The Edge - Q2 2012 - (Page 10)
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT |
by John Caden
A New Opportunity for the Pool Industry
Editor’s Note: On March 20, 2012, the Justice Department announced a 60-day postponement of the implementation of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility requirements for pools and spas. These requirements will now take effect on May 21, 2012; however, another extension is anticipated in order to allow pool owners and operators additional time to address misunderstandings regarding the requirements and their application to existing pools and spas.
AS A RESULT of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, citizens of our country have been introduced to architectural features such as curb cuts on city streets, ramps leading into buildings, accessible restrooms and handicapped parking places. These features were developed to remove barriers and to provide an accessible environment for people with disabilities. While there are some who may view these features as troublesome, two groups of people have greatly benefitted from them. Obviously, people with disabilities have been able to integrate into mainstream society more easily because of these barrier removal modifications. The other group that has derived benefits from these features is the people who install them. In July of 2010, the Department of Justice issued a revision to the ADA that broadened the scope of elements within our society that are required to be barrier-free. Included in this group are public swimming pools. Needless to say, operators of such pools will face challenges in implementing these new requirements. However, for people with disabilities and companies that
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remove the barriers, these new regulations provide new opportunities.
A QUICK REVIEW OF ADA REGULATIONS
Who is affected? Pools that fall under ADA jurisdiction are public pools that are located in facilities such as park and recreation departments, schools, hotels, health clubs and community centers. Residential pools, such as those located in apartment buildings, condominiums and home owners associations, are normally exempt from ADA regulations; however, there are certain circumstances that would include these kinds of pools. Private clubs are likewise exempt, however, they would fall under the ADA if they rented their facility to non-members for outings. What types of pools are affected? The ADA regulations provide requirements for virtually every type of pool, including swimming pools, spas, wading pools, wave action pools and leisure rivers. Natural bodies of water, such as lakes and oceans, are not included in the regulations; neither are catch pools, which are pools located at the bottom of a slide or flume ride.
How do pools become accessible? There are five permitted means of access for swimming facilities: swimming pool lifts, sloped entries, transfer walls, transfer systems and accessible pool stairs. Different types of pools have different requirements for the type of access to be used. In addition, there are also specific requirements for the means of access to ensure consistency in their operation, installation and design. When do the regulations go into effect? Actually, the regulations are in effect right now and full compliance will be expected after May 21, 2012. Are older pools grandfathered? The term that the ADA uses to describe grandfathering is “safe harbor,” and it applies to elements that were part of the original regulations and were changed in 2010. Since there were no requirements for pools in the original regulations, there is nothing to grandfather. Consequently, all pools must comply with the ADA regulations. How fully must pools comply? New pools under construction and pools undergoing modifications must fully comply with ADA regulations. Existing pools must comply with the regulations
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Edge - Q2 2012
The President’s Message
Implementation of ADA
Service Gold At Pool World, ‘it’s customer service fi rst to last.’
Add Solar Heating to Your Off erings Th is Season
Adding to Your Sales Presentations With Computer-Aided Design
Index of Advertisers
The Edge - Q2 2012