When you’re a business owner trying to stay on top of various disability laws and regulations, from federal laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act to state laws, and even local municipal codes it can seem overwhelming. Here in California, there’s the added challenge of our state’s civil code which is more strict than the Federal ADA regulations and classifies any non-compliance as a civil rights violation resulting in an automatic $4,000 fine. That’s why our staff at Saxton Bronze Architectural have come up with the following essentials for ADA Sign compliance.
- It’s the law: As we’ve already mentioned, both Federal laws and state laws have complex regulations when it comes to disability accessibility and accommodation. Some small businesses are exempt, but even determining that can be complex. If you’re in California, we have some of the strictest laws and there’s an automatic statutory damages clause in the state civil code that has been an incentive for less than ethical ADA attorneys to go after businesses just to collect the $4,000 fine plus thousands more in legal fees.
- Having ADA signs helps people: You might think, “sure, you’re a good person, but seriously, who actually uses these signs? Can blind people even find them? I think it’s just a way for the government to collect fines.” While we understand your frustration, ADA signs are actually useful to people who are blind or have other vision impairments, and they do use them, both the first time they are in your business and as an added precaution that they aren’t in the wrong room or area on subsequent visits. In addition, they also increase independence for people who aren’t sight impaired but who are deaf, or have cognitive issues, or speech impairments, or mental illnesses that make it difficult for them to talk to other people, so ADA signs are used by them as an alternative to having to ask an another for help, or have a helper go with them everywhere.
- Make sure your ADA signs follow the laws’ design guidelines: The good news is that you can have your signs made from just about any sign material, and your ADA signage can match the interior design of your business or facility. Here at Saxton Bronze Architectural Signage, we prefer cast aluminum or cast bronze of the highest grade, but there are other materials as well. We just think metal is nicer, plus it’s more visible than clear plexiglass, for example. The bad news is that the ADA design requirements can seem complicated and there are a lot of them to consider, which leads us to our last point.
- Don’t make them yourself: To save money, you might be tempted to try to make ADA signs yourself by copying one from the internet. This isn’t a good idea. Both ADA regulations and state disability laws are very specific about ADA signage as far as lettering font appears, size of the sign, if it needs to have braille or not, how the far apart the letter and braille dots are from each other, what size the letters and braille dots are, and where the ADA signs need to be posted as well as how high up on the wall. That’s a lot to consider and too much for a non-professional, or a sign shop that doesn’t also specialize in manufacturing ADA compliant signs.
We hope our essentials on ADA signs help you and your organization. Our Architectural Signage Coordinators at Saxton Bronze Architectural Signage are happy to answer any ADA signage or other sign questions you might have. You can call us today or post your questions and comments below.
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