{468x60.media}
Ms. Rose

ADA Compliance

Is Your Pool or Water Feature ADA Compliant?

By Clara Rose, President & Creative Director, Creative Alliance

The March 2012 deadline for the new ADA regulations came and went; most compliance changes were accepted as necessary and reasonable. The exception seems to have been the changes for water features, which launched a massive response in the industry.

As the deadline approached, the uproar of the hospitality industry over the water feature lift requirements prompted the Department of Justice to grant a 60 day extension for compliance on that particular regulation. Additionally they published a notice of proposed rulemaking with a 15-day comment period on the possibility of a longer extension to allow time to address misunderstandings regarding compliance with the new requirements.

Despite an outcry from the ADA community stating that facilities have already had two years to come into compliance; the Department of justice said:

"After carefully considering all of these factors, including the unique burden that an additional postponement would impose on individuals with disabilities, the department has concluded that a further extension of the compliance date is warranted."

The good news is - properties are not expected to become ADA compliant overnight; rather, they are encouraged to evaluate their facilities and create long-term plans for barrier removal and compliance.

The mission and purpose of the Americans with Disabilities Act is to ensure that those guests with different abilities have equal access to the same options as other guests; this includes the water features at a place of public accommodations. The goal of the Department of Justice is to ensure that everyone - regardless of their different abilities - has an equal opportunity to enjoy services and facilities… not to cause distress or hardship to businesses.

Summary of ADA Changes

While this list in not intended to be all inclusive, here are a few features that have new changes - which affect a majority of hospitality properties. For those interested in more information, the corresponding sections are included for research purposes.

• Golf facilities (Sections 238, 1006 and sections 239, 1007 for miniature golf)

• Exercise equipment (Sections 206, 236, 1004)

• Play areas (Sections 240, 1008)

• Saunas and Steam Rooms (Sections 241, 612)

• Recreational Boating Facilities (Sections 235, 1003)

• Fishing Piers and Platforms (Sections 237, 1005)

• Amusement Rides (Sections 234, 1002)

• Water Features (Sections 242, 1009)

Current Hot Topic

Of course the conversation continues to circle back to the current hot topic - water features. The hospitality industry was waiting anxiously on the ruling about the six month compliance extension but now the department of Justice has granted a "stay of execution" on non-compliance for water features at places of public accommodations and the industry is left to their own devices regarding compliance.

Water Features (Sections 242, 1009); Pools, wading pools and spas.

  1. Water features are required to have an accessible means of entry and exit for those with different abilities. Most commonly this is a lift that makes it possible for those using a mobility device to access the pool or spa, without assistance.

  2. If a property has two of the same water features, such as two outdoor pools, one must be accessible by means of a lift or sloped entry and a transfer wall, transfer system or pool chair.

  3. If one water feature is located inside the facility while the other is an exterior water feature - BOTH must meet the access requirements. Remember, it is about having the same options for guests with different abilities as other guests.

  4. Portable lifts ARE allowed but they must be fixed in place at the water feature while the water feature is open to guests.

  5. Water features are not permitted to share one lift unless they are located in such a way that the lift does not need to be repositioned or relocated by the staff.

Saunas and Steam Rooms (Sections 241, 612); while technically not considered a water feature, saunas and steam rooms are often located adjacent to water feature areas and share restrooms and changing rooms.

  1. Accessible routes into saunas and steam rooms are required, this includes accessible path of travel to restrooms and changing rooms.

  2. Adequate turning space and doors that do not swing into the clear floor space ensure access for those using a mobility device.

  3. If benches are provided, an accessible bench must be available as well. A bench that folds out of the way when not in use is acceptable.

The U.S. Department of Justice recently conducted a webinar in an effort to clear up any confusion about the new water feature regulations. They addressed how the pool access provisions apply to the existing pools of public accommodation entities subject to title II of the ADA. The webinar is scheduled to be archived and available for rebroadcast, visit their website www.ADA.gov for more information.

Extension Granted

With the recent ADA Compliance extension granted by the Department of Justice, the deadline for installation of water feature lifts have been has been pushed out until January 31, 2013. While this short reprieve has created a collective sigh of relief in the hospitality industry, it should not give license to complacency. It is almost certain that there will be very little leniency for those not compliant by this new deadline. During this compliance extension, the department of Justice has announced that it will not enforce the fixed elements provision in the 2010 standards against those owners who purchased otherwise compliant portable lifts prior to March 15, 2012, as long as those owners keep the lifts in place for use and operational during all times that the water feature is open to guest.

With almost 1,000 new technical regulations to read and understand; these dry and wordy regulations can be somewhat overwhelming. Thankfully, the Department of Justice (DOJ) offers a technical assistance program that provides free information and technical assistance. The DOJ offers a full range of publications to explain the laws, including a series of question and answer publications. Be aware that unless noted, the publications currently available on the ADA web site have not yet been updated to reflect the newest changes.

New Technical Assistance Documents Available

The Department of Justice has released a new technical assistance document regarding the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act to water feature at places of public accommodations. This document, "Questions & Answers: Accessibility Requirements for Existing Pools at Hotels and Other Public Accommodations" is available on the ADA.gov website, in PDF format.

Also released was an updated version of the "ADA 2010 Revised Requirements: Accessible Pools - Accessible Means of Entry and Exit." This document is available on the ADA.gov website as well.

