Pool surrounds should be cleaned at the start of each day by washing and scrubbing with water chlorinated to 10mg/l. Proprietary chemical cleaners formulated for pool use may be necessary for stubborn dirt.

Mechanical scrubber driers on separated extra-low voltage (SELV) pick up the water and solution used in cleaning and then dry the surface. These are ideal but should be emptied and disinfected and dried after each use.

Deposits of dirt etc just above the water line of a freeboard pool can be cleaned off with a chemical-free scouring pad, using sodium bicarbonate or carbonate solution. Operators should wear gloves and goggles.

If a deck-level pool surround falls away (to drain) from the transfer channel, lowering the water level in the pool can keep any cleaning residue out of the pool water.

Some pools have a transfer channel, which is capable of being isolated from the pool water system. So for cleaning purposes the pool water level can be lowered (pool circulation stopped) so that water from the pool no longer flows down the channel. Then the transfer channel is used to take any cleaning residue, and by opening the drain valve and thoroughly flushing, the cleaning residue goes to waste.

Proprietary chemical cleaners, if required, should be formulated for poolside use, and come from reputable suppliers (even though the target is to prevent their getting into the pool water). They may contain surfactants that affect the monitoring of chlorine residual and cause foaming or phosphates which promote algal growth. They may contain oxidising agents that give a false reading on water tests. Other compounds simply contain ammonia (they may smell of it) and could produce unhealthy pool conditions (through high combined chlorine levels).

For all these reasons, proprietary cleaners should be avoided altogether if possible. But in any case, every effort should be made to keep cleaning products out of the pool and any transfer channel. Ideally, there should be some way of draining all poolside washings to waste.

Certainly, care should be taken to avoid outright incompatibility between cleaning and pool chemicals, which could be dangerous. Chlorinated isocyanurates – often called trichlor or dichlor – can react violently with neat hypochlorites (particularly calcium hypochlorite). In general, reactions between acid and alkalis are potentially dangerous.

Chemical cleaners – whether for pool surrounds or the water line – should never be used when there are people in the pool.

Periodic removal of hard water scaling and body grease

It may be necessary in all wet areas, pool surrounds, showers, changing rooms and toilets to tackle a build-up of lime scale from the water and/or body grease and oils from bathers. Use sodium bicarbonate or carbonate to remove any organic build-up such as body oils or grease. Use an acid-based cleaner (e.g. weak hydrochloric acid/or citric acid) for removing scale. It is important that that no residue from these cleaning programmes returns to thepool water.

Slip resistance

Slip and trip hazards can be reduced by good design. Surface roughness, moisture displacement, the profile and surface pattern of the finish and foot-grip, all affect slip resistance. The slip resistance of any given surface will diminish if the gradient becomes steeper than 1 in 30 or is less than 1 in 60 (because such a shallow gradient is not sufficient to ensure that moisture drains away). Where falls outside the recommended range have to be specified, finishes should have a particularly high slip resistance. Floor finishes with different slip-resistance characteristics should not normally be specified in the same area.

The normal recommended range for the fall in wet areas is between 1 in 35 and 1 in 60. When combined with a slip-resistant finish such as a ‘25-stud’ ceramic tile, this should create a satisfactory surface.

Movement joints

Where movement joints are provided in order to meet the requirements of BS 5385: Part 3 1989 (amended 1992),19 the compound used should be as hard as possible so as to reduce the likelihood that it can be pulled out of the joint.

Drainage gullies and transfer channels

Floor gullies, gutters and valleys should not constitute a tripping hazard, and the drainage outlet should have no sharp edges. They should also be easy to maintain and clean.

Deck-level transfer channels should be cleaned as required, at least once a month. They should be drained and flushed out with 10mg/l chlorinated water which can be returned to the balance tank. Grilles should be scrubbed weekly with 10mg/l chlorinated water.


Wall finishes to circulation areas should be smooth for a height of 2 m minimum so as not to present a hazard to bathers moving around. Any projecting piers or columns should be provided with a rounded or bull-nosed edge. Consideration should be given to the safety implications of rocks, planting features and structures provided close to walkways.


It is essential that any glazing used in the pool area is of the appropriate specification to ensure that it can withstand body impact (BS 6262: Part 4 2005). If the pool is used, for example for water polo, windows will need protection against ball impact, for instance through the use of impact-resistant toughened glass or polycarbonate sheeting or netting. Consideration will need to be given to ways of reducing the amount of glare caused by the glazing which could affect the view of lifeguards and pool users.


