DOJ to Industry – Pools and Spas Need At Least One Accessible Means of Entry

By William A. Brewer III Managing Partner, Bickel & Brewer | June 30, 2013

The new regulations establish different standards for pools and spas that depend upon their size. Larger pools, with more than 300 linear feet of pool wall, must have two accessible means of entry, while smaller pools and spas require one. The DOJ also requires that every pool and spa have at least one pool lift or sloped entry, with a minor exception for clustered spas.

Operators using “fixed” pool lifts (which are attached to the pool deck or apron) must ensure that they are in position and ready for use during hours that the pool is open. This means that pool lift batteries must be fully charged and operational during pool hours. Equipment must also permit independent operation by persons with disabilities.

Pools that require an additional means of entry have the added option of installing a transfer system, transfer wall or pool stairs. Portable or “non-fixed” pool lifts are acceptable only if an owner or operator can establish that installing a fixed pool lift is not “readily achievable.”

Sharing accessible equipment between pools is not permitted unless it is an undue burden to provide equipment at both. Compliance for new or altered construction is absolute, while existing places of lodging can apply the “readily achievable” standard to determine whether the new ADA standards apply to them.

The DOJ defines “readily achievable” simply as “easily accomplishable without much difficulty or expense.” Notwithstanding this plain definition, determining whether required action is “readily achievable” involves a fact-intensive inquiry and varies from business to business and sometimes from year to year.

The factors that are considered include:

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.