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On Friday, July 23, 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder signed a new ADA regulation into law – ADA Standards for Accessible Design. The law will take effect March 15, 2012. Compliance with 2010 Standards for Accessible Design will not be required until March 15, 2012. The technical requirements for these new ADA Standards for Accessible Design will affect all new swimming pools and all existing swimming pools. This new federal regulation will affect the lives of more than 16% of the US population, which is made up of citizens that have some kind of disability, thus creating the largest minority group in the United States. In 2004, the Department of Justice issued new ADA guidelines, which became the foundation for the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design that will affect all facilities, including swimming pools. The 2010 ADA law is divided into sections and chapters. The law is broken into 2 main sections: Title II – this covers government owned facilities, such as the Department of Parks and Recreation, state-run schools and universities, and military bases. Title III – this covers privately owned public facilities, such as hotels, health clubs, private schools, community centers, and private residences that offer public accommodations, such as apartment complexes, private condominiums, and HOA's. The regulations will affect swimming pools, spas, wading pools, and aquatic recreational facilities. The regulation defines 5 permitted means of entry to the pool; Primary – lifts and sloped entries and secondary – transfer walls, transfer systems, and accessible pools stairs. The only mean of entry that can be used on its own without any other means of entry, is a sloped ramp. Swimming pools with less than 300 linear feet of pool wall mush have at least one primary mean of entry – handicap lift or sloped entry. Swimming pools with more than 300 linear feet of pool wall must have two means of entry – at least one of them must be primary. The primary means of entry must be either a sloped entry or a pool lift capable of being independently operated by a person with a disability. The secondary means of entry can include a pool lift, sloped entry, transfer wall, transfer system, or pool stairs. The regulations provides detailed specifications for the pools lifts and slopes. The main requirements of pool lifts are that the users must be able to operate it independently and it must provide foot rests. Sloped entries can be built in entryways or can be removable ramp and they must have handrails. Sloped entries must be in compliance with all ADA specifications. The regulations specifies detailed requirements for secondary means of entry as well. At this time, the health departments are working on their interpretations of the requirements from the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design for the 2012 season. The recent changes to the American Disabilities Act regarding recreational facilities, including swimming pools has a lot of property managers, owners, facilities managers and the like asking the question "Does my pool have to comply?" and simply put this is not a simple answer. Entities affected by the 2010 revised regulations generally fall under either Title II or Title III of the Act.  Title II impacts commercial facilities while Title III impacts private entities.  Title II and Title III standards must be updated from the 1991 ADA standards when alteration / renovation of places of public accommodation are made. Title II changes to the Federal Law will require all commercial facilities, both existing and new construction to provide specific accommodations for disabled pool patrons including: Hotels, Motels, and Health Clubs to name a few.  Title III outlines regulations for any private entity, residential dwelling, such as a private residence, an apartment complex, a condominium, or a home owner's association.  The ADA does not affect any type of residential dwelling, such as a private residence, an apartment complex, a condominium, or a home owner's association.  However, if any of these residential facilities operate an element of public accommodation within their premises, these elements would be subject to ADA regulations. Also; the entity will be deemed places of public accommodation, and therefore subject to the ADA, when they "affect commerce" and are "open to the public".  Any exchange of money will likely be found to "affect commerce". Here are some examples of situations where a residential entity would fall under ADA regulations with respect to swimming pools:

•             A private residential apartment complex sells memberships to their swimming facilities.  This situation would be considered providing a public accommodation. 

•             A Home Owner's Association pool is used for swimming competitions that are open to competitors from outside the association.  This situation would also be considered offering a public accommodation.

•             A condominium actively rents out their units when owners are absent, including advertising, taking reservations over the phone, and providing either meals or housekeeping services.  In this instance, the condominium would be considered a hotel.

•             Use of government funds Residential communities must comply with the Fair Housing Act.  Under this legislation, a privately owned residential community must provide a barrier-free pathway up to the edge of a pool.  In addition, they cannot prevent a resident from using their own apparatus to gain access to the pool, providing it does not provide a hazard for other residents.  In other words, if a resident has a portable pool lift and keeps it in storage when not in use, the facility cannot prevent that resident from using the lift to gain access to the pool. While the new rules took effect this fall, compliance under the 1991 standards is deemed acceptable until March 15th, 2012.  The remediation proposed should be eligible for tax credits/deductions up to 50% of the first $10,000. Speak to your tax advisor for complete details.   Additionally, the Federal government offers tax incentives for access barrier removals.

1.            A tax credit for small businesses that remove access barriers from their facilities, provide accessible services, or take other steps to improve accessibility for customers with disabilities.

