ADA Pool Rules Signed into Law
After a six-year wait, the Americans with Disabilities Act swimming pool guidelines have become the law of the land. Commercial aquatics facilities now have 18 months to comply with the new requirements. Certain sections of the ADA have been revised, and updates include adoption of the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, which establishes detailed accessibility requirements for pools.
The law mandates that any commercial pool containing more than 300 linear feet of pool wall perimeter must have at least two means of entry that are wheelchair accessible. One entry is required to be either an automated lift, or a sloped entry. The second can be a lift or a sloped entry — or it can be one of several other methods: pool access stairs, a transfer system that resembles a set of small portable stairs; or a transfer wall, which is a low wall with handles that helps people lift themselves over the side of the pool.
Pools with less than 300 linear feet of pool wall perimeter need one accessible means of entry: either a lift or sloped entry. Spas need one entry, which can be a lift, a transfer system or a transfer wall.
The law will become effective in April 2011, and will apply to all newly constructed commercial pools. Existing facilities will be allowed one year from that date to bring their equipment into compliance with the standards. However, most pool operators and designers have long been using the guidelines, which were first published in 2004.
- Click here for full ADA Guidelines for Swimming Pools (.pdf) or go to http://www.access-board.gov/recreation/guides/pools.htm for complete information.
Important Tax Incentives for Improving Accessibility
Your purchase of ADA compliant access products may qualify you for a special tax incentive on your tax return. These tax incentives are available to individuals and businesses that incur expenses to accommodate the needs of someone who is disabled.
Two tax incentives are available to businesses to help cover the cost of making access improvements. The first is a Disabled Access Credit that can be used for architectural adaptations, equipment acquisitions, and services such as sign language interpreters. The second is a tax deduction that can be used for architectural and transportation adaptations.
Disabled Access Credit
Small businesses qualify for the Disabled Access Credit if they meet one of the following criteria:
- Had revenues equaling less than $1,000,000 for the previous tax year
- Have 30 or fewer full-time employees
The amount of the tax credit is equal to 50% of the eligible access expenditures in a year that exceed $250 but are not more than $10,250. Thus, the maximum allowable credit is $5,000. The credit can be used to cover a variety of expenditures including barrier removal, providing interpreters, and the purchase of adaptive equipment or modifying equipment. These expenses must be associated with required adaptations to existing facilities. To apply, you must fill out the Disabled Access Credit form (form 8826) and provide appropriate documentation in your tax return. Please speak with your Accountant or qualified tax preparer for more information on how to take advantage of this benefit.
The tax deduction allows a business of any size to expense up to a maximum of $15,000 per year of items that normally must be capitalized (depreciated). This deduction may be used for expenses associated with the removal of architectural or transportation barriers in association with a trade or business that complies with applicable accessibility standards. Please speak with your Accountant or qualified tax preparer for more information on how to take advantage of this benefit. Small businesses can use these incentives in combination if the expenditures incurred qualify under both the tax credit and tax deduction. For more information regarding these programs for small businesses, please visit http://www.ada.gov/taxpack.htm
This information has been compiled only for your convenience, and is not intended to take the place of professional consultation or official documentation. Please speak with an Accountant or qualified tax preparer for complete details about these programs.