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ADA Defense Lawyer:
What does the ADA pool lift compliance extension mean to you?



By Jim Butler of the Global Hospitality Group®
Author of www.HotelLawBlog.com
March 19, 2012

ADA Defense Lawyer: What does the ADA pool lift compliance extension of May 15 mean for you?

First, let's be clear that all compliance dates have NOT been extended!

Extended deadline for pool lifts is May 15

Responding to concerns expressed by the hotel, pool and spa manufacturing industries, and those of a number of U.S. Congressmen, on March 15, the White House plunged into the swimming pool access controversy by issuing a 60-day an extension to implement the 2010 ADA Standards for pool lifts. As a result of this action, the new deadline for installing pool lifts is May 15, 2012, but that too may change.

March 15 deadline remains for all other provisions of new ADA Standards


The March 15, 2012 compliance date remains in effect for all other provisions of the 2010 Standards. The Department of Justice will soon publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking giving the public 15 days to express their views. We expect the hotel and pool and spa industries will take a much more active role in the public comment process than they did when the 2010 Standards were initially open for comment.

Events have been moving very fast when the official government position changes 180 degrees in less than 24 hours. And that his what has happened. So my ADA expert partner, Marty Orlick, and I thought it might be helpful to explain what is going on, and what it likely means to you.

Here it is . . .

Where has all the confusion come from?


The 2010 Standards (which were to go into effect March 15, 2012) do not mention "fixed" pool lifts. The confusion over the new ADA pool lift requirements intensified on January 31, 2012 when the Department of Justice (DOJ) "clarified" its position on pool lifts in a letter to the AH&LA stating that:
  • Pool lifts must be "fixed" to pool and spa decks at all times that the pool or spa is open to the public. Portable pool lifts would not comply with the new Standards (unless a fixed pool lift was not readily achievable), and
  • Pool lifts cannot be shared among different water elements (i.e. a pool and spa).
The DOJ's clarification that only fixed pool lifts are permissible at pools and spas caught most by surprise and raised more questions than it answered. This was a significant change in the 2010 Standards which make no mention of "fixed" pool lifts. Many had relied on the published 2010 Standards in an effort to manufacture enough pool lifts to meet the needs of the hotel industry, and the diligent have been purchasing and installing them.

Pool lift manufacturers and distributors have been in full production for months, making and selling portable pool lifts which they proudly advertised on their websites as "ADA Compliant" or as "meeting all of the ADA requirements." Many thought these portable devices were preferable, because they could be utilized when disabled guests needed them and be shared between the pool and spas as needed.

This DOJ's pronouncement 18 months after promulgation of the new rules sent tsunami-sized waves through the hotel and pool and spa lift industries.

A huge gap to be bridged
 

Pool and spa industry estimates are that less than 5,000 pool lifts were sold in the U.S. in 2011 and that there are an estimated 300,000 public pools and spas in the country that need to comply with the 2010 Standards. There was no ready source to provide an adequate number of pool lifts to meet this demand, despite desperate efforts by manufacturers to design and produce them.

Critics say that the DOJ did not adequately take into consideration whether the pool lift industry could scale to such numbers, particularly for fixed pool lifts, in such a short time. Although there are some pool lift manufacturers who designed fixed devices, many did not.

Our hotel clients report that fixed pool lift demand cannot be met. Since January 31, 2012, manufacturers have been working round the clock to develop retrofit solutions to "fix" their lifts to pool and spa decks.

Why relief was/is needed

Hotel owners and operators contacted their elected representatives who in turn contacted the DOJ and the White House to express concerns about promoting access to pools and spas for the disabled community while recognizing the legitimate interests of public safety and hotel operations.

With less than 2 months' notice, installing fixed pool lifts was all but impossible. These lifts simply do not exist in the quantities necessary to meet the demand.

The lack of inventory and manufacturing capability for compliant pool lifts and the focused efforts of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHL&A) played significant parts in today's executive decision to postpone the compliance date for pool lifts.

What you should do now . . .


So, the compliance date for installing pool lifts is now May 15, 2012 and may be extended again. At this point, the 2010 technical Standards are unresolved. You should have a plan in place to comply with the new pool and spa access requirements. However, you may be well advised to put your toe in the water before you take the plunge to buy pool lifts until the DOJ determines precisely what types of pool lifts satisfy with the Standards.

JMBM's ADA Compliance and Litigation Group has been working closely with design professionals and hotel owners to develop solutions to pool lift compliance challenge. Give us a call if we can help you.

