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Sport NZ releases guidelines for aquatic flooring surfaces

Sport NZ releases guidelines for aquatic flooring surfaces
August 1, 2013

Intending to identify the various swimming pool surfacing options available and to determine the steps developers need to follow to minimise the risk of surface failure, Sport NZ has released a new report, 'Guidelines for Aquatic Flooring Surfaces'.

With a number of aquatic facilities in New Zealand having experienced surface fail, an occurrence Sport NZ identifies as "an area of significant unanticipated maintenance within New Zealand pools", the report aims to provide guidelines to the aquatic industry in order that sound and well informed decisions are made by local councils, designers and pool operators in the specification, installation, cleaning and maintenance of aquatic surfaces.

Commissioned by Sport NZ in association with the New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) and Architecture HDT Ltd, the report primarily considers aquatic flooring surfaces, but also touches on pool tank surfaces.

It has been issued for the purpose of raising awareness around the product selection, installation and use of surface finishes within aquatic facilities.

The report explains that "the cost of building and/or refurbishing community aquatic facilities is significant.

"These facilities are used by a wide cross section of the community for an increasingly wide range of aquatic activities. The selection, design, installation, cleaning and maintenance of flooring surfaces in and around pools is critical to the safety of pool patrons and staff.

"Aquatic facility users have varying degrees of physical ability, ranging from elite athletes to those who by virtue of age, temporary or permanent disability have restricted mobility."

Key points from the report include:

• The variety of aquatic experience and the range in physical ability of pool patrons and staff requires products be selected for specific circumstancesthere is no risk free 'perfect' aquatic surface suitable for all applications. All products contain some degree of risk, whether this be in the specification, installation, maintenance or use of the product.
• Successful outcomes are the product of a shared risk approach between clients, designers, contractors and facility operators. All parties have a part to play, and it is important that clear project processes and awareness of project roles and responsibilities are understood.
• The best performance indicator is in-use history of the product in the same environment. Critically, it was noted that products proven to be unsuccessful in some facilities were continuing to be specified and used elsewhere. It is recommended that a central database of aquatic facilities be set up which includes specifics about surface type, cleaning methods and maintenance costs used in New Zealand facilities. This should include key contacts relevant to these facilities so that this knowledge can be readily shared amongst the aquatic industry.
• It is not easy to use current New Zealand standards to establish compliance of aquatic surfaces with the New Zealand Building Code. This report recommends that further research be undertaken and that New Zealand standards be updated so as to provide specific guidance to designers and Territorial Authorities regarding aquatic surfaces. This information would be best found within the NZS 4441 Swimming Pool Design Standard, with other industry standards for slip resistance referencing it.
• The use of experienced consultants and contractors is critical to successful outcomes. 

The report is issued for the purpose of raising awareness around the product selection, installation and use of surface finishes within aquatic facilities. 

Click here to view the report.

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