3/15/2012 ADA Requirements – Do they Apply to You?

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A significant deadline is rapidly approaching: the 3/15/2012 date when the higher 2010 ADA standards apply to all new and altered recreational facilities. But do these requirements, which require at least one ramp or a lift for your pool, spa, and wader, apply to your association?

The 2010 American Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines for the Accessible Design for Recreation Facilities were revised and signed into law on September 15, 2010. This Act applies to all private and public facilities that are a place of ”public accommodation”. So the first question is whether your association’s pool area is used only by members and their invited guests, or if it is open for use by members of the general public (community events, outside weddings, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, etc.).

If your pool area is a place of public accommodation, the question then moves to when this requirement applies. Obviously, it applies for new construction. But what is an “alteration”? Will installation of a lift be triggered the next time you make any change to your pool or spa (a new heater, filter, pump, or resurface project)? It appears the answer is no… an alteration has to do with a change to the accessibility of the asset. A new heater or a resurface project can be interpreted as “maintenance” of an existing asset. On the other hand, replacing the pool deck and related stairs and gates is an alteration of the area, which would trigger a requirement to comply with the higher 2010 ADA standards.

Bottom line: the 2010 ADA standards do not apply to most residential community associations. Please consult legal counsel for specific guidance on this matter.