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Swimming Pool Accessibility

3rd Apr 17

The Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards 2010 is an important piece of legislation that has been in effect since May 2011. This legislation requires that all building approval applications for new buildings or upgrades to existing buildings must comply with guidelines that were created to ensure accessibility to all people. Since their introduction, the Disability Standards have helped improve the accessibility of Australia’s new and upgraded public buildings. This means that more people than ever are able to participate in our society, contribute to the economy and enjoy life in our communities on a more equal basis.

 

In today’s post, we’re focusing on the guidelines for making swimming pools accessible to all people. The Disability Standards provides several suggestions for methods that can be used to enable access into and out of swimming pools. The wide variety of methods available ensures that a solution can be found for nearly every swimming pool configuration. If you’re involved with planning or building a new swimming pool, or are planning a substantial upgrade to an existing pool, we encourage you to learn more about the options available. At Vestner, we are very knowledgeable about these accessibility requirements and are happy to answer any questions you might now.  

Ramps

Fixed or moveable ramps are a simple solution to swimming accessibility challenges. These ramps can either be constructed as permanent fixtures or can be portable so they can be moved where and when they are needed. Ramps provide access to water wheelchairs and to people who have difficulty using stairs or ladders. They’re also a safer option for parents who are carrying young children into the pool.

Legal requirements:

All fixed or moveable ramps used for swimming pool access must:

 

  • Have a slip-resistant surface
  • Have handrails installed on both sides of the ramp and kerbs
  • Extend to a depth between 90cm – 110cm below the water level
  • Have a landing at the top of the ramp and a landing below the water level at a depth between 90cm – 110cm
  • Have a gradient less than 1:14

Zero depth entry

If you’re building a swimming pool, consider installing a zero depth entry ramp. It’s very difficult to retrofit a pool with this type of structure, but it is one of the safest and universally appealing way to enter the water. A zero depth entry ramp essentially begins at the pool’s edge and gradually lowers into the deeper area, similar to how you gradually enter the water at the beach. Zero depth entry ramps require very little maintenance and also provide an easy and safe way for small children to enter the water.

Legal requirements for zero depth entry:

A zero depth entry ramp must:

 

  • Be slip-resistant
  • Have a gradient no greater than 1:14
  • A single handrail installed to allow access from the top entry point to the bottom
  • Have a level area at least 150cm long along the width of the entry area
  • Have a level area located at the bottom of the entry area at a level between 90cm – 110cm below water level

Platform pool lifts

Like their terrestrial cousins, swimming pool platform lifts provide access to individuals who may have difficulty walking down a ramp. They are installed right along the pool’s edge and are designed to submerge in the water, allowing those with limited mobility to enter and leave the water easily.

Legal requirements for platform pool lifts:

Platform lifts designed for use in a pool setting must be:

 

  • Operable from the pool surroundings, within the pool and on the platform
  • Located for use by water that is not deeper than 130cm
  • Able to carry a weight of at least 160kg

 

 

Sling-style pool lift

When using a sling swimming pool lift, the individual is seated in a sling-like seat and then lowered into the water. They are easy to operate and have a small footprint, making them an excellent choice for smaller swimming pools. They come in a variety of seat sizes to suit all members of the public.

Legal requirements for sling-style pool lifts:

All sling lifts used in the swimming pool setting must meet the following requirements:

 

  • Be located next to the pool in an area where the water is not deeper than 130cm
  • When an individual is in the sling in the raised position, the centreline of the sling must be located over the swimming pool, but further than 45cm from the pool’s edge
  • The pool deck area immediately around the sling lift must be slip-resistant and have a gradient less than 1:50
  • The sling pool lift must be operable from the sling, within the pool and from the pool deck
  • The sling must be able to submerge at least 50cm below the water level
  • The sling lift must be able to carry a load of at least 136kg

Learn more

If you’re building a new swimming pool or updating an existing swimming pool in Australia, you will need to comply with the Disability (Access to Premises — Buildings) Standards 2010. Anyone involved with the project, from the architect to the builders, will need to be aware of these standards. If you need help choosing the most appropriate accessibility option for your swimming pool project, we encourage you to contact us. Our team is well-versed in swimming pool accessibility options and can offer a complete range of planning, design, build and maintenance services, all designed to make the process much easier for you.

 

Photos

Colmsie Pool by Brisbane City Council, CC BY 2.0
Pool 1 by Tom Britt, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

 

Written by

As Business Development and Operations Manager, Mark’s role includes building and maintaining business relationships, and managing and overseeing larger projects, all while keeping a watchful eye out for business opportunities.  Having a background in the health and disability sector provides Mark with the necessary understanding to assist clients when considering access solutions for people with mobility requirements.

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