New ADA Aquatic Regulations

“Having a compliant pool will expand their ability to offer services to a wider clientele base, and attract new customers who may not have used the facility before the pool lift was added.”

Corens notes there are many companies that have invested a considerable amount of time ensuring they understand the new standards and are prepared to help. Such companies can be a valuable resource in assisting facilities to install a pool lift or sloped entry that meets the specific requirements based on the size and design of the pool, as well as the facility’s budget.

Tips For Compliance

Tim Patterson, sales and operations manager at Patterson Pools in Columbus, Ohio, says most of his clients are aware of the new requirements and are taking the appropriate action to comply. His company works with commercial entities, including municipalities, swim clubs, country clubs, and rehabilitation facilities.

“The best tips I can offer in terms of what facilities should do is contact a trusted pool contractor and also visit the [DOJ] website,” says Patterson.

Kevin Maher, senior vice president of governmental affairs at the American Hotel & Lodging Association in Washington, D.C., says the organization is working to make sure its members understand the changes.

The AH&LA has hosted a series of webinars, drafted advisories for members, written articles for various publications, spoken at numerous meetings and conferences, answered questions from members, posted resources online, and is working on a compliance guide for the industry.

“Properties may wish to consider working with a local disability consultant or organization that can make recommendations on improving the traveler’s experience,” says Maher.

“While compliance with the ADA is required by federal law, hoteliers should also adopt the attitude that greater accessibility will encourage more individuals with disabilities to stay at their property. Travelers with disabilities often travel with one or more companions, and can be very loyal to a property that makes accessible design a priority.”

While Patterson notes his clients have spent between $5,000 and $20,000 to make their pools compliant, Maher says it is difficult to make a cost-benefit analysis of a law that is a civil right.

“The AH&LA’s primary concern is that our members understand what the changes mean to their properties, what their legal obligations entail, and how they can work toward compliance,” he adds.

“Many of these changes can be quite costly, and properties need to start planning now for any changes they may need to make.”

The Access Board began reviewing the ADA Standards for Accessible Design in 1994, and presented its recommendations to the DOJ in 2004. As an independent federal agency, the board is dedicated to promoting accessibility for people with disabilities.

For more information, visit the DOJ website at www.ada.gov. To speak with a representative to answer questions, call (800) 514-0301.

Tracy Carbasho is an award-winning journalist whose latest book, Nike, was released in late 2010. She has written for newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. She can be reached via email at tcarbasho@earthlink.net.

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