There has been a great deal of media coverage of the ADA pool accessibility mandates that have affected public pools and hotel swimming pools recently, including a significant amount of miscommunication as to how these new mandates relate to HOA and condominium association swimming pools.
Section 242 of the new ADA Standards for Accessible Design applies to swimming pools, wading pools, spas and provides as follows:
242.1 General. Swimming pools, wading pools and spas shall comply with 242.
242.2 Swimming Pools. At least two accessible means of entry shall be provided for swimming pools. Accessible means of entry shall be swimming pool lifts complying with 1009.2; sloped entries complying with 1009.3; transfer walls complying with 1009.4; transfer systems complying with 1009.5; and pool stairs complying with 1009.6. At least one accessible means of entry shall comply with 1009.2 or 1009.3.
Whether or not a HOA falls under the new pool accessibility mandates of the ADA, depends upon whether or not the HOA’s pool facility is considered a place of “public accommodation.” Title III of the ADA defines “public accommodation” as a facility whose operations affect commerce and fall within one of 12 specified categories in the ADA. To determine if the HOA’s swimming pool falls within the ADA “public accommodation” guidelines:
Advisory 242.2 Swimming Pools Exception 1: Pool walls at diving areas and areas along pool walls where there is no pool entry because of landscaping or adjacent structures are to be counted when determining the number of accessible means of entry required.
Advisory 242.2 Swimming Pools. Where more than one means of access is provided into the water, it is recommended that the means be different. Providing different means of access will better serve the varying needs of people with disabilities in getting into and out of a swimming pool. It is also recommended that where two or more means of access are provided, they are not provided in the same location in the pool. Different locations will provide increased options for entry and exit, especially in larger pools.
242.3 Wading Pools. At least one accessible means of entry shall be provided for wading pools. Accessible means of entry shall comply with sloped entries complying with 1009.3.
242.4 Spas. At least one means of entry shall be provided for spas. Accessible means of entry shall comply with swimming pool lifts complying with 1009.2; transfer walls complying with 1009.4; or transfer systems complying with 1009.5.
In addition, your HOA can avoid any requirement to comply with the ADA pool accessibility standards by permitting only residents and their guests to utilize the pool facility.