We recently published 11 valuable safety tips for apartment swimming pools. It is heartwarming to note that some time back, the Tamil Nadu Government Gazette published the Regulation and Monitoring of Swimming Pools Rules, 2015.
These offer a formal structure to the construction, management, maintenance and safety of swimming pools. These byelaws offer information covering the following:
- Applying for permission to construct and operate a swimming pool
- Swimming pool inspections by the authorities
- Modification of existing swimming pools
- Structuring the swimming pool, fittings and accessories
- Water treatment system
- Personnel including pool manager, lifeguards
- Safety features and rescue equipment
- Water quality
- Operation and maintenance
- Operational timings
- Regulations for swimming pool users
Let’s look at each of these briefly. It is important to take the utmost care in the construction and management of swimming pools, besides paying attention to safety regulations, since swimming pool accident statistics are alarmingly high.
Application for Permission for Construction and Operation of a Swimming Pool
Those intending to construct a swimming pool on the premises must apply for permission to the Executive Authority in the prescribed format, along with the necessary documents and fee and an affidavit on non-judicial stamp paper. If the swimming pool plans to have a diving facility, a clearance certificate must be obtained from the Public Works Department and attached with the application.
After doing its due diligence, the Executive Authority may or may not permit the construction of the swimming pool. Permission is granted depending on the approvals from other competent authorities after which construction may begin.
On completion of construction, the owner/occupier of the swimming pool must submit a completion report and apply for permission to operate it, along with an affidavit on non-judicial stamp paper to the Executive Authority. The swimming pool can be operated only after obtaining the No Objection Certificate.
The Executive Authority and the Inspecting Authority can carry out random or regular inspections. If there are deviations and defects, these shall be rectified within the specified period. The swimming pool cannot be in use until satisfactory rectifications are made.
What about existing swimming pools?
For existing swimming pools, owners must carry out modifications mandated in these byelaws within a period of two months from the date on which they are effective. They can begin using the swimming pool only after the authorities inspect and approve it.
The byelaws provide detailed instructions about the dimensions, structure, material, floor slopes, transition point, pool walls, water depth, walkways and deck areas, ladders, step-holes, steps and ramps, diving area specifications, diving board rules and starting platforms. The byelaws also specify electrical installation and lighting requirements, ventilation, regulations related to showers and bathrooms for sanitary facilities for each gender, fencing and exits.
The goal is to ensure safe operation, minimizing safety hazards and proper maintenance and management of the swimming pool.
Maintenance of the swimming pool
One of the most important things in swimming pool maintenance is an efficient water treatment system that must have adequate filtration and water recirculation. It must also keep the chemical balance and disinfect the water for safety. The byelaws offers a list of mandatory accessories such as easily removable hair and lint strainer, inlets for filtered water, outlets at relevant points, makeup water, filtration and disinfection.
Each apartment complex must also have a competent pool manager, lifeguard and swimming coach or instructor with the requisite qualifications. The byelaws mention working hour rules and duty time.
Besides the above, the byelaws list specific safety features in relation to pool visibility for the lifeguard, life saving devices, rescue equipment, the display of emergency telephone and emergency contact list, depth markers for the swimming pool, operation and maintenance of the pool and pool area.
Regulations for swimming pool users form a crucial part of the byelaws, including the pool manager’s responsibility for ensuring that pool users stick to certain guidelines. For instance, users may enter the pool only after they’ve showered and are in the right attire. There is a list of situations when the swimming pool shall not be used, such as when the user has consumed alcohol, or is sick and during lightning and thunder. The pool manager’s responsibilities also include testing the water daily and declaring it fit for use and keeping a record of it.
Apartment complex residents and management committee have a responsibility to ensure that the facility is well maintained and safe. The ADDA app is a great tool to involve the residents and encourage their participation in implementing these measures. Tamil Nadu is the only state in India who have published guidelines on Swimming Pools. As mishaps regarding swimming pools are increasing all over India, these set of guidelines is an excellent reference for apartment complexes across India.
For a detailed version of the byelaws, here is the link
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