5 Things to Consider When Building An Aquatic Facility

September 6, 2022

When designing and constructing a swimming pool, swim school, aquatic park, or water feature, there are many factors to evaluate. This blog post introduces 5 major considerations essential to a successful project:

1. Concept and design

Designing aquatic facilities requires balancing aesthetics with safety and functionality.

The pool deck plays an essential role in the design of any aquatic center. It determines the aesthetic appeal as well as swimmer safety. It is necessary to carefully consider the surface material of a pool deck because it will be exposed constantly to foot traffic, moisture, cleaning, and sunlight. Surfaces should remain easy to walk on, not overheat or become slippery when wet.  

As part of the design phase, fences or privacy barriers are required to ensure swimmer and public safety while enhancing curb appeal. The material or style you choose should be safe, durable, and easy to maintain.  

Our aquatic design engineering team specializes in designing and engineering swimming pools, swim schools, aquatic parks, and water features for various commercial and residential clients. We partner with architects and owners to provide state-of-the-art designs for facilities. Our goal is to anticipate and resolve design and construction problems ahead of time so that we save our clients both time and money.

2. Regulations

The CDC reported that aquatic venues are associated with a significant increase in disease outbreaks, drownings, and injuries. These are all preventable with the proper operation and management of facilities.

Following the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) is one way to ensure proper facility management. Our designs are influenced by state, county and local health code requirements. It’s important to note that the MAHC isn’t required by law but there is a lot of overlapping information. The MAHC is a set of guidelines that "bring together the latest science and best practices to help jurisdictions save time and resources when they develop and update pool codes. These codes outline the rules designers, builders, and managers of public aquatic venues must follow to maximize water-based activities' fun and health benefits." According to the CDC, adhering to the MAHC can prevent drownings, pool chemical injuries, disease outbreaks and closures due to public health hazards.  

When constructing aquatic facilities, it is essential to ensure they comply with the American Disability Act (ADA). The ADA requires that people with disabilities access the same water activities as everyone else. The act covers many aspects, from ensuring that a facility's entrances and exits are accessible to portable versus fixed pool lift requirements. Failure to comply with ADA requirements can result in the revocation of permits, monetary fines, and citations.  

Before we begin any project, our team conducts a thorough site assessment and a review of all codes and regulations. Our knowledge, experience and skill ensure that your aquatic project meets all rigorous regulations, standards, and certifications.

3. Department Permits

Obtaining a building permit is required for all property owners, and some also require electrical and plumbing permits. There can be heavy penalties for construction projects that do not have the correct authorization.

Before installing any aquatic facilities, property owners should contact their respective state, county or local health departments.

Our Aquatic Engineering Team will assist you in obtaining the necessary permits for your safe, functional, and aesthetically pleasing project.  

4. Profitable Programming

Through partnerships with schools, health centers, and retailers, facilities can create sustainable programs beyond swim lessons, concession sales, and equipment rentals. Several centers have gained additional revenue by offering group yoga sessions, event rental spaces, and child care programs.  

5. Product Interactions

Harold Evans at Pool and Spa news states, "It is highly likely that, without warning labels or proper education, professionals are creating combinations that are unsafe, harmful, or at a minimum contradictive. The EPA, NSF, and current labeling laws do not mandate disclosure of interactive risk with other known additives in pool water. But if you combine certain chemicals, the byproduct reactions become your professional responsibility." Combining harmful chemicals can result in chlorine poisoning, scale film on surfaces and pipes, or corroded equipment. You must balance pool water to maintain a healthy pool and create a clean and comfortable swim environment while protecting the pool's‌ ‌structure‌ ‌and‌ ‌equipment.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), "A number of the pool chemicals, especially those exhibiting oxidation properties, can potentially be highly reactive and capable of generating high temperatures, as well as releasing toxic vapors if improperly handled or stored."

Our projects span the United States and we are pre-qualified by the Illinois Department of Public Health to administer engineering design standards that apply to water facilities. We are experienced in advanced disinfection, U.V. sanitation, and filtration technologies, including regenerative media filtration.


When designing and constructing a swimming pool, swim school, aquatic park, or water feature, it is essential to seek guidance because there are many factors to consider.

WT Group's Aquatic Engineering Team has over 40 years of experience designing over 3,000 aquatic and park district facilities. Our goal is a safe, functional, and aesthetically pleasing aquatic project and our Aquatic Engineering Team will efficiently and knowledgeably guide each step of the process, from concept to final construction.

About WT Group

WT Group provides clients with a single-source engineering solution to help maintain the integrity of all projects from start to finish. With over 50 years of experience, WT Group's highly skilled engineering, design and consulting teams ensure consistency, clarity, and accuracy in the most cost and time-efficient manner. Contact us today!