Regulatory Assessment

10.1 Number of Facilities

Existing Facilities

We purchased a market research report that included data on pools operated by homeowner associations, apartments and condominiums, public parks and recreation districts, hotels and motels, physical fitness facilities and recreational sports facilities, high schools, colleges and universities, country clubs, water parks, YMCAs, and hospitals and health care facilities.75 We used the data to develop an estimate of the number of pools covered by the ADA.76 We estimated there were 124,530 existing pools covered by the ADA in 2001.

No data was available on the number of existing spas covered by the ADA.

New Construction

The market research report predicted minimal growth in new commercial pools. We assumed a 1 percent growth rate (1,245 new pools per year covered by the ADA). For each facility type, we made assumptions about the percentage of new pools that would have less than 300 linear feet of pool wall.77 Based on these assumptions, we estimated 715 new pools per year would have less than 300 linear feet of pool wall. Spas are usually constructed by the same facilities that construct pools. For each facility type, we made assumptions about the percentage of new spas constructed in relation to new pools.78 Based on those assumptions, we estimated 560 new spas covered by the ADA would be constructed each year.

Small Entities

For pools operated by private entities, using the methodology described in Chapter 2, we estimated 93 percent of hotels and motels, 99 percent of physical fitness facilities and recreational sports facilities, 97 percent of country clubs, 93 percent of water parks, 15 percent of private hospitals, and 100 percent of camps and recreational vehicle parks are small private entities. For pools operated by public entities, we estimated the percentage operated by small governmental jurisdictions is the same as in Table 2.1. No data was available on the percentage of high schools, colleges and universities, and public hospitals that are small entities.

10.2 Final Guidelines

Table 10.1 summarizes the final guidelines for swimming pools, wading pools, and spas.

Table 10.1 - Final Guidelines: Swimming Pools, Wading Pools, and Spas

Section Requirement

15.8.1 General

Application

Exception - Diving Boards

Newly designed and constructed and altered swimming pools, wading pools, and spas must comply with 15.8.

Accessible route is not required to serve diving boards or diving platforms.

15.8.2 Swimming Pools

Scoping

Exception - Pools Less Than 300 Linear Feet

Exception - Pools With Limited Access

Exception - Catch Pools

At least two accessible means of entry must be provided for each public use and common use swimming pool. Primary means must be pool lift or sloped entry. Secondary means must be pool lift, slopped entry, transfer wall, transfer system, or pool stairs.

Swimming pools with less than 300 linear feet of wall must provide at least one accessible means of entry. Means must be pool lift or slopped entry.

Wave action pools, leisure rivers, sand bottom pools, and other pools where user access is limited to one area must provide at least one accessible means of entry. Means must be pool lift, slopped entry, or transfer system.

Catch pools must only be served by accessible route that connects to pool edge.

15.8.3 Wading Pools

Scoping

Wading pools must provide at least one slopped entry.

15.8.4 Spas

Scoping

Exception - Spas in Cluster

Spas must provide at least one accessible means of entry. Means must be pool lift, transfer wall, or transfer system.

Where spas are provided in cluster, at least 5 % in each cluster must provide at least one accessible means of entry.

15.8.5 Pool Lifts

Lift Location

Seat Location

Clear Deck Space

Seat Height

Seat Width

Footrests and Armrests

Operation

Submerged Depth

Lifting Capacity

Lift must be located where water level does not exceed 48 inches. Where entire pool depth is greater than 48 inches, requirement does not apply. Where multiple pool lift locations are provided, only one is required to be located where water level does not exceed 48 inches.

In raised location, centerline of seat must be located over deck and 16 inches minimum from pool edge. Deck surface between centerline of seat and pool edge must have slope not greater than 1:48.

On side of seat opposite water, clear deck space must be provided parallel with seat. Space must be 36 inches wide minimum and extend forward 48 inches minimum from line located 12 inches behind rear edge of seat. Space must have slope not greater than 1:48.

Lift seat must be designed to stop at 16 inches to 19 inches maximum measured from deck to seat top when in raised position.

Seat width must be 16 inches minimum.

Footrests must be provided and move with seat. Footrests not required on lifts provided in spas. If provided, armrests positioned opposite water must be removable or fold clear of seat when seat in raised position.

