Portable Aquatic Lifts and the ADA
There has been a lot of confusion over which types of pool lifts will help facilities come into compliance with the updated accessibility guidelines from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). A recent letter, published May 24, 2012, attempted to provide clarity on the question of whether portable lifts may be used.
Q: Can a portable lift be in compliance?
A: Yes. However, the DOJ asks that portable lifts be attached to the deck in some fashion when they are in place. If it is not "readily achievable" for a facility to secure the lift to the pool deck, then the DOJ is still "ok" with a portable lift. The DOJ states "If it is not readily achievable to secure the lift to the deck (i.e., deck cannot be drilled), a portable lift that otherwise complies with the requirements of the 2010 Standards is acceptable." Some manufacturers are now supplying kits that secure a portable lift to the deck in response to this updated guidance. This allows their portable lifts to be quickly and effectively secured to the pool deck. Ask your manufacturer if such a retrofit kit is available.
Q: We have a portable lift for our pool. Should we switch to a fixed lift?
A: It is not necessary to purchase a fixed lift. According to the clarification document the DOJ published regarding ADA requirements for existing swimming pools, "If you have purchased a non-fixed lift before March 15th that otherwise complies with the requirements in the 2010 Standards for pool lifts (such as seat size, etc.), you may use it, as long as you keep it in position for use at the pool and operational during all times that the pool is open to guests."
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