Home' Splash Magazine : SPLASH Jun-July 2017 Contents The public pool code unique to
f you are in the business of building or designing public pools
in Western Australia you need to be aware that this state – the
only one in Australia – has a very comprehensive mandatory
Code of Practice that must be complied with. This Code is
enforced under the Health Act and administered by the Health
It applies to all pools in public facilities such as large council
run facilities, hotels, motels, caravan parks, schools, learn-to-swim
centres, nursing homes, hydro and physio therapy pools, serviced
apartments, health clubs, mine site pools, and apartment or grouped
housing facilities with more than 30 units.
Unlike other states that only get involved when the pool is
opened for use, the WA Code prescribes all sorts of details
from the structural water body, its final colours, bather load
limitations, filtration turnover rates, water testing, first aid
facilities, electrical, etc. It requires a hydraulic certification. It
contains appendices on safety signage, water heating systems,
ozone treatment, stairways, ladders and platforms, slip resistance
and water chemistry.
It is not without its minor errors
and is badly in need of revision, but
the majority is such an excellent
guide for building public pools that
even builders in other states are
using parts of it.
However, there is a real trap here
as many pool companies from other
states are unaware of the Code.
Even some in WA don’t seem to
know about it. The Code requires
approval in two parts: approval to construct and then approval to
operate. And don’t rely on any local government office (from where
a building permit must be obtained) to advise a builder of the
Code’s existence let alone what it contains and what happens if it
Consequences for the unwary
A number of public pools get constructed and opened without
approval. HDWA invariably finds out about them and they are
immediately shut down. When this occurs, they advise the pool
owners to engage a specialist consultant to sur vey the pool for
compliance. In all cases I have been involved in, additional works
are required and the facility may be closed for up to three months
while modifications are made.
Some recent cases come to mind:
Caravan park pool
A common domestic fibreglass pool was installed at a caravan park
450km from Perth. To make this pool compliant, the plumbing had
to be replaced with larger diameter pipes; a second skimmer box
had to be fitted to the pool shell; the floor of the pool had to be
painted in a lighter colour; hand rails at an entry/exit point were
installed; the pump, filter and chemical treatment equipment was
all upgraded; and a first aid area was installed.
The pool itself could have been rejected as some of its features were
still not compliant but I managed to get it approved.
An eastern states based franchise operator opened what was its first
facility in WA. It was closed by HDWA three days later as no approval
had been sought.
As well as the many changes required to toilets, change rooms and
first aid facilities, I found that the filtration turnover rate was only a
quarter of that required. A filter rate that I would not have put on a
domestic pool of the same size!
Major modifications included emptying the pool; adding three new
skimmer boxes; adding more inlets; and adding a larger pump and
filter system. All up this was a costly two-month close down.
This company is now incorporating some of the WA requirements
into its newer facilities in other states.
Some readers may have heard that WA is getting a new stadium for
AFL football and other sports.
The stadium design includes recovery ice and hot baths to general
specifications that came from the AFL hierarchy in Victoria. At the
time of writing, the AFL facilities
were close to requiring installation of
the baths and spas, but a visit to the
HDWA threw a spanner in the works.
Ice baths that in the East apparently
are suitable for up to 10 persons are
only good for three in WA – and we
have to call them spas to get that
many. Hot spas for 14 are only good
for six persons, etc.
However, when I think of 10 x
1.8m-plus half naked guys crammed
into three square metres of space, maybe our requirements make
some sense. Of course, given that the water temperature is only six to
eight degrees Celsius, maybe they want to be crammed up a bit.
Solving this problem involved a compromise. The water bodies
remain the same or similar, but will be adapted with an overflow grate
into an ingenious system of balance tanks, sized so that even if the
useable water body is small, the combined water body/balance tank
facility will be of sufficient capacity to accommodate the required
As indicated, our code is far from perfect and sometimes has
difficulties in keeping up with changing technologies, but I firmly
believe it is better than anything else in Australia.
Public pools generally in the other states could do with a similar
document. In the meantime, if any readers are going to be involved in
new public pools in WA, you had better check with the WA Health
For these informative articles, Cal Stanley draws on his 35 years’
experience and success in pool construction, having run award-
winning Neptune Pools in Western Australia for three decades, and
sitting on many standards committees and industry body boards. For
the past five years he has worked as a pool consultant and trainer and
delivers hydraulics courses for the swimming pool industry. If you
have a question regarding his columns or a have a topic you think he
should delve into, contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org
“At the time of writing, the AFL
facilities were close to requiring
installation of the baths and
spas, but a visit to the HDWA
threw a spanner in the works.”
By Cal Stanley
26 SPLASH! June/July 2017
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