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Pat Hodges

Building Directories

General Comment or Question

Re: 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design Pocket Guide / 216 Signs

Pat Hodges | March 03, 2022 at 10:03AM (edited)

Question: We have a five-story office building that is three years old. Since the building opened, there have been complaints that the directory's tenant names in our Lobby are hard to read: some people who have complained also say that this in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I have read that directories are not required to comply with the ADA. Which is right?

Answer: While the ADA Standards at 216 (see below) specifically exempt building directories from complying with the ADA, there is a requirement in the ADA's Title III Regulations at §36.303(c)(1) (see below) that a public accommodation must furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to assure effective communication with individuals with disabilities. Possible alternatives to the building directory include: 1) paper handouts in large type or; 2) interactive electronic devices where a visitor to the building enters a tenant's name and the tenant's suite number is displayed or; 3) information or security desks where the employees are trained to assist visitors with disabilities or; 4) a closed circuit house phone in the vicinity of the directory.

216 Signs

216.1 General. Signs shall be provided in accordance with 216 and shall comply with 703.

EXCEPTIONS 1. Building directories, menus, seat and row designations in assembly areas, occupant names, building addresses, and company names and logos shall not be required to comply with 216.


§36.303 Auxiliary aids and services.

(c) Effective communication.

(1) A public accommodation shall furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities. This includes an obligation to provide effective communication to companions who are individuals with disabilities.

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