2.            A tax deduction for businesses of all sizes that remove access barriers in their facilities or vehicles. These tips highlight certain provisions of DOJ's ADA regulations and do not constitute legal advise. The regulations and other DOJ materials can be found online at

Compliance with the ADA for ITMs (Information / Transaction Machines: Kiosks, ATMs etc.). The rules (laws) which apply to ATMs, Kiosks, and ITMs are embedded within the ( ADA Accessibility Guidelines, (ADAAG), 1991. Definitions Kiosk The ADAAG and Recommendations for a New ADAAG do not give a definition for the term 'Kiosk'. However, the term is used here to mean any interactive terminal intended for public use which accepts input from a user, displays information, and / or dispenses media (currency, receipts, stamps etc.). Similar terms: Information Kiosk, Interactive Terminal, Public Information Kiosk. ATM (Automated Teller Machine) The ADAAG and Recommendations for a New ADAAG do not give a definition for the term 'ATM'. However, the term is used here to mean any interactive terminal intended for public use whose primary purpose is to conduct financial transactions (cash withdrawals, deposits, transfers, account inquiries etc.) through accepting input from a user and the display of information, and / or the dispensing of media (cash, receipts etc.). Similar terms: Cash Machine, Automated Banking Machine, Automatic Teller Machine. Fare Machine The ADAAG and Recommendations for a New ADAAG do not give a definition for the term 'Fare Machine'. However, the term is used here to mean any interactive terminal designed for public whose primary purpose is to dispense tickets (fares) for transportation or otherwise through accepting input from a user and the display of information, and / or the dispensing of media (tickets, receipts etc.). ITM (Information / Transaction Machine) The ADAAG and Recommendations for a New ADAAG do not give a definition for the term 'ITM'. ITM is an 'umbrella' term for the class of devices which includes public use machines such as ATMs, ticket vending machines, computer kiosks, information kiosks, electronic building directories, fare machines, point-of-sale (POS) terminals etc. Are ITMs covered by the ADA / ADAAG? The ADAAG uses the term "Automated Teller Machine". The Recommendations for a New ADAAG uses the terms "Automatic Teller Machines and Fare Machines". Therefore a question arises - are kiosks and ITMs covered by the same legislation? Section 1 of the ADAAG (Purpose) states: This document sets guidelines for accessibility to places of public accommodation and commercial facilities by individuals with disabilities. These guidelines are to be applied during the design, construction, and alteration of such buildings and facilities to the extent required by regulations issued by Federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Therefore, the ADAAG is only a set of guidelines on how to enforce the provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Two sections of the ADA, Title II "Public Services", and Title III "Public Accommodations and Services Operated by Private Entities", set out in broad terms the provisions of the ADA which relate to ITMs (a public service, or a service operated by a private entity). Under the provisions, of the ADA therefore, kiosks and ITMs are covered in the same way ATMs are. Even though the ADAAG does not specifically say that the ATM guidelines apply to kiosks at this time, it is the best guidance and the best ground to stand on in a legal dispute as to whether the kiosk or ITM is accessible, which it needs to be under the ADA. Note: for reference, the full text of the ADA is available electronically at General legal requirements and issues In the simples terms, manufacturers and suppliers of ITMs should comply with ( section 4.34 of the ADAAG "Automated Teller Machines". The following gives an outline and commentary of the main provisions of the ADAAG and the Recommendations for a New ADAAG. Route to the ITM Determining if the user can actually get to the ITM along an accessible route is an important consideration in that without it, the ITM will be inaccessible to most people who use wheeled vehicles (wheelchair and scooter users). It should be noted that the ADA compliant installation of ITMs requires a number of factors to work together: ITM manufacturers producing guidelines on the installation of their ITMs to meet the ADAAG requirements; The organization responsible for installation (usually the owner of the ITM) following these guidelines; The installer him/her self being trained to follow the guidelines; Checks being made that the installation is compliant (route, floor space, height etc.). Clear Floor Space in front of the ITM and Reach The ADAAG makes specifications of reach requirements (i.e. where interface elements can be positioned relative to the ground and the leading edge of the ITM) in terms of forward (front) approach and parallel (sideways) approach. Complying with these guidelines is a straightforward matter of designing components to be within the specified ranges in an installed ITM. The data upon which the ADAAG was based has been questioned by other researchers (e.g. Center for Accessible Environments (CAE), London (1994) "First proposal for research into installation positions of ATMs to suit all users" - unpublished CAE document; . Little People of America, 1996 "Obstructed reach range survey of adult dwarfs" - unpublished document). For example, the document "First proposal for research . etc." makes the following points: Existing standards only use static anthropometry (and therefore does not include factors such as comfort or fatigue), whereas ATM use is a dynamic task; Existing standards are two-dimensional, but people reach