Category Archives: Design

Is Common Sense Drowning?

In the past few years the swimming pool industry has experienced an aggressive use of mandates of swimming pool codes without the inclusive interests of all stakeholders in the aquatic industry. The Virginia Graeme Baker Act cost the swimming pool industry hundreds of millions of dollars and there are new challenges that the current language does not go far enough. The Dept. of Justice has reinterpreted the ADA code for portable lifts “no longer applicable” for their intent. The Model of Aquatic Health Code public process is getting significant feedback from industry manufactures that may have their own agenda in mind and not benefiting from the collective wisdom of all stakeholders (owner/operators, designers, users, health code officials). These examples bring to question are we able to apply best practices to raise the standard of care and experience for aquatic patrons in the United States or will this effort be hijacked to promote narrowly focused agendas?

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Designing The Perfect Waterpark

Waterpark Success:  Designing the Perfect Waterpark

With today’s economy, everyone wants to build a waterpark and make lots of money.  The problem is, just because you build it doesn’t mean it’s going to make money.  Most people have no idea what it costs to construct a successful waterpark, let alone what it costs to operate.  They come up with some grand scheme based on their personal preferences and think that everyone is going to enjoy it.

Without taking the proper steps to plan your park, there is no guarantee that it will be successful.  The first question you have to ask yourself is what does success mean at your waterpark?  Then you need to make sure you have the proper amenity blend to be successful in your market.

After you have an idea of how big the park will be and what it may include, you have to get realistic cost estimates.  When you look at construction cost, you can’t just find out the cost of a ride.  Who’s going to put it in?  How are people going to get their?  Where are they going to park?  What are they going to do when they’re not in line?  Getting the right answer to each of these questions will help ensure success at the waterpark.

Click here to read the entire article, which appeared in The World Water Park Annual Developer Guide 2011.

Swimming Is The Top “Aspirational Activity” For Kids And Seniors

The Sporting Good Manufacturing Association partners with five other organizations to ascertain activity popularity. In 2011, they measured the activity of different age groups hope or wish to do (aspirational activity) for seven age groups ranging from six to 65+ years of age. “Swimming for fitness” was in the top three aspirational activities for EVERY age group. In fact, “swimming for fitness” was the leading aspirational activity for the 6-12 and the 65+ age groups. US census data suggests that the 65+ age group will increase from about 39.5 million  July 1, 2009) to about $88.5 million (2050),  according to the US Census Bureau. This finding demonstrates there is substantial interest throughout the population.

The above data was shared at the Learn-To-Swim Innovator Meeting in Colorado Springs Colorado on April 25, 2012. This meeting was sponsored by the National Swimming Pool Foundation.

Wish List For Chamionship Facilities

When developing a new aquatic facility that is intended to be a venue facility for sport, there are a significant number of priorities to be managed.  Most facilities will not be selected in the bidding process to host a major championship event.  When prioritizing capital dollars for the final solution, decisions will be required to balance the day to day programming needs against the requirements of hosting a major event.  To help understand the requirements of hosting a USA Swimming Championship Event, below is a wish list for the ideal facility.   


Long Course Championships

Main Competition Pool – Eight-lane 50 meter with 9’ wide lanes, all minimum 2m deep

Secondary Competition Pool – Eight-lane 50 meter with 9’ wide lanes, all minimum 2m deep

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Reasonable Pool ADA Requirements

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) testified today before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution in support of reasonable pool and spa entry requirements for travelers with disabilities and called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to work for sensible measures that provide access while protecting children from harm.

AH&LA ADA Counsel Minh Vu, a partner with Seyfarth Shaw, testified that, “much to their (the lodging industry) surprise and dismay, the Department of Justice changed the rules on January 31, 2012 – only six weeks before the compliance deadline,” adding that “the DOJ violated the Administrative Procedures Act when it issued these substantive new requirements without public notice or comment. These requirements were never mentioned by the DOJ at any time in the rulemaking process and do not appear anywhere in the 2010 Final Rule.”

Many lodging operators had purchased, or were in the process of purchasing, portable pools lifts that would provide access for travelers with disabilities under the 2010 Standards. These lifts can be stored when not in use, and thus prevent children from playing on them and getting hurt or damaging expensive equipment. On January 31, 2012, the Justice Department reinterpreted the 2010 Standards to require all lifts to be permanently affixed to the pool deck and available any hour a pool or spa is open to the public. Affixing a pool lift requires demolition of a pool deck to electrically ground, or bond, the lift to the deck. Portable lifts complying with all requirements of the 2010 Standards require no changes to a pool deck and can be quickly secured into place for use at adjoining pools and spas.

Ms. Vu raised several lodging industry concerns, including:

  • “The DOJ did not consider the increased risk of injury to children who will play on and jump off the pool lift into the shallow end of the pool.  The Association recently submitted a report to DOJ from a national aquatic safety expert who opined that an unattended pool lift left beside the pool raises serious safety concerns that must be studied.”
  • “The DOJ did not consider the risk of individuals with disabilities being injured while using an unattended lift that they have not used before.”
  • “The DOJ did not consider the liability that businesses will face when children and other people injure themselves using unattended lifts.”
  • “The DOJ did not consider the very real possibility that businesses will close their pools and spas in order to avoid being sued for lift injuries or, if they do not install a fixed lift, for not having one.”

AH&LA called on the Justice Department to withdraw the January 31, 3012, reinterpretation of the 2010 Standards and replace it with a guidance that allows the use of portable lifts that can be brought out upon request and shared between two pools or a pool and a spa in the same area. An extension of the compliance deadline would be necessary to ensure that enough lifts can be manufactured to equip all of the pools and spas that need lifts.

These new regulations will affect hundreds of thousands of pools and spas owned or operated by businesses and state and local governments. While the lodging industry fully supports the goals of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act and is committed to meeting the needs of all travelers, hoteliers are seeking a solution that achieves the dual purpose of accessibility and safety for all guests.