The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a comprehensive civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. The ADA requires that newly constructed and altered state and local government facilities, places of public accommodation, and commercial facilities are readily accessible to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities. The ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) is the standard applied to buildings and facilities.  Recreational facilities, including swimming pools, wading pools, and spas, are among the facilities required to comply with the ADA.

The Access Board issued accessibility requirements for newly constructed and altered recreation facilities in 2010.  The recreation facility guidelines are a supplement to ADAAG.  As a supplement, they must be used in conjunction with ADAAG.  All newly designed, constructed and altered recreation facilities covered by ADA are required to comply.

Permitted Means of Pool Access
Pool Type Sloped Entry Lift Transfer Walls Transfer Systems Stairs
Swimming (Less than 300 linear feet of pool wall) Yes Yes
Swimming (300 or more linear feet of pool wall) - two means of entry required Yes* Yes* Yes Yes Yes
Wave action, leisure river, and other pools where user entry is limited to one area Yes Yes Yes
Wading Pools Yes
Spas Yes Yes Yes

* Primary means must be by sloped entry or lift; secondary means can be any of the permitted types.

Accessible Routes

Accessible routes are continuous, unobstructed paths connecting all accessible elements and spaces of a building or facility.  Accessible route requirements in ADAAG address width (minimum of 36 inches), passing space, head room, surface, slope (maximum of 1:12 or 8.33%), changes in level, doors, egress, and areas of rescue assistance, unless modified by specific provisions outlines in this guide.  An accessible route is required to provide access to the swimming areas and all the supporting amenities.  An accessible route is not required to serve raised diving boards, platforms, or waterslides.  But there must be an accessible route to the pool used with these features.


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