Ahead of the upcoming March 15 compliance deadline, the Department of Justice has issued an interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act revised 2010 standards that shoots down many facilities’ compliance plans involving portable lifts. evaluate options to present concerns to the DOJ.

Several manufacturers and organizations are coming together to

The DOJ ruled that Title III facilities (including hotels, motels nonprofits, swim clubs and other such facilities) may use portable lifts that meet the 2010 standards if a fixed lift is not “readily achievable.” For Title II (municipal) facilities, the DOJ said sharing a portable lift between multiple pools is not permitted unless it would result in undue burdens to provide equipment at each one. The DOJ has said in the past proving undue burden will be difficult. Further, the DOJ said portable lifts must be available and operable during all hours that the pool is open to the public.

Many operators were hoping to share portable lifts among multiple pools and store them away when not in use.

“The big issue for all of us is leaving the lift out all of the time,” he said. “Our fear as an industry, and the fear of the people in the hotel industry, is that the lifts are going to become an unintended play hazard," said John Caden, accessibility specialist at S.R. Smith in Canby, Ore.

According to experts, the DOJ is making an effort to mandate that pool operators adhere to the spirit of the law. But some have raised concerns, and stakeholders are meeting to discuss issues.

Ultimately, given the wide variance in designs and facility use, there is no single formula that will ensure access to everyone at every facility, Caden noted.

His company, along with other manufacturers and representatives from entities including theAmerican Hotel & Lodging Association, the >Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, the World Waterpark Association, and the National Recreation and Park Association, will be collaborating on a response to the clarifications.

To view the DOJ’s recently published clarifications, click here.

For more information from S.R. Smith on the pool lift clarifications,lick here.