Need ASME Code Interpretation

Hello, everyone, from an ADA section visitor:

I have a sign company, and was called by the contractor we're doing work for a public school in Los Angeles to add some signs that are required, according to the elevator inspector, inside the elevator machine rooms. I think that normally the elevator manufacturer must provide these, but for some reason we are being called on to do it, although our major work is braille and other accessible signs.

I was stunned to be told by the contractor that the text on the sign, which supposedly has quite a lengthy text, must be 4 inches high! The sign will have be about 55 inches wide and 24 inches high, using upper and lower case and the text I am imagining: "Maximum Allowable Floor Load / xxxx lbs", if the characters are actually 4 inches high, measured by the uppercase characters. Increase the sign width to 66 inches if the inspector insists on all uppercase characters.

However, when I read the code, which is quoted from ASME A17.1-1996, I think it is just the usual badly written code -- pretty much always the case for sections about signs, since they are almost always written without the aid of graphics experts. I think that it is really dictating that the entire text be 4 inches high, or maybe even that the sign blank be 4 inches high. If the text, displayed in 3 lines, is 1 inch high, that would be about 4 inches high including text and the space between the lines. It's a stupid way to write a graphics requirement, but it seems reasonable to interpret it that way.

What do you think? Can the code really be asking for individual 4 inch high letters, or is this just a contractor who doesn't realize he's dealing with ungrammatical code language? Has anyone seen such signs that are that large? I know the load signs in elevators aren't that large.

I'd appreciate any help you can give me, so I can pass it on to the contractor.

ASME A17.1-1996

"A sign stating the maximum allowable load for which the floor is designed shall be prominently displayed in all main and secondary machine room spaces. The sign shall be of metal with black letters and figures at least 4 in. (102 mm) high on a white background."

Sharon Toji
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