DJ 192-180-04158 APR 30 1992 The Honorable Frank Horton U.S.

House of Representatives 2108 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Dear Congressman Horton: This is in response to your letter on behalf of your constituent, Ms. Susan Yara, regarding signage requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in responding to an inquiry from your constituent. However, this technical assistance does not constitute a determination by the Department of Justice of Ms. Yara's rights or responsibilities under the ADA and does not constitute a binding determination by the Department. With respect to Ms. Yara's concerns, please be advised as follows: 1. Ms. Yara quotes S4.30.3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (Guidelines) (Appendix A to the Department of Justice's title III regulation), which requires that characters and numbers on signs be sized according to the viewing distance from which they are to be read, and inquires as to whether further guidelines are available. The only further guideline available regarding this issue is found in the chart contained in S4.30.3, which sets out the requirement that, with respect to signs that are required to be suspended or projected overhead, the minimum character height is three inches (75mm). As Ms. Yara notes, the appropriate height for characters and numbers on signs is a subjective judgment. The Accessibility Guidelines permit this judgment to be made by design professionals. cc: Records; Chrono; Oneglia; Friedlander; Pecht; McDowney. :uddl:udd:pecht:horton.yara.2 01-00677​ -22. With respect to Ms. Yara's question regarding the color

contrast between characters and their background, S4.30.5 of the Accessibility Guidelines requires that ". . . characters and symbols shall contrast with their background - either light characters on a dark background or dark characters on a light background." Further guidance regarding S4.30.5 (and all other sections of the Accessibility Guidelines designated with an asterisk) is found in the Appendix to the Guidelines. The Appendix contains materials of an advisory nature designed to help the reader understand and comply with the Guidelines. Appendix SA4.30.5 explains that ". . . signs are more legible for persons with low vision when characters contrast with their background by at least 70 percent," and includes a formula for determining contrast in percent. For your convenience, we have enclosed a copy of the title III ADA regulation, which includes the Accessibility Guidelines. There is no requirement in the Guidelines that signage materials be a solid color. With reference to the sample enclosed by Ms. Yara, the Department does not issue determinations as to whether specific products comply with the ADA Guidelines. 3. Ms. Yara requests a source of local assistance to aid her in "determining the application of this law." Through the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Congress has funded a regional network of Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers. The Center in Ms. Yara's region should be able to provide her with technical assistance and referrals to local resources. The applicable Center is the Region 2 Northeast Center at the following address: United Cerebral Palsy of N.J. 354 South Broad Street Trenton, New Jersey 08608 609-392-4004 (Voice) 609-392-7004 (TDD) 4. Ms. Yara requests clarification as to what constitutes a permanent room or space under section 4.1.2(7) of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines. In its Title III Technical Assistance Manual, the Department has indicated that it considers the category of permanent signage to include only those signs that designate men's and women's rooms, room numbers, and exit signs.

Signs that provide direction to or information about functional spaces of a building (e.g., "cafeteria this way" or "copy room") need not comply with the requirements for raised and Brailled letters (which are only applicable to permanent signage) but are subject to other requirements. For your convenience, we have 01-00678​ -3enclosed a copy of the Manual. The information cited can be found on page 59. 5. Ms. Yara inquires whether company logos are required to be in raised lettering. Such logos are not considered permanent signs subject to the raised letter requirement. 6. Ms. Yara asks whether raised lettering can be thicker than 1/32". On January 14, 1992, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board amended its ADA Accessibility Guidelines (which are the same Guidelines adopted by the Department for its title III regulation) to make it clear that lettering must be raised a minimum of 1/32" (emphasis added). A copy of this amendment is enclosed. The Department plans to make this technical correction to its title III regulation at a later date. 7. Ms. Yara inquires as to whether, each time a permanent sign is replaced, the replacement must comply with the ADA Accessibility Guidelines. Under ADA regulations, any replacement of permanent signage is considered an alteration which must be made in a manner that complies with the Accessibility Guidelines. 8. Ms. Yara asks which sign should be used to determine the centerline for complying with the S4.30.6 requirement for mounting height when multiple signs are used. As stated in the regulation, the measurement should be made from the centerline of the permanent sign. In the example given in Ms. Yara's letter, this would be the sign designating the room number. 9. Ms. Yara requests a description of the pictorial for the "sign depiction of a telephone handset with radiating sound waves," as required by S4.30.7(2). Ms. Yara is correct in assuming that this sign is typically provided with the telephone equipment. However, if one is not provided, any pictorial fitting the description set out in the regulation is acceptable. 10. Ms. Yara asks whether the signage at non-accessible entrances required by S4.1.6(1)(h) of the Guidelines must meet

