The Moving Target of Swimming Pool Safety Compliance
by John Gitzinger, Director of Commercial Service, Platinum Poolcare
The current state of affairs
The relationship between condominium/townhome associations and their swimming pools has become more and more complicated over the last 3 to 4 years. Many factors have contributed to this complexity, which include: The Virginia Graeme Baker Act (VGB), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the requirement of CPO certification and the more active policing role played by the Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH). The IDPH has closed many a pool for failure to meet the minimum requirements of the new VGB code, and safety seems to be at the top of the list for IDPH enforcement agents this year. Trying to learn all code requirements for swimming pools can appear to be a daunting task, as those who take care of the pool without the help of guards or attendants can attest.
IDPH and Cook County are looking closely at existing facilities to determine code compliance, and have begun to levy fines on properties deemed to not to have met minimum code requirements. Additionally, these agencies are issuing monetary fines for properties for not completing the minimum repairs required to meet the code in a timely fashion. The agencies have historically been noting these warnings on the inspection reports, and are now turning to enforcement for laggards. The associated fines are generally assessed on a per diem basis, and will add up quickly if not addressed.
Many association pools are granted "grandfather" status, thereby reverting to past code requirements for compliance. Every issue is not necessarily covered under this exception, however, and certain renovation projects may require the association to bring additional seemingly unrelated safety items up to current minimum standards. It is important to understand that while some renovation work does not require an IDPH permit, most work done on the swimming pool actually will. For example, IDPH will require a permit for any changes to existing equipment unless it is an exact replacement. This is true even if the existing equipment is undersized, or incorrectly installed. It is the responsibility of the association to make sure all permits have been obtained and all inspections have been completed.
Law & Industry Daily
Friday, March 16, 2012
WASHINGTON, March 16 (LID) – The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday announced it was delaying for 60 days enforcement of a new law that requires public pools to be accessible to disabled individuals.
The Justice Department, in a statement, conceded there were "misunderstandings" about provisions of the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design relating to public swimming pools.
"Requirements for existing swimming pools will be extended for 60 days," the DOJ said. "The department will also publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with a 15-day comment period on a possible six-month extension in order to allow additional time to address misunderstandings regarding compliance with these ADA requirements."
Aimed at bringing public pools in compliance with federal disability access requirements, the rule requires pool owners to install ramps and wheelchair lifts or else face lawsuits.
The requirement was announced in 2010, in regulations stemming from the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.).
"The requirements for newly constructed and existing pools will ensure that, going forward, people with disabilities can enjoy the same activities—a community swim meet; private swim lessons; a hotel pool—at the same locations and with the same independence, ease, and convenience as everyone else," the DOJ said.
The 2010 Standards for Accessible Design were published in the Federal Register on Sept. 15, 2010 (FR DOC # 2010-21824).
Source: Law & Industry Daily (http://s.tt/17v6n)