Important Tips to Get in Compliance with New ADA Guidelines for Public Pools
Don’t let another summer go by before making your pool accessible for all of your guests. Dive into trusted tips from 101 Mobility® St. Louis owner and pool lift installer Brad Kohlbrecher to ensure cost-effective and code-compliant pool lift decisions are made within your organization. * See ADA pool lift guidelines here*
Pool Lift Weight Limits - In order to meet ADA compliance, a pool lift must have a minimum carrying capacity of 300 pounds. Many mobility dealers carry pool lifts with lifting capacities of 500 pounds. TIP: No matter which weight limit you opt for, be sure to train your staff on how to respectfully address guests who may be above the pool lift’s weight limit. Keep in mind that weight is a sensitive subject and should be handled tactfully.
Battery vs. Manual Pool Lifts - Battery-operated pool lifts allow the user to independently lift themselves into or out of the pool at the push of a button! Should the user be unable to operate the pool lift, most battery-powered pool lifts include buttons on the battery pack that can be controlled by a trained staff member. Manual lifts give the user virtually zero control; trained staff members are required to lift the user in or out of the pool via a lever system. TIP: Worried about battery power? Although most pool lifts include energy indicators, investing in a spare battery isn’t a bad idea. Remember there are maintenance items that must be checked on daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Semi-Fixed vs. Fixed-Anchored Pool Lifts - Semi-fixed portable pool lifts allow the device to be moved from one location to another. Portable pool lifts use counterweights such as sand or cast iron blocks to ‘counter’ the weight of the pool lift user. Semi-fixed portable pool lifts are mounted to the pool deck by anchors or brackets and can be easily removed for storage or other placement. Fixed-anchored pool lifts are designed for permanent placement. (Fixed-anchored pool lifts are anchored to the pool deck, bonded to the rebar (pool sides) or a grounding rod planted deep into the ground and then attached to a pool lift anchor.) TIP: Bonding a pool lift may sound like it’s easier said than done. Local permitting codes and ADA guidelines must be followed to avoid penalizations or fines. Many times, even semi-fixed pool lifts require bonding. Be prepared to have sections of concrete removed for bracket installation which may include having the brackets attached to rebar (bonded) and then having your pool deck surface replaced. To ensure a safe and efficient pool lift installation is done right the first time, factory certified service technicians are highly recommended. Check here to find a reputable installer in your area.
Pool Lift Placement - A professionally trained installer will know how to install the pool lift no matter what type of pool deck you have and understand placement according to manufacture design. Important measurements that a professional installer would pay close attention to are water depth and submerged depth (the depth that that the user will be positioned at once lowered into the pool). Double checking these measurements will make getting in and out of the lift much safer and easier for the pool lift user. TIP: Consider clear deck space, or the area from which the person in the wheelchair will transfer to the pool lift. According to ADA guidelines section 1009.2.3 the clear deck space should be a minimum of 36” wide and 48” forward with a minimum of 12” behind the rear edge of the seat.
Custom Pool Lift Features - Choose to customize your pool lift to give your guests an improved water access experience. Handrails and seatbelts provide added security and peace of mind. It may be wise to opt for an access key that prevents unauthorized use of the lift – ideal for facilities with small children present. TIP: If you want to brighten up your aquatic surroundings, a Harmar pool lift may be perfect for your facility! Harmar pool lifts are designed with a resort appeal. Seats are available in a variety of fun and relaxing colors.
If you are located in or around the St. Louis area, feel free to call Brad Kohlbrecher for trusted mobility advice and professional wheelchair ramp, stair lift, auto lift, patient lift, wheelchair lift or pool lift installations. Find a professional installer near you today by following this link!