the permanent signage requirements (raised letters and Braille). Such signs are not considered permanent signs and, thus, do not have to meet the raised letter and Braille requirements. Please refer to the discussion of permanent signs at number 4 above. 11. Ms. Yara requests a listing of letter styles falling into the categories "sans serif" and "simple serif." She also asks where the Braille required by S4.30.4 should be located. The term "serif" refers to the short lines that stem from and are located at an angle to the upper and lower ends of the strokes of a letter. "Sans serif" refers to type styles without these flourishes, while "simple serif" type may include styles 01-00679​ -4with some, but not excessive, additional lines. Many letter styles fall within these broad, generic categories, and new styles are frequently created. Thus, a comprehensive listing would be impossible. The intention of the regulation is to provide design professionals with the ability to exercise their professional and aesthetic judgment within these general guidelines. The same holds true for the location of Braille. Braille must accompany raised characters on permanent signs, but no particular location is required, thus providing design professionals with an opportunity to place Braille characters in the location most appropriate to a given design application. 12. Ms. Yara inquires ". . . where are upper case letters required and lower case letters allowed?" Lower case letters are permitted for all signs subject to the requirements of S4.30.3. Section 4.1.2(7) requires " . . . signs which provide direction to, or information about, functional spaces of the building . . ." to comply with S4.30.3. Examples of such signage are discussed at number four above. Upper case letters are required for all signs subject to the requirements of S4.30.4. Section 4.1.2(7) requires " . . . signs which designate permanent rooms and spaces . . ." to comply with S4.30.4. Please refer to the discussion of permanent signs at number 4 above. 13. Ms. Yara asks whether the S4.30.4 requirement that the border dimension of a pictogram must be six inches minimum in

height refers to the size of the pictogram or to the overall dimension of the sign. It refers to the overall dimension of the sign. The edge of the plate is considered to be the border and no separate border or frame is required. 14. Ms. Yara requests clarification regarding the required date of compliance for existing businesses. Title III generally went into effect on January 26, 1992. Although there are phasein periods for smaller businesses (see S36.508 of the enclosed title III regulation), these phase-in periods are, in effect, grace periods during which civil actions cannot be brought against covered small businesses. However, those businesses are still expected to comply with the title III regulation. There is no general obligation to replace signage in existing facilities when no alteration or new construction is planned. However, S36.304 of the title III regulation requires businesses to remove architectural barriers and communications barriers that are structural in nature from existing facilities when such removal is readily achievable, that is, easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty 01-00680​ -5or expense. Section 36.304(c) suggests priorities for such barrier removal. Under S 36.304(c)(2), which discusses measures that may be taken as a second priority (to provide access to those areas of a place of public accommodation where goods and services are made available to the public), providing Brailled and raised character signage is listed as an example. As noted above, all signage in newly altered areas must comply with the requirements of the Guidelines. In addition, signage in buildings designed for first occupancy after January 26, 1993, must also comply. 15. Ms. Yara expresses concern regarding the requirement that raised rather than engraved lettering be used for permanent signage. First, as noted above, in its technical assistance manual, the Department has defined permanent spaces in a restrictive manner. Thus, only a limited number of rooms are subject to the raised letter and Braille requirement. Also, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Board) is currently drafting accessibility guidelines for title II of the ADA, which covers State and local governments. At my request, the Board agreed to include specific

