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As I am sure some of you are aware of, and others may not be aware of, the ADA has now been passed to include swimming pools.  This new addendum will require all commercial pools to have an ADA approved means of access into every pool and spa.  I am wondering if anyone has started looking into this and if so, what products are you considering? 

We have started to research this on our end and are considering the SR Smith line of lifts.  This new law will impose a large financial hit on commercial pools and i am interested in the thoughts of others here on how it will impact their business, and what kind of plans everyone has for how to deal with this. 

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  • Luke, for pools under 300 linear feet (in perimeter), the law mandates at least one "primary" means of access.
    Primary access is defined as either a lift, or a sloped entry.

    For pools over 300 linear feet, the law requires one means of primary access, (as defined above) AND at least one means of secondary access
    Secondary access is defined as transfer wall, transfer system, stairs (only stairs that meet a very strict set of requirements count), a lift, or a sloped entry.

    Scott, are you sure that those $1500 lifts are actually ADA compliant?
    I've noticed that a lot of lifts aren't, and that pretty much everything I've come across that is compliant costs at least $3000

    Any thoughts on how strictly this will be enforced on pools that are not government owned? My primary customer is actually my employer and we were hit hard by the economic downturn here in Michigan. Would it be worth the gamble to not get a lift?
  • Matt, 

    Thanks for the post. I have actually been reading A LOT about this in the news, so I thought every commercial pool operator / owner would know about it. I write a weekly email to about 8000 Commercial Pool Operators and, a few weeks ago that was my topic for discussion. If anyone would like to read my message, you can find it here: http://conta.cc/gonnU4

     

    I talk about how lowering facility operating costs will help offset the expense, or "investment" of upgrades. I was quite surprised at the feedback...there were so many people who had no idea that this was happening! I have been recommending the APSP site for more information: http://www.apsp.org (search ADA)

    as well as: http://www.ada.gov/2010ADAstandards_index.htm

     

    Good luck!

  • Well said Matt. Being prepared with documentation to back up what you say is essential.
  • There is going to be issues with this, much as there was with VGB.  You need to state to each of your potential clients, that this is how you are interpreting the law.  Go to the meetings with documentation, showing why you think it is interpreted this way.  Share with them the resources that you have, and above all don't let your other competitors get to you.  You are the professional, educate your customers and client base, let the other guys look bad. 
  • Agreed, and unfortunately that is how this is going to be enforced.  You will end up paying in the long run if you are required to comply and do not. 

    Wes Burdine said:

    There are people who make their living going around suieng people. In fact, one guy in CA made over $100K annually driving to restaurants, seeing if the where ADA compliant, and if not, sued them. Most settled out of court, but at $100K/yr, he doesn't care. I really don't think he cares about compliance.

    We live in a litigious society, and the lawyers are going to go after the money, and will no doubt drag you into it if you have advised someone blatantly against what the law states, there is no doubt about that.
  • There are people who make their living going around suieng people. In fact, one guy in CA made over $100K annually driving to restaurants, seeing if the where ADA compliant, and if not, sued them. Most settled out of court, but at $100K/yr, he doesn't care. I really don't think he cares about compliance.

    We live in a litigious society, and the lawyers are going to go after the money, and will no doubt drag you into it if you have advised someone blatantly against what the law states, there is no doubt about that.
  • Regardless of if the HOA has money or not, they are required to comply with the ADA if they are deemed a place of public accomodation.  Not having the money is not an excuse to not comply, and they will get sued and have to defend themselves and if and when they lose they will have to comply, plus pay the plaintiffs legal fees.  It is much more expensive then if they just complied right off the bat. 

    The fact that this is not a "llife threatening" issue also plays no part in it.  It is a law and therefore the HOAs are required to comply, just like every municipal facility and hotel/motel(again if they are deemed a Title II or Title III facility).  I highly caution against telling someone they don't have to comply based on the fact that they don't have money.  Not only is that bad advice, it is unprofessional and can get you into legal trouble as well, regardless of how properly you are set up.  We live in a litigious society, and the lawyers are going to go after the money, and will no doubt drag you into it if you have advised someone blatantly against what the law states, there is no doubt about that. 

  • The swim meet/swim team exception is a sticky one.  According to the ADA hotline, if the swim team is comprised of strictly residents and the teams they compete against are comprised of strictly residents of other HOAs, then it is not considered a place of public accomodation.  Keep in mind though that the information that the Department of Justice is putting out on this question line is not legally binding, and there are no strict checklists for compliance(in terms of what HOA would have to apply).  Ultimately it would be best for an HOA who may have questions to probably comply.  If they are not required then they have just made the facility more accessible for their residents who might be older or disabled, and then they are covered anyway so there would never be the risk of a lawsuit against them. 
  • Luke,

     

    If someone outside of the HOA, Private club, etc.other than a guest of a resident/member is allowed to swim, such as a competitive swim meet or selling summer passes (as referenced by Scott) then it would be considered to have public access and would fall subject to the ADA accessibility guidelines.

     

    Here is a link to NSPF: Who Must Comply - ADA

  • Scott,

    Wading pools will be required to have a zero depth like the chart states above, but as this is a large financial burden, i don't see many attempting to do that.  I have heard from some lawyers that i have spoken to that the client could fight this because of "undue financial burden" but again that would be on the client and i would not recommend telling people that they do not have to comply. 

    Scott Tarr said:

    Has anyone figured out how they will be handling baby/kiddie pools?  A lift does not work for that application and the rise over run on a ramp would be larger than most baby/kiddie pools.  I see the pools being filled in and maybe some turned in to splash pads.
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