Although, we are primarily a residential swimming pool company, we thought that the following information may be helpful to some readers of our blog.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Standards for Accessible Design, which goes into effect March 15, 2011, establishes detailed guidelines for accessibility to certain commercial swimming pools, wading pools, and spas. The purpose is to make these public areas usable by persons with disabilities. Facilities that are not in compliance could face lawsuits that would force them to remedy the violation. Existing swimming pools falling under the ADA rules have until March 15, 2012 to get in compliance while new commercial swimming pools being constructed, must comply as of March 15, 2011.
Title II (Public Industry) and Title III (Private Industry) of the ADA apply to swimming pools. These sections prohibit disability discrimination by public entities and commercial facilities. Examples of Title II facilities include municipalities, cities, counties, and school districts. Examples of Title III facilities include recreational facilities, hotels, and places of education.
Entities falling under Title II and Title III will be required to provide “accessible means of entry for pools”. The type of means of access that is required, depends on the structure. Any commercial pool containing more than 300 linear feet of pool perimeter walls, will be required to provide two means of access that are wheelchair accessible. The means of access can be any two of the five designated means of access. They include, pool lifts, sloped entries or ramps, transfer walls, transfer systems, or accessible pool stairs. Each of these means must meet certain criteria. Pools with less than 300 feet of perimeter walls will require at least one mean of access, either a pool lift or a sloped entry (ramp). Wading pools will be required to have a sloped entry. While spas will be required to provide a pool lift, transfer wall, or transfer system which resembles a small set of portable stairs. Wave pools and lazy river pools will only be required one means of access such as a pool lift, sloped entry, or transfer system.ADA pool guidelines
Although there are some exclusions to these guidelines, “given the flexibility and cost of a pool lift, it would be very difficult for any entity to escape their responsibility to provide access to a swimming pool”.
The exact requirements for Title II and Title III entities can be found in Chapter 2, section 242 of the revised ADA guidelines; whereas, the criteria for each of the means of access can be found in Chapter 10, section 1009 of the revised ADA guidelines.
More information can be found at www.ADA.gov.
Contact your local pool service company to make sure your existing commercial swimming pool is in compliance with the new ADA guidelines.