The constructional design of ceilings and the roof deck over ‘wet’ areas should take into account the need to avoid condensation, which can affect the structural integrity of the roof itself. Detailed guidance on this issue can be found in the Handbook of sports and recreational building design (available from Sport England Publications) and is also available from the Advisory Service of the Building Research Establishment. Suspended ceilings should be avoided wherever possible, but if they are essential they should be designed in such a way that allows routine inspection of the ceiling void, internal roof structure and light fittings.

Public toilets

Ideally, toilet facilities should include male and female accessible toilets for users with disabilities. At least one unisex accessible toilet should also be provided.

For small community pools with a limited social/viewing area, a unisex accessible WC compartment should be provided in addition to any accessible provision within the changing areas. For larger facilities, the provision of accessible toilets should be considered in respect of an overall access strategy.

Changing facilities

Swimming pool changing can be designed with either open-plan single-sex areas or as a ‘village changing’ unisex area with individual cubicles.

The village changing arrangement is usually preferred for the various modes of use. Village changing can provide:

  • Greater flexibility to accommodate varying mixes of male and female users, including family changing and changing for people with disabilities
  • Flexibility to allow staff of either sex to supervise, clean and maintain the area 29
  • Minimise any perceived sense of insecurity for sensitive users 30 by well-designed changing rooms that offer privacy through adequately-sized, good-quality cubicles.

There is scope for variations in both systems with the addition of group single-sex changing rooms, buffer rooms and additional cubicles. This can give a degree of choice for user groups.


Toilets should generally be provided in accordance with BS 6465. They should be sited in a prominent position on the route from the changing area to the pool hall, before any pre-swim shower provision. This can be difficult to achieve with mixed-sex ‘village’ changing layouts where the circulation routes between rows of changing cubicles may lead directly onto the pool surround. Some repetitive circulation is inevitable as the toilets are normally located to one side of the changing area.

Separate-sex toilets are required and need to be designed to accommodate users with disabilities.

In small pools it is more economical to provide a separate accessible unisex WC compartment. This can be planned with access from the pool surround. The toilet design/layout should ensure:

  • The toilet and urinal area is screened for privacy
  • There are no hidden areas to hinder staff supervision
  • There is sufficient circulation space to enable easy access for wheelchair users
  • Regular cleaning with a hose
  • Robust water-resistant and vandal proof fittings.



Shower provision should be in accordance with BS 6465 and based on a 50% male and 50% female use of the pool.

For reasons of swimming water hygiene, pre-swim showers should be positioned to encourage their use prior to pool entry. Therefore, they should be positioned close to the pool surround.

In contrast, post-swim shower cubicles should be positioned as close as possible to the lockers in a mixed-sex village changing area or within individual male and female changing areas so that swimmers can conveniently retrieve their soap and towels.

Where cost is a factor, showers can cater for both pre and post-swim needs in one area. They can be planned close to the pool hall or in a recess off the pool surround to allow indirect staff supervision.

Attention should be given to adequate drainage and slip-resistance of the floors to shower areas, to prevent soap creating a hazard.

Footbaths are not considered an effective method of cleaning feet and are an impediment to disabled people – therefore these should not be used. Foot sprays are an alternative, although well-positioned showers that encourage use prior to swimming are the best option.

The shower design and layout should ensure:

  • Adequate warm water consistent with water economy
  • Dirty water is prevented from entering the pool or, in a deck level pool, the surround channel
  • Showers are planned without stepped thresholds and use appropriate falls and floor drainage channels or gullies to remove water
  • A number of fully enclosed showers for post-swim showering
  • There are waste receptacles close to the shower area for empty shampoo bottles and sachets
  • Drop-down shower seats are provided for users with disabilities.


Baby change facilities

Baby changing facilities should be easily accessible. They should be well ventilated and equipped with an adjustable changing shelf, a large purpose made nappy disposal bin and an adjacent washbasin. Provision can be within the male and female toilets and/or by providing one or more unisex accessible rooms with enough space for a parent, 2 children and a push chair (See BS 6465 and BS 8300). This may be integrated into a unisex accessible changing room with toilet, or by providing a dedicated unisex accessible parent and child toilet.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel fitting and fixtures should be cleaned whenever it has lost its original appearance. How often this is required will vary, some elements may require daily cleaning, others may require only annual cleaning. Detergent is not normally required (water will suffice, unless there is a build-up of body-fats, grease, dirt, scale etc.

Corrosion of stainless steel can occur if there is not adequate control and management of the air quality in the pool hall, especially with regard to the relative humidity, which has a direct influence on the amount of condensation that may settle on to stainless steel elements of the construction. The condensation in a pool hall will inevitably contain aggressive by-products of the disinfection process and this can lead to stress corrosion cracking. This has led to the collapse of supporting structures of suspended ceilings in some pools.

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