ADA alert

ADA alert

Is your pool, spa and fitness facility compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act 2010 Regulations? If you think your property is grandfathered, then you are wrong! There is no grandfathering.

Based on the 2010 Regulations, all “public accommodations,” including “places of lodging” (hotels, resorts, most timeshares, restaurants, etc.) must bring certain elements of the facilities — described below by my colleagues Martin Orlick and David Sudeck — into compliance with the 2010 ADA Standards as of March 15, 2012. 

Hopefully, you are already working on bringing your swimming pools, wading pools, spas, golf facilities, fitness facilities, steam rooms and saunas (and more — see below) into compliance with the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (specifically the 2010 Standards for Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities: Title III), which were adopted by the U.S. Department of Justice on September 15, 2010, as part of the revised Regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Compliance with the 2010 Standards becomes mandatory for certain properties and certain elements of all properties as of March 15, 2012.

What is the standard, and what facilities are affected? 

Title III of the ADA requires that each “public accommodation” remove architectural barriers where “readily achievable.” No property will be “grandfathered” (even if built prior to 1990, the year the ADA was implemented). There is no “safe harbor” applicable with respect to those elements in existing facilities that are subject to supplemental requirements (for example, elements for which there are neither technical nor scoping specifications in the prior 1991 standards). By way of example only, the following elements of a public accommodation must be modified to the extent “readily achievable” to comply with the 2010 standards:

  • Exercise machines and equipment 
  • Golf facilities 
  • Miniature golf facilities 
  • Play areas 
  • Saunas and steam rooms 
  • Swimming pools, wading pools and spas 
  • Shooting facilities with firing positions 
This is not an exhaustive list, and compliance requires expertise. Under the ADA, all businesses have an ongoing obligation to evaluate their properties to bring them into ADA compliance to the extent “readily achievable.”
By now, you should be well underway on your system-wide ADA compliance program to meet the March 15, 2012, compliance deadline. You should be conducting professional, privileged accessibility surveys of your facilities and developing strategies to prioritize your compliance.