Summer is coming.
It’s time to get your pools fun and sun-ready, and ADA compliant.
We’ve outlined a checklist of what is required for ADA compliant swimming pools and spas, including definitions and descriptions of different types of lifts, and rail requirements.
We also discuss tax credits and deductions to help hotels comply, and your lodging’s legal obligations for ADA pool compliance.
What is ADA?
Among other things, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures access for people with disabilities. The ADA Standards establish design requirements for the construction and alteration of facilities subject to the law.
These standards apply to all places of public accommodation, including hotels, other commercial facilities, and state and local government facilities.
ADA Pool Compliance
The requirements for newly constructed and existing pools ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy the same activities with the same independence, ease, and convenience as everyone.
The 2010 Standards establish two categories of pools: large pools with more than 300 linear feet of pool wall and smaller pools with less than 300 linear feet of wall.
Large pools must have two accessible means of entry, with at least one being a sloped entry. Smaller pools are only required to have one accessible means of entry — either pool lift or sloped entry.
The ada.gov site covers these issues through a PDF file that is titled “ADA 2010 Revised Requirements: Accessible Pools – Accessible Means of Entry and Exit.”
Pool lifts allow “safe aquatic access for the disabled and mobility-challenged.” There are main types available like portable pool, removable and permanent pool chair lifts.
Portable pool lifts have wheels and allow movements to different areas of your pool or spa, and allow them to be stowed away when not in use. They usually function with weights and brakes and are generally battery-operated. Portable pool lifts are not permitted under the ADA
Removable pool lifts are a hybrid between portable and permanent. They require more installation, but may still be removed when the pool is closed to the public. Note that a removable pool lift must be working and fastened to the pool deck while the pool is open to the public.
Permanent pool lifts cannot be moved once installed, as they are secured with an anchor beneath the pool or spa’s deck. They are ideal solutions for frequent use and are most commonly used in commercial applications for ADA compliance.
What are ADA Handrail requirements?
Handrails must be provided on both sides of a sloped entry.
Clear width between handrails must be 33 inches minimum and 38 inches maximum. Handrail extensions are required at the top landing but not at the bottom landing.
Clear width between handrails does not apply to wave action pools, leisure rivers, sand bottom pools, and other pools where user access is limited to one area.
Handrail requirements do not apply to wade pools. Per Section 505, handrail height must be between 34″ and 38″ to the top of the gripping surface. Gripping surfaces with a circular cross section must have an outside diameter of 1¼” minimum to 2″ maximum.
These tax credits apply to different businesses based on revenue. Businesses that have total revenues of $1,000,000 or less in the previous tax year or 30 or fewer full-time employees can use a credit to cover 50% of the eligible access expenditures in a year up to $10,250 (maximum credit of $5000).
Tax deductions are available to all businesses with a maximum deduction of $15,000 per year. The tax deduction can be claimed for expenses incurred in barrier removal and alterations.
Each pool or spa is required to have designated pool lifts. The same requirement applies to existing pools and spas when considering alterations.
Sharing pool lifts between pools and spas is not allowable under the ADA.
Pool lifts must be regularly maintained and must remain in working order.
Staff should be trained to know where the lift is located, how the lift works, and how to operate and maintain it.
As most pool lifts operate on battery, the staff should make sure that the battery is fully charged, the battery should be recharged periodically.
Making your pools and spa areas ADA compliant brings more fun, and less worry for everyone. This is a sure way to show your commitment to your customer service.
Tax benefits and deductions don’t hurt either. With some simple considerations, you can make this summer a splash for everyone.
If you have any questions regarding ADA compliance for your hotel or lodging, please contact us.