New public accommodations rules from the Department of Justice have been made public. See Chapter 2 – Scoping and Chapter 10 – Recreation Facilities for pool and spa related information. Read below for a summary of information and some frequently asked questions.
- Question and Answers document from the DOJ (May 24, 2012)
- The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued an extension for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) until January 31, 2013 for existing pools and spas.
- Accessible Pool – Means of Entry and Exit – A technical assistance document from Dept. of Justice (Document was updated 5/24/12).
- Q&A and Addendum (additional Q&A) – updated 2/17/12
- ADA Primer for Small Business – document from the Department of Justice
- View a Webcast onDemand regarding the new standards hosted by Lexington Insurance. This is not directed toward the pool industry but will review the new standards and discuss penalties for failure to comply.
Background and History of ADA
The original Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990.
The original enforcement guidelines did not provide accessibility standards for swimming pools and spas. However, in 2004, the Department of Justice issued enforcement guidelines that included pools and spas. At that point they were just that — guidelines — and not law.
In July 2010, the Department of Justice announced its final rule making. The revised regulations were then published in the Federal Register on September 16, 2010 and will take effect on March 15, 2011. Compliance with these regulations will be required no later than March 15, 2012.
ADA regulations are enforced directly and indirectly. Most direct enforcement is a result of civil lawsuits initiated by a plaintiff who sues for non-compliance. If the plaintiff prevails, the court usually issues a court order that requires the defendant to remedy the violation, and attorney’s fees for the plaintiff. There are generally no monetary awards provided to the victorious plaintiff.
The ADA is also enforced indirectly by requiring compliance prior to receiving licenses, certifications, or grants from prevailing authorities. For example, prior to a local government receiving a federal grant, it must provide proof of compliance with a wide array of regulations ranging from environmental mandates to equal opportunity programs to ADA compliance. In addition, in most localities, any new construction or building modification will not receive a certificate of occupancy without meeting all relevant ADA requirements. Many states will adopt the latest guidelines into their state or local building codes.