Design Parameters For Public Swimming Pools

Hydraulic considerations must be addressed to protect the safety of users. The use of dual main drains or gravity-feed balancing tanks can significantly decrease the potential of suction entrapment. Additional safety features include the design and location of fill spouts or better, gravity-fill lines located in the filter equipment room. Furthermore, the design of hand holds and step locations for entering and exiting the pool must be considered.


The modernization of filtration equipment to maintain water clarity is a major factor in new construction. The type of filter selected should be based on bather load, environment (indoor or outdoor), space requirements and maintenance staff training. Innovations in filtration equipment now require less “footprint” space to achieve water clarity.

Fencing And Barriers

Barriers are one of the major topics in new construction and renovation. Suitable barriers help prevent unauthorized access, thus protecting children from injury or drowning. New codes regarding the height of the fences, location and functionality of gates are being implemented across the country.


If the desire is to modernize the pool facility, the location and height of the diving board(s) is important. The feasibility and design phases should focus on the newest standards for diving boards along with reviewing the existing pool depths and slope. Any alteration to the pool structure needs to address this slope issue.

Handicap Access

Handicap access is of utmost importance when undertaking any new construction, renovation or modernization. Be sure to consult The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), administered by the Department of Justice, and obtain a written, credible opinion regarding the location and the type of access for people with disabilities. Studies by the National Center on Accessibility have identified and evaluated methods and standards related to handicap access for public swimming pools. The study found that at least one accessible means of entry and exit must be provided on all public swimming pools. It was recommended that lifts, ramps, stairs with appropriate railings and zero-depth entry are the preferred means. During the feasibility study, this topic should be discussed and legal documentation should be obtained.

Water Chemistry

New water chemistry equipment has been developed and should be considered when modernizing or building a new pool facility. If the facility proposes interactive water play areas, there are specific requirements for sanitization and the introduction of chemicals into the pool water. Automatic feed systems, electrolytic chlorine generators, ultraviolet equipment, digital readouts and computer-assisted feed controls all add value to the renovation and should be addressed during the feasibility and design phases.

Get The Most Use

When conducting the feasibility study, the team should consider the general usage of the facility. Will there be night swimming, which will require additional lighting within the pool as well as on the deck area? Determine water depths that will work for various activities, for example, competitive swimming versus children swim instruction.


There are many options for decking around the pool. Most codes require a minimum decking, but the decking should be adequate for sunbathing. Aquatic operators know what percent of people are actually using the pool compared with the number of sunbathers, and this information should be considered when designing the decking. In addition, the decking should be designed as slip-resistant, with proper drainage to prevent slipping and falling.


Although we have addressed the structural and design areas of the swimming pool, there are additional areas surrounding the pool that need to be considered in the feasibility and design. In many locations, changing rooms and bathrooms are being upgraded and increased. Diaper-changing stations are now mandated in both men’s and women’s bathrooms because men are playing a greater role in children’s upbringing. These areas should be addressed in the modernization of any pool facility.

Additional Space

The study may determine a need for visitor and spectator areas. Food and drink are usually prohibited around the pool deck, but the facility needs areas in which patrons can consume food and beverages.

Water Parks

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