Question: How do I know if my sign(s) require Braille (and the tactile text that goes along with it)?
We can answer this question, and even provide you with the specific codes that back it up! But first…
Braille Signs and Alphabet Soup
A lot of acronyms are used when discussing building inspection requirements, and ADA signs are no exception. The list below can be referred to for our answer below:
- ADA = The Americans With Disabilities Act (1990)
- Civil Rights law prohibiting discrimination based on disability.
- ADASAD = ADA Standards for Accessible Design (1994)
- Requires that signs designating permanent rooms and spaces must have raised characters and Braille (ADASAD 4.1.3).
- ADAAG = Americans With Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (2010)
- Stipulates a Braille standard for those ADA signs requiring Braille
- CBC = California Building Standards Code, Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations
- Codes established based on criteria based on national model codes, and standards passed by the California legislature that address concerns specific to California.
Answer: Signs designating permanent rooms and spaces must have raised characters and Braille (ADASAD 4.1.3).
- Braille shall be contracted (Grade 2), with specs for cell dimensions, dot height and cell spacing (ADAAG 703.3, CBC 11B-703.3)
- California standards stipulate additional situations where Braille signs are required, including exit signs, floor identification signs, means of egress signs, and area of refuge signs (CBC 11B-216.2, 11B-216.4).
- Directional and informational signs are not required to have Braille (CBC 11B-216.3).
- Local building codes and their enforcement officials do have jurisdiction to require Braille in additional situations not required by state of federal regulations.
- Braille signs may be, and often are included in many areas where not required as we become more attentive to the needs of people with visual impairments.
But … What is “California Braille?”
The ADAAG and the CBC differ in their Braille spacing guidelines. ADAAG allows for a range of spacing between Braille dots in a cell as well as dots in adjacent cells. California Braille specifies that the spacings must be the maximum values allowed for in the ADAAG, believing that the readability is enhanced with the greater spacing.
Still looking for more information about the California Title Restroom Signs? Check out our blog post about the Mystery of California Title 24 Restroom Door Signs!
Alpha Dog ADA Signs uses Grade 2, California Standards for Braille in the manufacturing of Braille signs, satisfying both Federal and California regulations and allowing for a single dot configuration no matter which state your signs are headed to.
Looking for more information about Braille? Check out our When Do ADA Signs need Braille blog post.