Lift must be capable of unassisted operation from deck and water levels. Controls and operating mechanisms must be unobstructed when lift in use and comply with requirements for controls and operating mechanisms.

Lift must be designed so that seat submerges to water depth of 18 inches minimum below stationary water level.

Single person lifts must have minimum weight capacity of 300 lbs. and be capable of sustaining static load at least one and half times rated load.

15.8.6 Sloped Entries

Accessible Route

Submerged Depth


Handrails

Sloped entries must comply with accessible route requirements, except surfaces are not required to be slip resistant.

Sloped entries must extend to depth of 24 inches minimum to 30 inches maximum below stationary water level. Where landings are required, at least one landing must be located 24 inches to 30 inches maximum below stationary water level. In wading pools, slopped entry and landings must extend to deepest part of pool.

Handrails must be provided on both sides of sloped entry and comply with handrail requirements. Clear width between handrails must be 33 inches minimum and 38 inches maximum. Handrail extensions are not required at bottom landing. Clear width between handrails does not apply to wave action pools, leisure rivers, sand bottom pools, and other pools where user access is limited to one area. Handrail requirements do not apply to wading pools.

15.8.7 Transfer Walls

Clear Deck Space

Height

Wall Depth and Length

Surface

Grab Bars

Clear deck space must be provided at base of transfer wall. Space must be 60 inches minimum by 60 inches minimum. Space must have slope not greater than 1:48. Where one grab bar provided, space must be centered on grab bar. Where two grab bars provided, space must be centered on clearance between grab bars.

Transfer wall height must be 16 inches minimum to 19 inches maximum measured from deck.

Transfer wall depth must be 12 inches minimum to 16 inches maximum. Transfer wall length must be 60 inches minimum and centered on clear deck space.

Transfer wall surfaces must have rounded edges and not be sharp.

At least one grab bar must be provided on transfer wall. Grab bars must be perpendicular to pool wall and extend full depth of transfer wall. Top of gripping surface must be 4 inches minimum and 6 inches maximum above transfer wall. Where one grab bar provided, clearance must be 24 inches minimum on both sides of grab bar. Where two grab bars provided, clearance must be 24 inches minimum between grab bars. Grab bars must comply with grab bar requirements.

15.8.8 Transfer Systems

Transfer Platform

Clear Deck Space

Height

Transfer Steps

Surface

Grab Bars

Transfer platform must be provided at head of transfer system. Platform must be 19 inches minimum clear depth by 24 inches minimum clear width.

Clear deck space must be provided at base of transfer platform. Space must be 60 inches minimum by 60 inches minimum. Space must have slope not greater than 1:48. Space must be centered along 24 inch minimum unobstructed side of platform.

Transfer platform height must be 16 inches minimum to 19 inches maximum measured from deck.

Transfer step height must be 8 inches maximum. Tread clear depth must be 14 inches minimum and 17 inches maximum; and tread clear width must be 24 inches minimum. Transfer steps must extend 18 inches minimum below the stationary water level.

Transfer system surfaces must have rounded edges and not be sharp.

At least one grab bar on each transfer step and transfer platform, or continuous grab bar serving each transfer step and transfer platform must be provided. Top of gripping surface must be 4 inches minimum and 6 inches maximum above each step and transfer platform. Where continuous grab bar provided, top of gripping surface must be 4 inches minimum and 6 inches maximum above step nosing and transfer platform. Grab bars must be located on at least one side of transfer system. Grab bar located at transfer platform must not obstruct transfer. Grab bars must comply with grab bar requirements.

15.8.9 Pool Stairs

General

Handrails

Pool stairs must comply with stairs requirements.

Width between handrails must be 20 inches minimum and 24 inches maximum. Handrail extensions are not required at bottom landing serving pool stairs.

15.8.10 Water Play Components

General

Exception - Cross Slope, Running Slope, and Surface Requirements

Exception - Transfer Systems

Where water play components provided, play area requirements and accessible route requirements apply.

Where surface of accessible route, clear floor or ground spaces, and maneuvering spaces serving water play components is submerged in water, play area and accessible route requirements for cross slope, running slope, and surface requirements do not apply.

