On March 15, 2012 the new 2010 ADA standards went into effect.
Within these new standards, a specification to provide a fixed pool lift at existing publicly accessed pools when readily achievable to do so was defined.
First, let’s define “fixed”. A fixed lift means the lift is attached to the pool deck or apron in some way. A non-fixed lift means it is not attached in any way. Therefore, a compliant portable lift that is attached to the pool deck would be considered a fixed lift.
Thus, owners of compliant portable lifts can fully comply with the access requirements by affixing their lifts to the pool deck or apron. They are required to do so if it is readily achievable.
Second, let’s define “readily achievable”.
The Department of Justice defines “readily achievable” as proving access that can be accomplished without much difficulty or expense. This is a flexible, case-by-case analysis, with the goal of ensuring that ADA requirements are not unduly burdensome.
The readily achievable analysis is based on factors such as the nature and cost of the needed action: all the financial, staff and other resources available to the business and any parent entity; and the impact on the operation of the site, including “legitimate safety requirements” that are necessary for safe operation.
The ADA allows businesses to consider “legitimate safety requirements” in determining whether an action is readily achievable, as long as the requirements are based on actual risks and are necessary for the safe operation of the business. However, a “legitimate safety requirement” cannot be based on speculation or unsubstantiated generalizations about safety concerns or risks. Businesses cannot rely on limitations on coverage or insurance rates as a reason not to comply with the ADA.
So what does this all mean? If, after detailed consideration of the impact the installation of a compliant fixed pool lift would have on your facility, you determine it is not “readily achievable” to comply, then you would consider if a compliant non-fixed or portable pool lift is readily achievable to install. If this is also not readily achievable then you would use other means of entry to the pool such as stairs, ramps or transfer systems until it becomes readily achievable to install a pool lift.