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ADA Compliance for Public Pools and Spas - More than just adding a chair lift!

Posted by paragonpools on January 12, 2013 at 10:10 PM

As the ADA deadline approaches (January 31, 2013), public pool owners are scrambling to bring their properties into compliance.  However, what we are finding is that many properties require a more in-depth plan than just adding a chair lift. We have had to improvise and become very creative in finding ways for our clients to meet the new requirements.

What I have found in inspecting existing projects,especially with the smaller facilities is that the pool and spa areas are rather limited in space to readily be able to just drop a chair lift in place. It’s not just a matter of adding a chair lift for access into the body of water; the ADA compliance law also requires adequate wheel chair access to reach the lift.

Poolside chair lifts require approximately a seven foot radius of operating space, in many cases that space is not available without violating other health department or building codes.  Other obstacles we have run across is avoiding blocking exit doors, fire extinguishers, and other structural confines where the chair lift cannot function properly.

In other instances, the spa is located on a different level than the pool with only stair access. The spa will not only require a lift but will also require modifications to construct a ramp to make the spa and chair lift accessible to individuals with disabilities. Achieving the space necessary for a ramp is not always available- ADA ramp slope requirements are 1 foot (in height) to 12 feet (in length);therefore other resolutions must be found.

An alternative to a chair lift would be to construct a ramp inside the pool. Following the specific guidelines outlined by the ADA, thisoption is not always viable due to space limitations especially with existing projects.

The ADA pool and spa compliance act not only affects the numerous resort pools up and down the tourism corridor of the Las Vegas strip, the mandate also relates to the all public pools throughout the city and across the nation.

Those who can’t meet the deadline because of circumstances that require major or extreme modifications must provide a detailed plan and timetable for executing the ADA compliance strategy.

ADA compliance is not a simple issue, and non-compliance could open an entity to a law suit.  I recommend for facility owners to contact an APSP pool professional to assist in determining if the facility requires ADA compliance and to provide a barrier removal analysis.  For additional information contact me at Joseph M. Vassallo, CBP, President of Paragon Pools at 702.400.0679 or go to ADA.gov.



 

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