Due to the 2010 Standards, the ADA requires that any new or newly altered swimming pool, wading pool and spa have an accessible means of entrance and exit for those with disabilities. For the first time, recreational facilities are being forced to be more accommodating and accessible to people with disabilities. These requirements are only put into effect immediately if providing this access is “readily achievable.” This means that if the access can’t be accomplished without excessive expenses or difficulty, the facility can continue to follow the 1991 standards, but must comply with these standards through other means, even if a pool lift is not immediately in their future.
According to the ADA regulations, these fixed pool lifts must be placed in the pool in an area that is not deeper than 48 inches. Unless the entire pool exceeds this depth, these regulations must be followed. The center of the seat in a raised position must not be more than 16 inches from the edge of the pool. The area next to the seat on the deck must be clear for at least 36 inches wide and 48 inches forward. The seat width must be 16 inches wide minimum. These guidelines allow for the maximum amount of accessibility for those with disabilities. If a business has a portable pool lift, it is encouraged that they look into kits to fix the pool lift permanently. The goal is to accommodate those with disabilities without requiring them to request the additional assistance.
Different Facilities, Different Requirements
Different types of pools require different types of entry regulations. Newly constructed or altered pools are now required to have one or two means of entry and exit, depending on their size. Large pools, those with 300 linear feet of pool wall or more, must have two accessible means of entry and exit, with one being a fixed pool lift or sloped entry. The other may be a transfer wall, transfer system or pool stairs. Small pools are being required to have at least one accessible means of entry, specifically either a fixed pool lift or sloped entry. Wave action, leisure river or other pools where user entry is limited to one area is required only to have a sloped entry, pool lift or transfer systems. Spas can choose from lifts, transfer walls, or transfer systems.
Those facilities constructed or altered before September 15, 2010 can adhere to the 1991 Standards. Facilities constructed or altered on or after September 15, 2010 and before March 15, 2012 can adhere to 1991 or 2010 standards. Those constructed or altered on or after March 15, 2012 must follow the 2010 standards. As each facility gets redone, these pools will eventually all follow the 2010 guidelines to better accommodate those with disabilities.