ADA Swimming Pool Regulations could be on their way to UK

Legislation covering access to public buildings for people with disabilities has been in place in the UK since 2004. But while these rules allow disabled or wheelchair access through the front door, and sometimes between internal floors, they do not necessarily allow them access to every sports facility.

Coping with this anomaly was the motivation behind the 2012 amendments to the 2010 revision of the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The original act aimed to insure that newly constructed pools as well as existing ones would provide full access for disabled people to enjoy all of the same facilities as everyone else. These included hotel pools, community swimming and private swimming tuition.

Only a few exceptions were applied. These were to multiple spas and wave or sandy-bottom pools with only one point of entry.

Temporary Lifts Installed

As a result, hotel chains and leisure centres implemented the new rules by installing temporary lifts and ramps to ease disabled access. The problem here has been that the disabled user is rarely capable of operating the lift alone and would require assistance from hotel or other staff.

So in 2012 the American government introduced its Title III amendment to the 2010 amendments to the act, stipulating that permanent lifts and ramps should be installed. The advantage here would be that hotel and other staff would not been needed every time a disabled person wanted to use the pool. A permanent lift would be robust and secure enough to allow the individual to enter a pool just by pressing the correct buttons. Three years on the ADA is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and it has changed the national thinking on disability.

When Will the Same Rules Arrive in Britain?

Now swimming pools owners and managers in Britain are wondering when similar legislation will come into force in Britain. When the rules for disabled access to public buildings were introduced in 2004, many sport facility managers admitted to previously not considering the ramifications of poor disabled access. However, such thinking has changed over the years, and so its is possible that it is only a matter of time before legislation governing access to swimming pools and specific facilities comes into force in the UK.

Under current UK legislation, hotels and swimming centres only have to provide access to the floor on which the pool is situated, but not to the pool itself.

If the rules change in the near future, pool owners should be able to skip part of the U.S. experience and install permanent platform and other pool lifts from the outset. For more information, contact the Pool Lift Company.

About the Author