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A Guide to Making Your Pool & Spa ADA Compliant



Why should I update my pool and/or spa to make it ADA compliant?

The ADA is an anti-discrimination law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of a person’s disability. Part if this law is the Americans

 with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) which outlines the construction standards for new and remodeled facilities. Facilities

 that do not comply are open to complaints filed with the United States Department of Justice who in turn may bring suit against your facility

 and force you to comply and in some cases assess up to $110,000.00.


Do I have to make my pool and/or spa compliant if I am not remodeling or updating?

The law indicates that facilities should remove barriers when it is “readily achievable” to do so. This means they are to update their facilities

 when it can be done easily and without much expense. Facilities that try to be excluded because of a cost issue will probably find it very 

difficult given the affordable nature of a pool lift; one of the primary forms of access identified by the ADA for swimming pools and spas. As 

part of the final ruling by the United States department of Justice, it was clear that it would be difficult for a facility to ignore responsibility to

 provide access given the comparatively low cost of a pool lift.


Are there ways that I can make updating my pool and/or spa more affordable?

The federal government does provide tax incentives up to $15,000 for facilities that remove barriers and make their facility more accessible. 

Check with your tax person for details on the federal tax incentives. In addition, by removing barriers to people with disabilities your facility is 

opened up to the largest minority group in America. With over 200 billion in spending power, marketing to this demographic can increase your

 revenues substantially.


I have several spas located near each other; do I need to make each spa accessible?

If you have spas in a cluster, no more than 5% or a minimum of 1 spa needs to be made accessible. You need to have an accessible route 

up to those spas that are made compliant.


Do I need to make a Catch Pool accessible?

Catch pools are not required to provide a means of access provided that one edge of the catch pool is located on an accessible route.


Why should I choose a lift as a form of access for a pool or spa?

The ADA indicates that there are two acceptable primary means of access for pools and spas. Those are sloped entries and pool lifts. 

The main reason for choosing a pool lift is the relative low cost of and limited instillation process required for a lift in comparison to a sloped 

entry or ramp.


Are there site requirements that I need to meet in order to comply?

Yes, not only does the ADA outline requirements for the types of access themselves, but they also indicate minimum site requirements. For

 lifts those requirements include:

  1. Must have an accessible route to the access point.
  2. Clear deck space provided at the side of a lift for transfers (36” perpendicular to the side of the seat x 48” parallel to the seat measured from 12”
  3.  behind the back of the seat)
  4. Located at a place no deeper than 48” on the pools edge
  5. Deck should slope no more than 1:48 (1” in 48”)
  6. Center line of the seat shall be no closer than 16” to the pool’s edge


With so many different lifts to choose from, what should I know about my site when looking for a lift?

There are certain site measurements that become very important when determining the correct lift for your site. The following list will provide

 you with the basics needed to narrow your search but consultation with a professional is always the best way to correctly identify the proper

 lift for your application. You may be required to complete a site measurement guide that shows a cross section of the pool/spa. 

Measurements you will typically need to provide are:

  1. Deck to water measurement
  2. Distance from edge of the pool deck to inside of pool wall

           a. Include any rails or other obstacles that may be on the pool wall
  3. Height and width of any walls that the lift will need to clear
  4. The direction and degree to which the pool deck slopes
  5. The depth at which the seats are located in the area where the lift will be placed
  6. The degree of the slope on the back of the spa seat
  7. The width of the spa seat


How can I be sure that a lift complies with the ADA Regulations?

Although there are no formal compliance certification from the government for pool lifts or any other ADA products, most reputable manufacturers

 build lifts that comply with the ADA and will indicate that on their literature. It should be noted that not all manufacturers are as diligent at

 following the ADA when designing and building their products. Aqua Creek is the only manufacturer that offers three different models that 

have been independently verified by an outside party to comply with the ADA regulation. When verifying if a manufacturer’s lift complies with

 the ADA there are several requirements that the lift would have to meet. To help you quickly verify the lift may meet the ADA, there are three

 BASIC requirements that you can look for.


Those basic requirements are:

  1. It must be able to lift at least 300 pounds
  2. It must be capable of being operated by the user from both the water and deck levels

           a. Manually rotated lifts are not ADA compliant
  3. It must have a rigid seat

           a. Sling seats are not compliant
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