Sign & Digital Graphics

November '12

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(Photo courtesy of Gemini Inc.) Ignoring com- pliance rules can lead to great financial penalties, so it's best that both you and your clients are familiar with regulations. offer more flexibility when it comes to sign design, Welch says. In the past, some of the regulations were strict, leaving little room to stray, but now sign shops can experiment with greater creative freedom. "There's been more middle ground between the ADA and the building code," Welch says. "While you do have regula- tions you have to follow, there's a little more leeway. They certainly are not any oppressive regulations; they're some- thing you can work with." For instance, in regards to color con- trast, the previous regulation required the hues to differ by a certain percent- age, Harris says, but under the new pro- visions, this is no longer the case. The colors simply must contrast. New Business Could Stem As these new ADA regulations are now (Photo courtesy Gravograph) in effect, McMahon expects to see new business in the next few years. Although those in the sign industry are aware of the new regulations, it is ultimately the design community that will influence implementation on large projects. Sign shops inspectors, however, will have the most influence on existing buildings that do not meet the new compliance stan- dards. Adjusting To The Changes To abide by these compliance changes, there is a significant financial investment involved, McMahon says. Updating templates, attending training sessions and conducting research are all costly in terms of financial investment as well as hours spent. "We have had to review and make changes to over 14,000 shop drawings and completely audit our manufactur- ing templates and product database," McMahon says. "This went along with hours and hours of re-training of staff. Prior to implementation of the changes to the law, we spent thousands of dollars attending seminars and doing research in preparation for implementation, and we are still wrapping up updating key por- tions of our training manuals. I wouldn't wish this process on any business person." Still, the new regulations are not going away, and it is better to make the changes now than suffer the financial consequences later. In fact, the financial consequences are so great that the pen- alties can be up to $55,000 for the first violation and $110,000 for subsequent violations, Harris says. While it may be costly to update templates and invest in retraining, that price tag is still much less than that of penalties. Falling behind in ADA compliance can also damage a sign shop's relationship with clients, which not only hurts financially but also risks tarnishing the sign shop's reputation. Although the new regulations pose a financial burden on sign shops, they also 80 • November 2012 • SIGN & DIGITAL GRAPHICS "Many large building segments, like the hospitality and apartment segment, are very keen to upgrade their facilities now to avoid legal action, but like many businesses, the economy is holding them back, and there are a host of other very onerous new non sign regulations to comply with," McMahon says. In Harris's experience, the influx of new business is already happening, and much of this is due to the increases in policing of the new regulations as state and county governments are coming down hard on the new regulations, he says. Between the increased enforce- ment, financial repercussions and status with clients, sign shops are not waiting to be told their signs fail to comply. Instead, sign shops are being proac- tive and looking to make the required changes now. SDG ARCHITECTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL

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