in three dimensions; There is inconsistency among standards; The side reach and front reach approaches are rarely used by wheelchair users; instead an angled approach is used (which is more comfortable, makes it easier to see and reach, and provides greater security for the user). As a result, the proposed revision to the ADAAG, "Recommendations for a new ADAAG, 1996" has revised the guidelines to a lower height, and the CAE has commissioned research into the reach capabilities of people with disabilities in order to revise its guidelines for accessible ATMs (" Proposal for UK guidelines for improving access to ATMs and similar equipment"). When the results of the research that was commissioned by the CAE are published there could be important ramifications for the ADAAG in terms of clear floor space and reach requirements. Operating controls The provisions relating to operating controls state that the following should not be required of the user: tight grasping, pinching twisting of the wrist. A force required to activate controls greater than 5 lbf (22.2 N). Use by persons with vision impairments The ADAAG states under section 4.34 Automated Teller Machines, subsection 4.34.5 Equipment for Persons with Vision Impairments: Instructions and all information for use shall be made accessible to and independently usable by persons with vision impairments. There has been some confusion over the implementation of this statement. Many manufacturers or suppliers have made claim that their machine(s) is (are) "ADA compliant", while ignoring this rule (i.e. they comply on the reach requirements etc., but they do not comply with those requirements for people with vision impairments). The requirement is for "instructions" and "all information for use" to be accessible, and this would include labels, information on displays, location of keys etc. This "accurately reflects the intent of the provision" (David Yanchulis, US Access Board - communication to Gregg Vanderheiden, December 3, 1997). The 1996 recommendations are substantially different in format and scope from the 1991 ADAAG. Regarding ATMs and vision impairments, the requirements have been embedded in numerous paragraphs (as opposed to in a single paragraph as with the 1991 document). Specific provisions are made as to the format in which input and output is given, some examples of which are given below. The reader is directed to section 707 Automatic Teller Machines and Fare Machines (and other appropriate sections) for the full set of requirements. Each control or operating mechanism shall be able to be differentiated by sound or touch. The opportunity for the same degree of privacy of input [and output] shall be available to all individuals utilizing the equipment. All keys used to operate a machine shall be tactually discernible. Function keys shall be marked with tactile characters Machines shall provide visual and audible instructions for operation. After initiation, instructions shall be available for the experienced user to expedite the transaction. Verification of all user inputs shall be provided. Audible instruction shall be provided through a standard audio mini jack The screen shall be visible from a point located 40 inches (1015 mm) above the center of the clear floor space in front of the machine Machines that dispense paper currency shall dispense the currency in descending order with the lowest denomination on top Where a receipt is available and is requested, the following options shall be provided: a printed receipt, audible presentation of the transaction information provided on the receipt, or both. These tips highlight certain provisions of DOJ's ADA regulations and do not constitute legal advise. The regulations and other DOJ materials can be found online at
If your business serves members of the public (for example, you own a retail store), or you have 15 or more employees, the federal Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) (42 U.S.C. §§ 1201 and following) makes both you and your landlord responsible for assuring that the premises are accessible to disabled persons. You can work out the details in the " compliance with laws" clause of your lease that spells out landlord and tenant responsibilities for meeting legal requirements for commercial construction. These include complying with state and local building codes, as well as the federal ADA access standards. Here are some specific suggestions for negotiating your responsibility for complying with the ADA: Ask the landlord to state (the legal term is "warrant") that the building complies with the ADA, based on a survey or audit performed by an engineer or architect. If the landlord will be making improvements, see if the landlord will agree to pay for fully complying with the ADA. Make sure that the costs of bringing common areas (such as elevators, stairways, and lobbies) into compliance aren't passed along to you as part of the operating charges. Even if the landlord agrees to handle the changes needed to make the building accessible to people with disabilities, you're not fully off the hook. The ADA requires you to make the layout and interior design of your business space free of barriers that may limit access to disabled customers and employees. For example, you must make sure that aisles in your store or office are wide enough for someone using a wheelchair, walker, or electric scooter, and that counters are low enough for use by someone who's disabled. Similarly, tables in eating areas need to be tall enough to accommodate someone using a wheelchair. These tips highlight certain provisions of DOJ's ADA regulations and do not constitute legal advise. The regulations and other DOJ materials can be found online at
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