Jim Butler
Chairman, Global Hospitality Group®
jbutler@jmbm.com
(310) 201-3526

Marty Orlick
Senior Member, Global Hospitality Group®
Chairman, ADA Defense Team
morlick@jmbm.com
(415) 984-9667

Other ADA defense and compliance resources

You can access the full library of ADA materials on Hotel Law Blog by going to the home page, selecting the tab at the top that says "HOTEL LAW TOPICS", and then clicking on "ADA Defense & Compliance" in the drop down menu . . . or by clicking here.

DOJ turnabout: Pool lift compliance deadline extended to May 15

ADA defense and compliance lawyer: More clarification or confusion on March 15 ADA standards?

GlobeSt.com interviews JMBM's ADA Defense and Compliance Lawyers

ADA ALERT - A call to action before the March 15, 2012 ADA deadline

DOJ clarifies March 15, 2012 mandatory pool lift requirement! (Uh-oh!)

New ADA compliance standards for golf courses. What do they mean to you?

Quick! Can you pass this 3-question ADA pop quiz?

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Department of Justice (DOJ) ADA enforcement "sweeps" hit the West Coast. What you need to know now.

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ADA Compliance is no longer an option. There is a "new sheriff" in town, and problem prevention costs a fraction of defense and compliance under a microscope.

ADA Sweeps by U.S. Department of Justice -- Coming to a theater district or Hotel near you soon? How to get ready before it's too late.
Defending ADA lawsuits. How your hotel website can make you a target for ADA lawsuits
_______________________

This is Jim Butler, author of www.HotelLawBlog.com and hotel lawyer, signing off. We've done more than $60 billion of hotel transactions and have developed innovative solutions
to unlock value from hotels. Who's your hotel lawyer?
________________________

Martin H. Orlick is one of the top ADA defense lawyers in the country, having helped clients with more almost 500 ADA cases for hotels and other businesses. He is also is a senior member of the law firm's Global Hospitality Group®, a partner in the real estate department, and a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL). For more information about ADA compliance and defense, contact Marty Orlick at 415.984.9667 or morlick@jmbm.com.
_______________________

Our Perspective.
We represent hotel lenders, owners and investors. We have helped our clients find business and legal solutions for more than $60 billion of hotel transactions, involving more than 1,300 properties all over the world. For more information, please contact Jim Butler at jbutler@jmbm.com or +1 (310) 201-3526.


Jim Butler is a founding partner of JMBM, and Chairman of its Global Hospitality Group® and Chinese Investment Group™. Jim is one of the top hospitality attorneys in the world. GOOGLE "hotel lawyer" and you will see why.

Jim and his team are more than "just" great hotel lawyers. They are also hospitality consultants and business advisors. They are deal makers. They can help find the right operator or capital provider. They know who to call and how to reach them.



JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group®
The hotel lawyers in the Global Hospitality Group® of Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell (JMBM) comprise the premier hospitality practice in a full-service law firm and are the authors of the Hotel Law Blog. We represent hotel owners, developers, investors and lenders and have helped our clients find business and legal solutions for more than $60 billion of hotel transactions, involving more than 1,300 properties worldwide. For more information about the Global Hospitality Group®, go to www.HotelLawBlog.com. For more information about full range of legal services provided by JMBM, go to www.JMBM.com.
.
Contact: 

Jim Butler
jbutler@jmbm.com
310.201.3526

 

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Also See: DOJ Turnabout: Pool lift compliance deadline extended to May 15 / Jim Butler / March 2012

5 Things to Remember when Buying Hotel Notes / Jim Butler / March 2012

ADA Defense and Compliance Lawyer: More clarification or confusion on March 15 ADA standards? / Jim Butler / March 2012

ADA ALERT - A Call to Action Before the March 15, 2012 ADA Deadline / Jim Butler / February 2012

GlobeSt.com Interviews JMBM's ADA Defense and Compliance Lawyers: Hotels Handle Pool Lift Regulations / Jim Butler / February 2012

FBI Tips for Hotels; How to spot terrorists and what to do. / Jim Butler / February 2012

ADA Defense and Compliance Lawyer Advisory: DOJ Clarifies March 15, 2012 Mandatory Pool Lift Requirement! (Uh-oh!) / Jim Butler & Martin Orlick / February 2012

Quick! Can You Pass This 3-Question ADA Pop Quiz? / Jim Butler / January 2012

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