Handicap pool access and swimming pool lifts key parts of the change
In September of 2010, the Department of Justice approved changes to the existing ADA Standards for Accessible Design, specifically those relating to pool access and the use of pool lifts. Facilities affected by the change have until May 21, 2012 to make the needed changes. Section 1009 applies specifically to swimming pools, wading pool and spas. Handicap pool access is a very important part of the changes and mandates that nearly all pools have a means of entry for wheelchair users.
Aside from renovating a pool to have a gradual slop entry, the easiest adaptation to make is the addition of an ADA compliant pool lift. These lifts come in many forms from many manufacturers and are often less cumbersome that reconfiguring a pool's space to add a pool ramp. These ramps cannot be used by individuals without an aquatic wheelchair which adds additional equipment. Many pool lifts can be mounted into the existing pool deck with minimal structural change. Some of these allow the lift to be stored in a remote location until needed with just the mounting sleeve being left in the pool deck. Some manufacturers make devices that are completely portable and do not require the pool decking to be altered. These are larger than a typical pool lift as they carry their own on-board counterweight, but are on wheels so they easily be moved from one location to the next.
Aquatic pool lifts are the only means of entry that meet the standards for all five pool types. The ADA defines these as Swimming with less than 300 linear feet of pool wall, swimming with more that 300 linear feet of pool wall (these require 2 means of entry), wave/leisure pools, wading pools and spas. For a pool that requires two entries, an aquatic pool lift qualifies as a primary means of entry. The only other primary means can be a sloped entry.
Pool lifts such as the PAL 1000 can accommodate extra features, which are required by some local jurisdictions, such as foot rests, arm rests and a seat belt/stability vest. There is also a hi/low option available which extends the arm reach of the pool lift so it may be used with above ground spas and lower than average water lines. The Revolution Pool Lift is specifically designed and reinforced to support extra weight, up to 500 pounds.
With so many pool lift options coming to the market it is important to purchase from a reputable authorized retailer who knows several different products and can analyze the specific application to determine which product will work fluidly and adhere to spacing guidelines as well. Large dealers can also organize group purchasing for corporate or franchise properties to achieve best pricing and transportation costs. An experienced authorized retailer can also streamline the paperwork and diagrams that some manufacturers require to be completed for insurance purposes.
Please contact Brian Narducci at 480-459-3150 (BNarducci@ActiveForever.com) with any questions.