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How to Create an ADA Sign Audit Without the Headaches

Planning for an ADA signage project is not only a matter of design, but also compliance. The laws that govern tactile signs, the Americans with Disabilities Act, carry consequences for building owners when not followed, so it is up to designers and architects to ensure that their clients remain compliant every step of the way.

The best way to begin this process is with a simple ADA sign audit, which is also known as a message schedule This will help teams identify which signs a building needs and where they need to be placed. Whether you are working on a single building or an entire campus, follow these steps to get started.

Step#1: Obtain All Applicable Plans

Building/Campus architects should have all the necessary facility plans and campus maps. These will help identify emergency exits and evacuation routes, as well as determine the function of any rooms located within the building.

Any additional fire and safety codes (based on state law) should be compiled, as well.

Step #2: Identify Permanent Spaces

Using the facility plans, teams should begin marking off rooms that must be labeled with the appropriate ADA signs. 

According to ADA signage requirements, rooms that have a permanent function (i.e. bathrooms, etc.) must be labeled with identifiable tactile signs. There must also be signs that give information or direction about permanent rooms located throughout the building.

See a full list of tactile signs that every building is required to have.

Step #3: Create a Database of Signs and Locations

Sign types, locations and any other specifications (i.e. size, color, content, etc.) can be tracked using a spreadsheet or database program. This will keep track of the amount of signs required that need to manufactured. When referenced alongside a map of the facility or campus, this will also help create an ADA compliant evacuation plan that directs people towards the nearest exit. These plans are required to be displayed on every floor of a building.

Step #4: Start Designing Signs Today

Our 101400 Studio makes it easy for sign designers to get project tailored specifications in minutes. You can select from a variety of tactile sign styles and colors, input your project specifications and simply download your design drawings instantly. It’s completely free to and very easy for designers to use.


If you have any questions about our signs or our thermoforming process, contact our team today.

A Gold Timex to Photopolymer ADA Signage!

Thanks for your service to industry for the last 25 years. Photopolymer signs have been the predominant choice of designers for tactile ADA signage for a quarter of a century. Thankfully, at the inception of ADA legislation in the late 80’s and early 90’s photopolymer signs provided a standard process and uniform look for ADA signage. 

Without photopolymer ADA signs, designers in the 90’s would have chosen sub-standard, ineffective and random sign designs for their building environments. 

Before Beanie Babies, the World Wide Web, and before anyone understood the importance of branding…. photopolymer signs made it easier to outfit a building with ADA signs.  Even after the Japanese tsunami forced core prices to double, photopolymer signs remained the only good choice for designers. Thankfully, new technology has finally evolved. 

Thermoformed ADA signs give designers the creative latitude and durability that designers need to meet their client’s branding needs, at an appealing price point.  It’s no surprise that according to Dodge Analytics, “Thermoformed ADA signs” saw an increase of 237% in Specifications in 2016. Thermoformed signs are now universally acknowledged in Specs as an “approved equal” to photopolymer signs and that’s a big win for ADA thermoforming manufacturers. Those who really know about the differences between photopolymer ADA signs and thermoformed ADA signs are knocking clients off their feet with new ideas never available until now.

Photopolymer signs are still plenty viable.  There are over 3,000 sign-makers that still maintain their relationship with the two surviving raw material photopolymer providers. Machinery needed to produce these signs still exists and is almost free to get started; it’s the raw photopolymer material price increases to watch out for...  While Father Time and new technology may have caught up to photopolymers signs, their contribution and service to the industry over the last 25 years certainly must be treasured!   

To learn how to use this new thermoforming ADA technology and provide your design team a new design tool belt, durability and scalable branding offering, follow this link http://www.encompasssign.com/gallery/ or simply contact us 763.270.4353

Heather M.: Heatherm@emcompasssign.com

About Encompass Sign Systems

Encompass Sign Systems specializes in thermoformed tactile signs and leading-edge directional and wayfinding systems. We provide designers and architects with highly scalable wholesale signage that have limitless branding capabilities and unsurpassed durability.