Do the 2010 ADA Standards require swimming pool lifts?

I got a call from a client who was concerned about a recent mailer from a pool lift manufacturer stating that all bodies of water with greater than 300 linear feet of perimeter are now required to have a pool lift per the new ADA Standards. While there is some truth here, it is quite misleading. As a general rule, you should always be suspicious about regulatory interpretations from a manufacturer that stands to benefit from the regulation.

So, do the 2010 ADA Standards require swimming pool lifts? It depends.

For new construction of a public swimming pool, a pool that is part of a public accommodation (hotel, YMCA, etc.) or other facility that is subject to the ADA, accessible means of entry are required.

242.2 Swimming Pools. At least two accessible means of entry shall be provided for swimming pools. Accessible means of entry shall be swimming pool lifts complying with 1009.2; sloped entries complying with 1009.3; transfer walls complying with 1009.4; transfer systems complying with 1009.5; and pool stairs complying with 1009.6. At least one accessible means of entry provided shall comply with 1009.2 or 1009.3.

EXCEPTIONS:

1. Where a swimming pool has less than 300 linear feet (91 m) of swimming pool wall, no more than one accessible means of entry shall be required provided that the accessible means of entry is a swimming pool lift complying with 1009.2 or sloped entry complying with 1009.3.

2. Wave action pools, leisure rivers, sand bottom pools, and other pools where user access is limited to one area shall not be required to provide more than one accessible means of entry provided that the accessible means of entry is a swimming pool lift complying with 1009.2, a sloped entry complying with 1009.3, or a transfer system complying with 1009.5.

3. Catch pools shall not be required to provide an accessible means of entry provided that the catch pool edge is on an accessible route.

The Guidance on the 2010 ADA Standards provides some clarification on the requirements for existing swimming pools:

“A physical change to a swimming pool which affects or could affect the usability of the pool is considered to be an alteration. Changes to the mechanical and electrical systems, such as filtration and chlorination systems, are not alterations. Exception 2 to section 202.3 permits an altered swimming pool to comply with applicable requirements to the maximum extent feasible if full compliance is technically infeasible. “Technically infeasible” is also defined in section 106.5 of the 2010 Standards.”

An existing swimming pool that is not being altered is not required to be equipped with a lift or other accessible means of entry unless it is considered “readily achievable” to do so.

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4 Responses to Do the 2010 ADA Standards require swimming pool lifts?

  1. Tim H. says:

    So I guess the next question is how exactly will “readily achievable” be defined?

    I found a pretty good interpretation here:
    http://www.accessibility-services.com/accessible_design-swimming-pools/

    Basically, “readily achievable” is defined case-by-case on a number of factors including financial resources of the property.

    • jeromymurphy says:

      As I told a non-profit that was asking about the need to install a pool lift, when you have a few thousand dollars lying around, give me a call and we’ll see about that lift. As I learn more about pool access, I hope to be able to offer some specifics on what would be considered readily achievable. Providing access to a pool is a much lower priority than an accessible entrance or toilet facility.

      Thank you for commenting.

  2. Douglas R. says:

    Not sure if I agree with your analysis of swimming pools for existing facilities. See 28 C.F.R. § 35.150, which provides a safe harbor for facilities that are in compliance with the 1991 Standards, then they need not be in compliance with the 2010 Standards.

    However, the next section in the state explicitly states that this safe harbor does not apply for facilities that were not covered by the 1991 Standards (including swimming pools). I think this means that swimming pools do not have the safe harbor protection and may/must be in compliance with the 2010 Standards unless not readily achievable or something.

    • jeromymurphy says:

      That does seem to be the case. For commercial facilities (hotels for example) would still only need to provide a lift if it is readily achievable. This means that most existing pools should at least get a lift. State and local governments must provide program access and the readily achievable rule does not apply.

      Thank you for commenting.

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