–by Clara Rose
It seems the “topic of the hour” is the recent action of the Department of Justice, when they extended the compliance date for required ADA changes for swimming pools and water elements.
Thursday evening March 15th 2012, on the deadline date for compliance, the DOJ issued a press release reiterating that March 15th is still the effective date for almost all of the new rules established in the 2010 requirements. It was the final portion of this news that caused a collective sigh of relief, saying:
“Requirements for existing swimming pools will be extended for 60 days. The department will also publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with a 15-day comment period on a possible six-month extension in order to allow additional time to address misunderstandings regarding compliance with these ADA requirements.”
These rules stem from revised regulations under Title II and Title III of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) of 1990. President Obama announced these new rules on the 20th anniversary of the ADA on July 26th 2010. The Obama administration’s new rules mandated the installation of ramps and wheelchair lifts to make facilities accessible to people with disabilities.
In anticipation of the rule changes, many properties proactively purchased portable lifts to facilitate access for guests with mobility issues. On January 31st the word came that permanent lifts would be required for every water element. Those properties will have to now purchase new and permanent lifts.
Since much of the related controversy stemmed from confusion about the new regulations and in the interest of promoting clear and consistent application of the ADA’s requirements to existing facilities, the NPRM proposal seeks to offer some additional relief.
The current 60 day extension is only a short reprieve for those properties that are being affected by the ADA changes. Many are hanging their hopes on the 15-day comment period that may lead to a possible six month extension. This longer period of time would allow pool owners and operators to better understand the requirements to meet their compliance obligations.
Comments on the Notice of Proposed Rule Making had to be submitted on or before April 4, 2012. Now the hospitality industry and other public accommodations wait to see if they will be granted the six month extension for compliance.
Stay tuned for further developments!
Clara Rose is the Executive Director of Communications for FARROW Commercial Construction and the Executive Director of Operations for ADAF --– the first company to offer an ADA Friendly rating system for the hospitality industry. Clara is also The Resort Industry Examiner for Examiner.com, editor of The FARROW Report, editor of The FARROW Connection, an Expert Author for EzineArticles.com, a contributor for the Yahoo Contributors Network and a contributing editor for Hotel Business Review.
Phone: (727) 329-8463