Transfer systems permitted to be used in lieu of ramps to connect elevated play components.

 

10.3 Alternatives

Table 10.2 presents the alternatives considered in the proposed guidelines and final guidelines. The significant comments raised during the public comment period are summarized in the preamble to the final rule, along with the Access Board’s assessment of the comments and the reasons for selecting the alternative adopted in the final guidelines. The Access Board minimized the significant economic impact of the final guidelines by permitting small pools with less than 300 linear feet of swimming pool wall to provide at least one, instead of two, means of access into the water; and by permitting water play components to use transfer systems, instead of ramps, to connect elevated play components. No other significant alternatives were considered or rejected.

Table 10.2 - Swimming Pools, Wading Pools, and Spas Alternatives

Item Proposed Guidelines Final Guidelines
Means of Entry Primary and secondary means of accessible entry must be different. No provision.
Diving Boards No exception. Diving boards or diving platforms are not required to comply.
Pools with Limited Access No exception. Wave action pools, leisure rivers, sand bottom pools, and other pools where user access is limited to one area must provide at least one accessible means of entry. Means must be pool lift, slopped entry, or transfer system.
Catch Pools No exception. Catch pools must only to be served by accessible route that connects to pool edge.
Moveable Floors Included as secondary means of entry. No provision.
Wading Pools Transfer walls and transfer systems included as means of entry. Transfer walls and transfer systems not included as means of entry.
Pool Lifts - Lift Location No provision. Lift must be located where water level does not exceed 48 inches. Where entire pool depth is greater than 48 inches, requirement does not apply. Where multiple pool lift locations are provided, only one is required to be located where water level does not exceed 48 inches.
Pool Lifts - Seat Location In raised location, centerline of seat must be located over deck and 20 inches minimum from pool edge. In raised location, centerline of seat must be located over deck and 16 inches minimum from pool edge.
Pool Lifts - Seat Height Lift seat must be designed to stop at 16 inches to 18 inches maximum measured form deck to seat top when in raised position. Lift seat must be designed to stop at 16 inches to 19 inches maximum measured from deck to seat top when in raised position.
Spa Lifts - Footrests No provision. Footrests not required on lifts provided in spas.
Pool Lifts - Controls

Controls must not require continuous manual pressure for operation.

No provision.

Pool Lifts - Lifting Capacity

Single person lifts must have minimum weight capacity of 300 lbs. and be capable of sustaining static load at least three times rated load.

Single person lifts must have minimum weight capacity of 300 lbs. and be capable of sustaining static load at least one and half times rated load.

Sloped Entries - Slip Resistance

No provision.

Sloped entries are not required to be slip resistant.

Sloped Entries - Handrails for Certain Pools

No provision.

Clear width between handrails does not apply to wave action pools, leisure rivers, sand bottom pools, and other pools where user access is limited to one area. Handrail requirements do not apply to wading pools.

Transfer Walls - Height

Transfer wall must be 16 inches minimum to 18 inches maximum measured from deck.

Transfer wall must be 16 inches minimum to 19 inches maximum measured from deck.

Transfer Walls - Length

No provision.

Transfer wall must be 60 inches minimum length and centered on clear deck space.

Transfer Walls - Grab Bars Where one grab bar provided, clearance must be 22 inches minimum on both sides of grab bar. Where two grab bars provided, clearance must be 22 inches minimum between grab bars. Where one grab bar provided, clearance must be 24 inches minimum on both sides of grab bar. Where two grab bars provided, clearance must be 24 inches minimum between grab bars.
Transfer Systems - Transfer Platform Transfer platform must be 19 inches minimum clear depth by 22 inches minimum clear width. Transfer platform must be 19 inches minimum clear depth by 24 inches minimum clear width.

Transfer Systems - Height

Transfer platform must be 16 inches minimum to 18 inches maximum measured from deck.

Transfer platform must be 16 inches minimum to 19 inches maximum measured from deck.

Transfer Systems - Transfer Steps

Transfer steps must be 7 inches maximum height; 12 inches minimum and 17 inches maximum depth; and 22 inches minimum width.

