Building Codes and Inspections/finding a braille dot tool


I'm currently doing T-24 accessibility inspections and have broken my braille dot tool, I'm required to check all the braille signs for the county / city buildings. Where and who sells these grade 2 tools?
Thanks Lucas

We sell a packet with the braille dot tool and templates to check character and stroke width as well. It is $25 plus tax.  If I can say so, it's ridiculous to have to check every single sign in terms of braille spacing. Once they have a router or other means of making the braille signs, and the distances are set, they will all be the correct distance. It won't vary from sign to sign.

If they actually want you to proofread the braille, we do have a CD with 200 of the most used sign terms. It has been checked for correctness by the Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco's certified braille transcriber. The cost is $50.00.

You can order these and other aids we have, such as our manual, by calling Joan at extension 106, at 562 423-6600.

You can also check out our website for other materials.

Sharon Toji

Lucas has commented that the code calls for the inspector to verify the spacing on braille. Of course he is correct. I wrote pretty much this entire section of the code myself, together with John Paul Scott, who now is the ADA coordinator for the Port of San Francisco, and also a long-time ANSI voting delegate.

This rule was added to the California code, and I helped to negotiate it upon the request of the California Council of the Blind, working with then Senator Ortiz's office. It was in response to the fact that inspectors were generally just ignoring the signs completely. I even had an inspector tell me that he glanced as he walked by, and "if it has bumps, I pass it."

However, I do not believe that the intent was for inspectors to measure every single braille dot on every single sign in a project. There are hospitals and colleges with thousands of signs.

For instance, if a specific type of hardware is specified, and all the doors have that hardware, the inspector is not charged with separately inspecting each piece of hardware. People who understand how braille is fabricated, and that includes most code officials who have had any kind of training on the topic, know that once the computer is set up with the software to drill the holes to make the braille, if one sign has the correct braille spacing, they will all have the correct spacing. Just to make sure, I would set up a process of spot checking every so many signs, such as every 10th sign, or even random signs. It would be very strange if you would find that there was random spacing on the dots, unless the signs have not been made using a computer. I frankly have never seen a project where a computer did not generate the braille artwork, although I have seen many projects where California spacing was not used. That can be determined by checking just one sign! Again, if the first sign is incorrect, check a few more, and as long as it is part of the same construction project, they will all be the same, either right or wrong.

Sharon Toji

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Sharon Toji


I have special expertise in the subject of accessibility codes and guidelines (ADA), and most specifically in the field of signage. If you have a question that is not about the ADA or about signs, I suggest you try the following excellent site: Naffa International BCDG (Building Code Discussion Group). The website address is You do have to register, but it's free. You will find discussions here on all kinds of Building Code Q & A topics. You go to the forum that sounds as if it's close to your topic, check out some of the posts and see if it sounds like a fit. Then pose your question. With luck, you may get some really good answers. You can email some of the experts individually by clicking on the headings of their posts. When you ask a question, of me, or of someone on the above site, tell them your state, and maybe your city if it's a large city. That is crucial for answering code questions. Sharon Toji


I am a voting delegate to the American National Standards Institute that writes accessiblity standards used by the International Building Code and are the basis for the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). I am also a member of the Access Advisory Committee to the California State Building Standards Commission, among other positions.

Signs and the ADA (a manual I have written that is used across the country), and articles in many trade journals.

BA, Reed College Graduate work, University of Munich (Germany) and University of California, Irvine

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