Originally posted on February 22, 2012 by Ryan
In 2010, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued revised requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding accessible swimming pools. In light of these new regulations, many community associations have approached me with questions regarding their association’s compliance. This article seeks to address those concerns and provide a brief summary of the scope of the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design.
The ADA strives to provide equal opportunity to people with disabilities. Title II of the ADA applies to state and local government services and Title III applies to public accommodations and commercial facilities. The updated swimming pool accessibility provisions are intended to affect all newly constructed, altered and existing swimming pools with very limited exceptions. However, privately owned community associations are generally not encompassed under the ADA.
Title III defines a public accommodation as a facility owned by a private entity whose operations affect commerce. In order to fall under the purview of the ADA, a community association must be engaged in commerce. This would include, by way of example, selling memberships to the general public, providing a place of lodging to the public (e.g. hotels, “condotels,” and resorts), offering swimming lessons to the general public, or hosting swim meets or events where the public is invited to access the pool.
If the community association is a public accommodation, there must be an accessible means of entry and exit on all newly constructed and altered swimming pools, wading pools and spas on or after March 15, 2012. Existing pools must be brought into compliance to the extent that it is readily achievable on or after March 15, 2012. This readily achievable standard takes into consideration financial constraints and overall feasibility.
Larger pools, those with more than 300 linear feet of pool wall, are required to have two accessible means of entry, one of which must be a sloped entry. Smaller pools are only required to have one accessible means of entry, which can be either a lift or a sloped entry. Public accommodations also must consider maintenance and staff training as it relates to the accessible features. Tax credits and deductions are available through the IRS for small businesses making these accessible means of entry.
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