Getting your public pool facility right

featured in sb magazine 3/2023
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Hillcrest Centre pool_MJMA_credit Hubert Kang

Hillcrest Centre (Architects: HCMA)

photo credits: Hubert Kang

Recommendations for the delivery of public swimming pools

published in sb magazine 3/2023

Communities contemplating or starting on a public swimming pool project face a wide range of questions. This white paper from the IAKS Pool Expert Circle offers advice for successful decision making. 


Authors: IAKS Pool Expert Circle:

Bjorn Aas, Derek Anderson, Yvette Audet, Padraig Byrne, Darryl Condon, Tom Devin, Jakob Faerch, Paul Gerrits, Warren Green, Ole Gronborg, Michael Hall, Gar Holohan, Haymo Huber, Juergen Kannewischer, Stefan Kannewischer (Chairman), Christian Kuhn, Josef Lassnig, Thomas Meier, Jens Oyas Moller, Ruth Pujol, Marc Riemann, Stefan Studer, Ernst-Ulrich Tillmanns, Taio Waldhaus, Boris Zielinski.

Project stages

Source: Kannewischer Management AG, IAKS Pool Expert Circle

Why building a pool?

Pool types by activities

Source: Kannewischer Management AG, Mike Hall, Irina Korneychuk, Jens Oyas Moller

Establishing clear goals has many benefits. They provide a critical frame of reference when making the many challenging decisions one will encounter along the way. It is important to set clear goals prior to determining all of the spaces you will provide and the functions they will support. Many projects have suffered when goals weren’t followed during the process. Clear goals will give answers to these questions:

• Why is a pool being built?
• What should it achieve?
• How will success be measured?

Environmental sustainability

In many communities, the swimming pool has a large share in their community’s combined facility environmental impact. Thus, it is critical to make good early decisions affecting the sustainability aspects of the project. While there are many factors, they include:

•    Setting clear sustainability targets.
•    Reduction in embodied carbon. Refurbishment of an existing facility can have significant benefits to reduce embodied carbon but may limit functionality and increase operational costs.
•    Minimisation of operational energy use and emissions. Local and renewable energy sources should be considered.
•    Building management systems and seasonal control strategies are vital in controlling energy and comfort levels.

•    Energy monitoring of utilities in real time is necessary to identify wastage and high consumption that can be targeted for savings.
•    Building orientation and building envelope quality are important drivers to reduce energy use.
•    Eventual co-location of the pool with facilities where the pool’s heating needs can be offset against those having cooling needs, such as ice arenas and data centres.
•    Project commissioning and staff training are important to achieve the ongoing efficiency potential of a facility. As well, it is often possible to improve energy performance through analysis of operational improvements without any, or minimal, investments.
•    Healthy air and water are critical for both users and the environment. 

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