Significant Victory for Sign Professionals in ICC A117.1 Committee

ICCISA staff and volunteers on ISA’s ADA and Building Codes Subcommittee worked within the International Code Council’s A117.1 committee to defeat several proposed changes to the Standard for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities that, if implemented, would have been difficult to measure, enforce, or demonstrate compliance.

Recently, five very significant changes were proposed to the ICC A117.1 standard that would have negatively impacted how sign professionals work to design, fabricate, and install accessible signs on permanent rooms and spaces.

ISA and its SEGD partners have been strongly opposed to these changes since their release in February 2022 and were prepared to argue tirelessly to defeat these proposals on their merits

Faced with significant industry opposition, the five proposals were “recommended for disapproval.” The five proposals included:

Proposal 07-06  (Visual character height increase from 5/8-inch to 1-inch)
– Disapproved 23-0-2 on February 2, 2023

Proposal 07-08  (Contrast formula for signs)
– Disapproved 26-0-2 on February 2, 2023

Proposal 01-05  (Definitions of contrast terms)
– Disapproved 26-1-1 on February 2, 2023

Proposal 05-13  (Contrast formula for stair striping)
– Disapproved 25-0-1 on February 2, 2023

Proposal 07-19  (Contrast formula for detectable warning surfaces)
Disapproved 25-0-1 on February 2, 2023

Other changes were approved by the full A117.1 committee; generally, ISA and SEGD voted in favor of the successful proposals. Among these changes are:

  • Clarifications about when visual characters are required below pictograms;
  • Raised characters are to be horizontally oriented; Braille characters also are to be horizontally oriented;
  • Braille characters already must be 3/8-inch minimum separated from raised characters, now also 1/2-inch maximum;
  • Changes to the symbols used and locations posted for assistive listening systems, sign language interpretation,  and visual relay service booths.;
  • Variable message sign rules amended to address messages incorporating multiple screens (and not just a single frame); and
  • Deleting rules for the obsolete Remote Infrared Audible Sign system technology.

The first draft for the next edition of the manual will be released for public review this summer without the new language that ISA & SEGD had opposed.

ISA’s ADA and Building Codes Subcommittee will continue to monitor the situation and work to guide the ICC toward effective codes and regulations for the sign, graphics and visual communications industry.

ISA is represented on the ICC A117.1 Committee by Glenn Dea AIA (Collaborative Access Studio/Cypress, CA), Lucy Pereira (APCO Signs/Atlanta, GA), and Kenny Peskin (ISA/Alexandria, VA).

—Press Release