So your installation team finally finished putting 377 new signs in the new four-story wing of the big building a couple of zip codes away. And a few days later the building owner calls, his hair on fire because he’d just been slapped with a $75,000 fine because the ADA signs you made were out of compliance. And you have to correct the problem or pony up the cash for the fine.
This is not your first rodeo, so you know the fine can disappear if the signs are done over in full compliance. But, you thought they were OK, to begin with, so what do you do? You start by calling the company that sold you the materials used. And it turns out they don’t know enough. Maybe that is part of the problem.
“Non-compliance issues can be a bit like a speeding ticket,” says Dave Miller, Managing Director at Nova Polymers. “They can be worked out and made to go away, but it takes some effort. In this case, the building owner is responsible, but the buck can be passed downstream to the architect, the sign designer and ultimately the fabricator.”
Adding complexity, architects can have a lot of clout in such situations, and because he/she often controls sub-contractors like sign fabricators, the real-world responsibility lands on your desk. Which means you have to fix the problem. So you get to work, starting with calls to some suppliers.
Learn more, get Smarter
Next, plan on attending the lead-off session at Sign Expo 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada for a deep dive into the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There you will learn about the critical importance of ADA compliance and how to ensure the signs you specify, design or produce are fully compliant with ADA regulations and can help keep your company off the radar of inspectors who view compliance as a quest akin to that for the Holy Grail.
For example, ADA signs are checked for compliance for the grade or “type” or Braille being use, character size, character and background color contrast, height above the floor, distance from a doorway, fonts used, the height of braille characters, and more. Take a casual view of any of these at your peril. Just last week one of our team at Nova Polymers was in a hotel that was newer construction where many of its ADA signs were no longer in compliance.
A Little Breathing Room
Ten states (California, D.C., Florida, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington) already have departments that actively inspect public buildings for ADA compliance. All 50 states will likely an equivalent enforcement group within the next 5-7 years. If you live in one of the 40 that don’t yet have active enforcement groups this window most likely gives you the time to make sure you institute the technologies, practices, policies, and procedures that can help ensure every ADA sign your company produces is fully compliant. No one wants to take that call from the building owner about signs being out of compliance.
Do You Know What You Don’t Know?
So how do you learn what you need to know? You can—and should—study all the rules and be sure any signs your company produces are in full compliance. Reach out to an expert supplier of ADA signage materials, such as Nova Polymers, to make sure every sign you make will satisfy the inspectors. Nova Polymers is an ISO 9001:2015 compliant company, and GSA approved. After all, your company’s reputation and skills are in play, and you need to be confident that all your work is in total ADA compliance.
Above all, gather advice from experts. Your next opportunity to do this is at Sign Expo in Las Vegas, April 23-27, 2019. Leading off the conference sessions on April 24, Bob Greenberger will provide the in-depth detail sign fabricators need to not only stay current with ADA regulations but also provide a heads-up about how to avoid code violations. The fast-paced session will cover the ADA and its standards, how rules vary by state, which signs are covered by ADA regs, how rules differ in the U.S., Canada, and Australia, and how the correct use of photopolymer technology works to produce attractive, useful, durable, and fully compliant signs that can satisfy every requirement you are likely to encounter.
As you may have guessed from the scenario described at the beginning of this article, non-compliance can be very expensive ($75,000 to $150,000), and no fabricator, architect, sign designer, or building owner ever wants to be caught in the cross-hairs of an ADA inspection team. When in Las Vegas at Sign Expo take the time to learn how consistently producing ADA compliant signage makes the job of inspectors and regulators easy because every sign you manufacture is consistent with ones built in the past and compliant in every way with all ADA rules and regulations. And makes you look all the more professional, too.
And while you’re in Las Vegas…
Take a few minutes to visit Nova Polymers in Booth 2317 and ask about the Sign Expo special for 2019. When you sign an agreement for a new machine at Sign Expo, you receive two days of onsite training with Brad Sorrow, National Sales Director, and one day of onsite ADA training, moving you one step closer to profitability with photopolymer technology.
One More Thing
Finally, be sure to get your free show pass by visiting SignExpo2019.com, and while you’re on that site, make an appointment to meet with a Nova Polymers signage specialist to help you to steer clear of running afoul of any ADA regulations on your next project.