VOL. 5, NO. 1

We all know the importance of signage in buildings. They help us find important offices, rest rooms, entrances, exits, elevators, telephones and simply help us find our way around. With Title III of the American With Disabilities Act (ADA), every new and existing facility is required to provide appropriate building signs. These signs must show the accessibility entering and exiting a building. Accessible entrances must have a sign depicting the international symbol of accessibility. In addition to the signs, architectural and communications barriers must also be removed. This includes: lowering telephones, adding raised markings on elevator control buttons, adding raised or braille markings where needed or erecting large painted signs. Title III is specific in its sign guidelines. Nearly all buildings, hotels, restaurants, theaters, auditoriums, shops, accountants, lawyers, insurance offices, hospitals and other places where the general public gathers are effected.
If a disabled person will use your services your facility must follow the Title III guidelines. Permanent room and spaces such as restrooms, meeting rooms, drinking fountains, conference rooms and mechanical rooms must be designated by raised and braille characters and include pictograms. Even letter height and letter/number width to height ratio must fit specifications. Numbers and letters need to contrast with their background. Why the need for the letter size, raised letters and contrast? These sign specifications allow the visually and mentally impaired individual the same opportunity afforded you and I, the ability to move easily within a building. Title III went into effect in January of 1992. These guidelines must be followed by all facility owners, whether a new or existing building. The Tulsa Public Schools were no exception. CFH was responsible for removing architectural barriers and providing proper signage for fifteen public schools. Several of' these schools were built on hillsides and posed major problems for meeting handicapped accessibility guidelines. Today, barrier-free design and signage directs the public into the buildings for the first time. It's not too late to begin analyzing your existing facilities to check compliance with the ADA. And if you're not sure whether your building is up to code or you simply don't know where to begin CFH Architects can help.
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The position of these signs is also very important. Any signs identifying permanent rooms must be mounted on the wall adjacent to the latch side of the door. The centerline of the sign is to be sixty inches above the floor. To complete the sign it must also meet the standards for finish and contrast. Numbers, letters and the sign background should be eggshell, matte, or other non-glare finish.

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