questions concerning appropriate standards for signage in the preamble to that proposed rule. This action will enable the engraving industry to formally present to the Board its views on engraved lettering. I strongly encourage representatives of the engraving industry to submit comments on the proposed title II guidelines so that the Board will have the necessary information to make a wise decision on the issue. The Board will carefully consider all comments received and determine whether the guidelines should permit engraved lettering on permanent signs in State and local facilities. If the comments received indicate that such a determination is appropriate, I will recommend to the Board that the title III guidelines, covering places of public accommodation and commercial facilities, should likewise be revised to permit engraved letters. I hope this information has been helpful to you. Sincerely, John R. Dunne Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosures (3) 01-00681​CS Engraving 3816 West Walworth Road, Macedon, New York 14502 (315)986-2860 February 17, 1992 Congressman Frank J. Horton House of Rep., 2108 Rayburn Bldg. Washington, D.C. 20515 Re: The Americans with Disabilities Act Regulations Dear Congressman Horton: It was a pleasure to meet with you last week to discuss my questions and concerns regarding the above referenced law. As per your recommendation, I have compiled questions on several aspects of the law with regard to the signage requirements. Since my customers rely on me to assist them in complying with this law, I want to be sure that I

understand it as fully as possible. Section 4.30.3"...shall be sized according to the viewing distance from which they are to be read..." This section discusses the letter height requirements; and we wonder if there are any further guidelines with regard to maximum distance vs. letter height. This is a very subjective determination. In addition, available wall space is of concern since lettering of this height, particularly 2", takes up a large amount of space. We have been reading that the color contrast between lettering the background should have at least a "70% reflective difference". What does that mean and how do we determine whether or not we are within this standard? Also, does the color have to be a solid dark or light; or can it be something like the sample of material enclosed? Where can we obtain assistance locally in determining the application of this law? I do not want to be the judge of whether what the client wants to do will meet the required standards. Also, we do not have the time to consult Washington D.C. every time we have a question. Section 4.1.2 (7) "...Signs which designate permanent rooms and spaces shall comply...". What specifically is a permanent room or space. Many room usages change over time, so is the room number the only identification that is considered permanent, or is the function to be indicated with raised lettering as well? Is a company logo; eq. Coca Cola, required to be in raised lettering as well? 01-00682 Is raised lettering to be only 1/32" in thickness, or can it have more thickness? The study included in the enclosed article tested 1/8" thick letters as well. I have read articles that suggest that each time a "permanent" sign is changed that the replacement should meet the new standards. Is this correct, or will a change be required only when an area is totally renovated or remodeled?

Section 4.30.6 "...Mounting height shall be 60 inches...to centerline of sign " If several signs are used at the same doorway; e.q. room number, room function, occupant's names; and stacked one above the other, which is used for the centerline measurement? Section 4.30.7 (2) What does the pictorial look like for the "sign depiction of a telephone handset with radiating sound waves.", or is this sign provided with the telephone itself? 4.1.6 (1)(h) "...signage at non-accessible entrance..." Is this required to have raised letters and braille? Section 4.30.4 states "...upper case, san serif or simple serif type and be accompanied with Grade 2 braille..." Specifically what letter styles fall into this category and where is the braille to be located on the sign? Section 4.30.3 states "...lower case characters are allowed." and Section 4.30.4 states "...letters and numerals shall be...upper case...". Specifically where are upper case letters required and lower case letters allowed? Section 4.30.4 states "Border dimension of pictogram shall be 6 in. minimum in height." Does this refer to the size of the pictogram itself, or the overall sign? Also, does border mean the sign must have a separate border or frame, or is the edge of the plate considered a border? The information I have been receiving seems to be contradictory with regard to the date of compliance for existing businesses. Assuming no physical alterations or new construction are planned by an existing business, when must this business comply with the law; specifically regarding the changing of their signage to comply with this law? 01-00683​Congressman Horton, as we discussed last week, I still do not understand why engraved signage is no longer allowed for "permanent" signage. It can be read tactily, is less expensive, and is usually less subject to vandalism; a major concern to my clients. As I mentioned in my last letter to

you, a similar law in Connecticut was amended to include engraved signs because blind people testified that they could read an engraved sign as well as raised letters. Also, please refer to the section of the Engravers Journal article that I have attached which also addresses this subject. In conclusion, I want to reiterate that we wish to help our clients comply fully with a law whose purpose we completely agree with which is why we are requesting clarification on certain points. However, we would like to see engraved signage included in the allowable signs for the reasons stated above and in my earlier correspondence. As we discussed before.......If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Sincerely, Susan Yara 01-00684