These two documents address common questions about accessibility requirements for existing water features. Both documents were issued as part of the department's technical assistance efforts to assist businesses in understanding their obligations under the ADA.

As with most endeavors, a solid plan of action makes any daunting task seem much more achievable. Having an understanding of any deficiencies through an ADA Compliance Survey from a qualified ADA Compliance Specialist, is a reasonable place to start when creating a compliance plan. The amount of remediation necessary and the associated costs, will of course determine if there is a need for a phased plan.
An ADA Compliance Specialist can also assist with the creation of a compliance binder, which documents compliance issues and scheduled remediation. A binder shows good faith that compliance is taken seriously and that there is a plan to bring the property into compliance.

For additional information about the obligations of public accommodations under the ADA, contact the Justice Department's toll free ADA information line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTD) or visit the ADA website at www.ada.gov.

Clara Rose is the founder of Creative Alliance and co-founder of Nationwide Compliance Alliance. She believes that business success is not accidental, merely the implementation of a sound strategy and the correct tools. Ms. Rose finds great reward in equipping entrepreneurs and business owners with the tools and pieces for business success. As a professional speaker, trainer and author; Clara works with teams to help them create a culture of understanding and sensitivity in the workplace and equips professionals with tools and insights. Additionally, she speaks and writes about the different forms of communication that are an integral part of business life with Customers, Colleagues and Co-workers. Ms. Rose can be contacted at 941-284-8640 or Clara@ClaraRose.com Extended Bio...

HotelExecutive.com retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by HotelExecutive.com.

Receive our daily newsletter with the latest breaking news and hotel management best practices.
Hotel Business Review on Facebook
RESOURCE CENTER - SEARCH ARCHIVES
General Search:

OCTOBER: Revenue Management: Technology and Big Data

Steve  Van

Do you have a catering assistant whose first question each morning is Did we sell out? or What was our occupancy and ADR last night? What about a front office associate who is so hungry to earn the perfect sell incentive that every time she works the 3:00 to 11:00 shift and the hotel has just a few rooms left to sell, you can count on the fact that you are going to end up with a perfect sell? If so, you may have just found your next revenue manager! READ MORE

Will Song

Airbnb is less than a decade old, but it has already begun to make waves in the travel industry. The online marketplace where individuals can list their apartments or rooms for guests to book has been able to secure a surprisingly stable foothold for itself. This has caused some hoteliers to worry that there’s a new competitor in the market with the potential to not only take away market share but drive prices down lower than ever. Let’s take a closer look at how Airbnb fits into the industry right now and then walk through the steps of the ways your hotel revenue management strategy can be adapted to the age of Airbnb. READ MORE

Brian Bolf

Revenue management tends to be one of the most challenging hospitality disciplines to define, particularly due to the constant evolution of technology. Advancements in data processing, information technology, and artificial intelligence provide our industry with expanded opportunities to reach, connect, and learn from our guests. Ultimately, the primary goals of revenue management remain constant as the ever-evolving hospitality industry matures. We must keep these fundamentals top of mind, while proactively planning for the tighter targets that lay ahead. That said, how can we embrace these innovations, operate under constricted parameters, and learn from the practices used today to achieve our same goals moving forward? READ MORE

Sanjay  Nagalia

Every year, it seems as though the hospitality industry faces more competition, new opportunities to leverage their data, and difficult organizational challenges to overcome to remain competitive in a hypercompetitive marketplace. The popularity of the sharing economy, dominating OTAs and a growing generation of often-puzzling consumers all give pause to hotels as they strategize for a more profitable future. Hotels have been feeling the heat from OTA competition for several years, causing many organizations to double down on their efforts to drive more direct bookings. Revamped loyalty programs, refined marketing campaigns and improvements to brand websites have all become primary focuses for hotel brands looking to turn the tables on their online competition. READ MORE

Coming Up In The November Online Hotel Business Review




{300x250.media}
Feature Focus
Architecture & Design: Authentic, Interactive and Immersive
If there is one dominant trend in the field of hotel architecture and design, it’s that travelers are demanding authentic, immersive and interactive experiences. This is especially true for Millennials but Baby Boomers are seeking out meaningful experiences as well. As a result, the development of immersive travel experiences - winery resorts, culinary resorts, resorts geared toward specific sports enthusiasts - will continue to expand. Another kind of immersive experience is an urban resort – one that provides all the elements you'd expect in a luxury resort, but urbanized. The urban resort hotel is designed as a staging area where the city itself provides all the amenities, and the hotel functions as a kind of sophisticated concierge service. Another trend is a re-thinking of the hotel lobby, which has evolved into an active social hub with flexible spaces for work and play, featuring cafe?s, bars, libraries, computer stations, game rooms, and more. The goal is to make this area as interactive as possible and to bring people together, making the space less of a traditional hotel lobby and more of a contemporary gathering place. This emphasis on the lobby has also had an associated effect on the size of hotel rooms – they are getting smaller. Since most activities are designed to take place in the lobby, there is less time spent in rooms which justifies their smaller design. Finally, the wellness and ecology movements are also having a major impact on design. The industry is actively adopting standards so that new structures are not only environmentally sustainable, but also promote optimum health and well- being for the travelers who will inhabit them. These are a few of the current trends in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.