3 Months Until ADA Pool Lift Law Deadline

Unless you own a commercial property with a pool you may have missed one of the bigger news stories regarding accessibility laws for the disabled that has been going on for more than a year now. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (signed into law by George H.W. Bush…yes, that’s the speed at which things get implemented) many public and commercial entities with pools and hot tubs will be required to add a pool lift or an alternate sloped entry to provide access to people with disabilities.

The deadline was originally set for March of 2012 and then later pushed back to May and then further back to January 31, 2013. With a potential fine of $55,000 and a lot of questions in regard to who needed to comply and who didn’t, the deadline continued to get pushed.

Far and away the most popular form of compliance has been adding a pool lift, as it tends to be a less expensive option than the more invasive sloped entry, and it’s also significantly easier to install. That said, these lifts aren’t cheap and many in the hospitality industry as well as owners of parks and recreation centers were up in arms over the new required expenses.

While business owners lobbied for the act to be pushed back or given more options, the government appears to finally have buckled down on this next deadline.

Jim Slade, who works for online pool store Swimtown Pools said it’s been a strange ebb and flow for the industry, “Manufacturers have been jerked around a bit trying to gear up for this huge swell in demand only to keep having it pushed back. Historically, this hasn’t been a huge industry, so the capital investments these companies have to make as well as trying to scale their workforce is problematic.”

If you think of the number of pool lifts you’ve seen throughout your life this seems entirely reasonable, especially when you consider that estimates of pools that must comply may exceed half a million. So, in short, these regulations could mean big business for manufacturers and distributors alike. However, until the government follows through, businesses are likely to hold out.

“It’s hard to blame a small hotel owner who doesn’t want to spend a few thousand dollars that wasn’t in the budget a year ago,” Slade continued. “But even at the distributor level, we need to figure out when and how to promote these products and this moving deadline has made that difficult.”

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