Directories
• Menus
• Seat and row designations in assembly areas
• Occupant names
• Building addresses
• Company names & logos
• Parking signs (excluding Accessible Parking signs)
• Temporary signs (7 days or less)

3. How do I indicate the wheelchair symbol in tactile text and Braille?

Pictograms that provide information about a room or space, such as "no smoking", occupant logos, and the wheelchair symbol, are not required to have text descriptors or Braille.

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4. What directional signs are required signs?

Directional signs are required at the following:

• Direction to nearest accessible entry at non-accessible entries
• Direction to nearest accessible elevator at non-accessible elevators
• Direction to nearest accessible restroom at non-accessible restrooms
• Direction to nearest public TIY phone at non-TIY public phone locations

5. Is there a Federal ADA regulation requiring a minimum 70% contrast on signs?

There is no Federal ADA regulation that specifies a minimum contrast. A minimum contrast of 70% was "suggested" at one time, but contrast levels are very hard to measure and may change as the available light source changes. Signs are more legible for persons with low vision when characters contrast as much as possible with their background.

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6. Are Braille dots required to contrast with their background? Also are signs required to contrast with their background (building wall color)?

No, Braille can be clear, white, black, or any color. Visual contrast is not needed for Braille. Also, there is no requirement that says the sign itself must contrast with the surface it is mounted to.

7. Is Braille required to be all caps?

The 2010 ADA Standard clarifies this issue and states that Braille is required to be lowercase. 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.

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8. Is there an advantage to tactile characters with beveled edges?

Tactile characters with beveled edges offer many advantages. They allow use of a slightly bolder font for better readability. The bevel removes some of the character stroke and the tactile portion that is read by touch (the top surface of the character) can be thinner to meet the ADA Standards. Beveled characters also allow you to place the characters closer together for a more pleasing visual look.

9. Are churches required to follow ADA guidelines?

Religious organizations, although exempt from Title 3, may still need to comply with certain state or federal building codes. If a religious organization receives any federal money, then building construction must comply with Section 504 requirements. More information can be found in the Section 504 Revocation Act.

This can be a complicated issue. Start by checking your state building code. If you still have questions, contact the Access Board for help at 1-800-872-2253.

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10. When do the 2010 ADA Standards take effect?

The Department of Justice published the new regulations on September 15, 2010 and they took effect on March 15, 2012. This set of enforceable regulations replaces the original ADA standards and covers all facilities covered by the ADA:

• Places of Public Accommodation
• Commercial Facilities
• State and Local Government Facilities

The 2010 ADA Standards are consistent with the ADA guidelines that were issued by ADAAG in 2004 as they pertain to signage.

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