The current compliance date for making swimming pools and spas ADA accessible is January 31, 2013, although the deadline could be further extended by the U.S. Department of Justice. (DOJ has extended the compliance deadline on two occasions, but not for pools and spas constructed or altered on or after March 15, 2012). The requirements may include installing an independently usable pool lift in some circumstances. Public accommodations should be aware of any state and local government codes requiring greater access than the federal requirements. The risks of noncompliance include possible private lawsuits and DOJ investigations.
As background, DOJ published revised Regulations for Titles II and III of the ADA in the Federal Register on September 15, 2010. The 2010 standards revised the ADA’s rules for accessible design in places of public accommodation to assist in meeting the practical needs of persons with disabilities and to better align with other existing building and accessibility codes. Compliance with the 2010 standards was generally required by March 15, 2012 (except for auxiliary aides which had a stricter deadline for compliance). The 2010 Standards set minimum requirements – both scoping and technical — for newly designed and constructed or altered state and local government facilities, public accommodations, and commercial facilities to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. The regulation includes Appendix A to Part 36 – Standards for Accessible Design establishing minimum standards for ensuring accessibility when designing and constructing a new facility or altering an existing facility.