The state of Florida has long been considered a vacation and retirement destination for the rest of the United States and the entire globe. With more than 8,000 miles of shoreline and 1,300 miles of beaches, Florida’s natural water vistas are rivaled only by an abundance of swimming pools. Carvin Digiovanni, the senior director of standard and technical services for the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) based in Alexandria, Virginia noted a total of 1,080,955 iin-ground pools in Florida, according to 2011 statistics. Those figures have likely increased over the last year; add in 617,917 hot tubs or spas and you have a very impressive amount of recreational water requiring maintenance and monitoring.
A Must-Have Amenity
At least one swimming pool is considered a must-have amenity for all condominium properties in Florida, and particularly properties located in the southern quadrant of the state where the climate is tropical to sub-tropical all year long. Pools create an atmosphere and an ambiance for any property. They are often a backdrop for social and recreational events and meetings. Beach lovers frequently favor pools for a refreshing swim—minus sand and harsh salt water—followed by a relaxing soak in the spa. Pool exercise classes, or water aerobics, are another great source of recreation, and hot tubs and spas offer therapeutic relief for a host of ailments, as well as an enjoyable relaxation experience. When family and guests come to visit, an on-site pool offers a convenient recreational outlet for all ages. Even a non-swimmer can enjoy a barbecue or cocktail party when the setting includes a lush pool landscape decorated for the event.
The majority of Florida’s condo pools are in-ground; above-ground pools are comparatively rare. They are a possible alternative to a traditional pool for residential homes, but not an optimal choice for condominium properties or public facilities, partly because they're not nearly as durable as in-ground models, and because they may also prove difficult to modify for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Indoor pools are more prevalent than the above-ground variety, and are seen most often within facilities with health clubs and gyms, and/or limited outdoor property. Indoor pools should pose no more of a challenge to modify for ADA requirements than outdoor pools. New construction will not be awarded a certificate of occupancy without meeting all ADA requirements, and any non-compliant facilities may face direct legal action by the state, and civil lawsuits from individuals.
Accessibility & Safety Issues
New ADA guidelines for swimming pools were issued in March of 2011. Requirements apply to existing and new pools, wading pools, and spas (in-ground and portable) and deal with accessibility for all people to include ramps and lifts.