I had a client email me to ask if he was required by the ADA compliance to install a pool lift;
“One of our properties is in the process of building a pool which will open in May. It is a Tax Credit property. Do we have to install a lift chair due to the new ADA rule? It would be a private pool. I get a lot of folks saying we probably do, the pool company saying definitely, and our CA saying maybe. It will cost $15,000 roughly. Thanks”
I am not sure what the numbers are on HUD affordable housing subsidized properties that have pools. They are a huge liability and the costs…well I am sure it’s not cheap once you add the cost of the pool, the maintenance, the filters, liners and covers. But if you already are shelling out for those expenses…what’s one more when it comes to complying with the ADA guidelines for providing equal access to and the use of programs of activities. If you already have an existing pool and have had to provide for a Reasonable Accommodations for a lift to the pool, then you are already steps ahead and are in Fair Housing heaven! But if you haven’t gotten that far…read on!
Title II Program Accessibility
Individuals with disabilities cannot be excluded from or denied participation in State and local government programs, services, or activities because a facility is inaccessible or unusable. This means that all programs, services, and activities, when viewed in their entirety, must be accessible to individuals with disabilities unless doing so results in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program or in an undue financial and administrative burden. This requirement is known as “program accessibility.”
The swimming pool, wading pool, and spa guidelines that are now part of the ADA law are virtually the same for both Public Entities (Title II) and Public Accommodations (Title III) facilities. They stipulate that any swimming pool with under 300 linear feet of pool wall must provide one means of access, and that means must be either a pool lift or a sloped entry. In addition, any pool that has over 300 linear feet of pool wall must provide two means of access, which can be any of the five designated means of access: pool lifts, sloped entries, transfer walls, transfer systems, or accessible pool stairs. The criteria that each of these means of access must meet can be found in chapter 10, section 1009 of the revised ADA guidelines. Wading pools must have one means of entry and that must be a sloped entry. Spas, both in-ground and portable, also must have one means of entry, which can be either a lift, transfer wall, or transfer system. The specific requirements that swimming pools, wading pools and spas must meet can be found in chapter 2, section 242 of the revised ADA guidelines.
Just like any investments…Research, Research and Research! Find a reputable pool lift manufacturer where you know it will last and you won’t have to spend the money twice. The different pool companies will push to sell theirs but make sure you learn to ask the right questions…and you can also check with other owners to see what features they like about the lifts they purchased and what features they don’t like. The original article I read in the USA Today newspaper mentioned that Hotels were under the gun to get the lifts installed…you can ask them since they did some of the research for you already.