Many of us do not live where we have our own pool but our condominium and apartment complexes have shared pools that are owned commercially. Whether you are the commercial owner or a resident user, commercial pools present challenges of their own. Many of the additional regulations for commercial pools vary by state so it is important to research the rules for your own state to insure compliance. But not to worry … they will find you when they send out their Public Inspector to make sure your pool is appropriate for use.
One of the largest concerns for commercial pools is safety. These pools are required to fenced, mostly to protect small children from wandering in on their own. Lifesaving equipment such as pool hooks and buoys tied to ropes must be readily available and clearly displayed. Signage will usually detail if the pool is lifeguard supervised or list a disclaimer of liability (swim at your own risk) and will list who to contact in emergency. Those all seem rather obvious.
Safety however extends to the pool itself and the decking. Cities have shut down commercial pools for pool decking that has buckled and presents a trip hazard. Water depth must be clearly labeled throughout the pool so swimmers know what they are jumping into in advance. Inspectors pay close attention to the pool equipment itself. Drains in commercial pools are required to have special covers to protect swimmers (primarily children) from getting trapped in the drain. Many commercial pools are also required to maintain a specified clearance between pool furniture and the edge of the pool. Furniture around the pool must be in good condition. And frankly, this just touches the surface …. Pun intended. Clearly safety is priority one … not only for the swimmers to protect the liability of the owner.
When you have your own pool with just a few swimmers, it is easier to maintain proper water quality. Commercial pools again present additional challenges due to the fact that these pools are often larger and they have far more users. The more people in the water, the more sunscreen to come off in the water, the spilled beer, the small children not making it to the bathroom … the water quality can shift quickly.
The water quality requires attention to the chemical balances of the water itself which is usually done by a hired professional and a scheduled basis. The water must be CLEAN and free of debris, sand, leaves, trash or anything else that could have blown in. The water must be CLEAR and filtered with the right amount of chemicals for appropriate pH levels and other chemical balances. It is a science but I know we have all seen a pool where the water was “murky”. You don’t want that at your home … but you certainly don’t want it in a pool you are sharing with strangers.
Commercial pools, with few exceptions, are required to adhere to the American with Disabilities Act. There are volumes of information related to ADA but fundamentally, anyone with a disability must have access to the pool. The same applies to restrooms surrounding the pool.
Maintaining a commercial pool is a process in itself and requires a lot of professional assistance to insure 24/7 access. Families do NOT want to show up for their vacation to discover the “pool is closed for repairs” and lose out on part of what they came for. Check your state laws, focus on SAFETY and ADA compliance, and keep that water clean and clear. Oh yeah … turn up the pool temperature a bit. No one except very young brave boys and girls can stand to swim in cold water.