Transfer steps must be 8 inches maximum height; 14 inches minimum and 17 inches maximum depth; and 24 inches minimum width.

Transfer Systems - Grab Bars

One grab bar must be provided on each transfer step. Top of gripping surface must be 4 inches maximum above each step.

At least one grab bar on each transfer step and transfer platform, or continuous grab bar serving each transfer step and transfer platform must be provided. Top of gripping surface must be 4 inches minimum and 6 inches maximum above each step and transfer platform. Where continuous grab bar provided, top of gripping surface must be 4 inches minimum and 6 inches maximum above step nosing and transfer platform. Grab bars must be located on at least one side of transfer system.

Pool Stairs - Handrails Width between handrails must be 20 inches minimum and 22 inches maximum. Width between handrails must be 20 inches minimum and 24 inches maximum.
Water Play Components No provisions. Where water play components provided, play area requirements and accessible route requirements apply. Where surface of accessible route, clear floor or ground spaces, and maneuvering spaces serving water play components is submerged in water, play area and accessible route requirements for cross slope, running slope, and surface requirements do not apply. Transfer systems permitted to be used in lieu of ramps to connect elevated play components.
 

 

10.4 New Construction Impacts

Pools with Less Than 300 Linear Feet of Pool Wall

The final guidelines require that pools with less than 300 linear feet of pool wall provide at least one accessible means of entry into the water. The means of entry must be a pool lift or slopped entry. We assumed the 715 new pools per year in this category would provide a pool lift. At $4,000 per unit, we estimated the total annual compliance costs for the 715 new pools to be $2.9 million.79 We also assumed about 25 of the new pools constructed each year at water parks would be wave action pools, leisure rivers, or other pools where user access is limited to one area. These pools are also required to provide at least one accessible means of entry into the water. We assumed these pools would also provide a pool lift and estimated the total annual compliance costs to be $0.1 million.

Pools With 300 Linear Feet or More of Pool Wall

The final guidelines require that pools with 300 linear feet or more of pool wall provide at least two accessible means of entry into the water.80 The primary means of entry must be a pool lift or slopped entry. Of the 505 new pools per year new pools in this category, we assumed that approximately one half, or 250 new pools per year, would provide an accessible means of entry in the absence of the final guidelines. A research project on swimming pool accessibility conducted for the Access Board in 1996 surveyed 103 pool operators, including public parks and recreation districts (58 pools), YMCAs (11 pools), hospitals (11 pools), water parks (6 pools), hotels (5 pools), colleges and universities (5 pools), and others (11 pools). 81Seventy five pools (73%) had one accessible means of entry, and 49 pools (48%) had more than one accessible means of entry. Sixty seven pools (65%) had slopped entries and 57 pools (55%) had pool lifts. Interviews we conducted with pool contractors, and the market research report also identified a trend toward designing family recreational pools with play equipment that are shallow or zero depth on the ends.82 We also interviewed two pool lift manufacturers who stated they sold about 1,000 lifts for commercial pools in 2001. During the public comment period, pool operators stated that they are currently providing accessible means of entry to the water. For example, the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association stated many of its members provide pool lifts or slopped entries in their new pools. We assumed that the 250 new pools per year that would provide an accessible means of entry in the absence of the guidelines would install a pool lift to provide a second means of accessible entry. We estimated the total annual compliance costs for these 250 new pools to be $1.0 million. For the other 255 new pools per year in this category, we assumed the means of accessible entry would be a pool lift and pool stairs, and estimated the total annual compliance costs to be $1.7 million.83

Wading Pools

We have not made a separate estimate of the number of new wading pools. We assumed that current designs of wading pools provide sloped entries and there will not be any additional costs for such pools.

Spas

The final guidelines require that spas provide at least one accessible means of entry into water. The means of entry must be a pool lift, a transfer wall, or a transfer system. For the 560 new spas per year, we assumed a pool lift would be provided and estimated the total annual compliance costs to be $2.3 million.

10.5 Alterations Impacts

The alterations impacts are minimal. Commercial pools have a long useful life.Most of the work performed on commercial pools is maintenance.

10.6 Total Costs

For swimming pools, wading pools, and spas, the total annual compliance costs are $8.0 million.