Facility Managers should also know that these guidelines are not set in stone. They are fluid, changing from time to time. This means that if the facility is not up to code when inspected, Facility Managers can be fined.
To ensure this does not happen and stay compliant, the first step managers should take when addressing signage issues is to approach their facility as if they are a first-time visitor. Start from the street and check the following:
Does outdoor signage adequately identify the building so that a visitor in a car has enough time to see the signs, slow down, and safely turn into a facility parking lot?
Once parked, are there signs indicating where to enter the facility and where mail, delivery, and service entrances are located?
Are pedestrian walkways clearly marked, providing all of the same information as for drivers?
Another concern should be how the signage looks and how it is laid out. Poor signage can leave a negative impression on visitors and building users. To prevent this, check to see if the signs are clean; if bulbs have burnt-out; if bulbs are bright enough so that the message on the sign is clear; and if they are laid out in such a way that they guide the building user, in a step-by-step manner, to their destination.
This leads us to our next point about signage. Once in the facility, will a visitor know how to get to their destination? To address this, Facility Managers should again tour their properties as if they are a first-time visitor. They should also be aware that there are three types of “way-finding” signage. These are the following:
Directional Signage. These signs direct building users where to go in a facility. This would include a tenant directory, including the floor and room number of a particular office. Once on that floor, additional signage would indicate directions to that specific location or office. Further, names and numbers should be posted outside of that specific location to confirm that visitors have reached their destination.
Conformational Signage. We most often see conformational signage in very large facilities such as airports and convention centers. Even hotels that have their own convention centers, seminar areas, and ballrooms need conformational signage, which is a sign that confirms a visitor is going in the right direction. We have all likely had an experience where we were unsure where we were going in a large facility. Conformational signage helps eliminate this.
Informational signage. Similar to conformational signage, informational signage is most often found in large facilities used by large numbers of building users. A perfect example is signage in an airport indicating where a particular flight is arriving or departing. In a convention center or hotel, once the visitor has reached their destination, informational signage will indicate specifically in which room or area their event is being held.
One more point we should make. If new signs are needed, it is often best to stick with simple signs that are easy to read. More expensive, “decorator-type” signs are not only costlier, but they also tend to go out of fashion rather quickly. A more traditional sign is less costly and can do its job for years to come.