Swimming Pool Design

Bluepools is a Professional Swimming Pool Engineer & Equipment Supplier, with unrivalled expertise in every aspect of Indoor Swimming Pools & Pool Halls.

About Bluepools

A new indoor pool will only be affordable, enjoyable to use and easy to look after if the pool designer does not make crucial mistakes in the following important swimming pool design considerations:

The best pool tanks are designed and built using Polybloks. These are ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) that are very light and fit together like Legobricks. They form a hollow insulated wall which is filled with pumped concrete and reinforcement.

They provide insulated, earthquake proof pool walls that can be built very quickly using inexperienced labour. The use of Polybloks (ICF) in swimming pool design provides the cheapest, fastest and easiest method of building a pool tank. Most builders will be able to excavate the hole, install the Polyblok wall foundation, erect the Polyblok forms and install the rebar and Through Wall Equipment in about 2 weeks.

The installation of the Through the Wall Equipment in any other form of swimming pool construction (formwork, concrete blocks, sprayed concrete, etc.) is very difficult and time consuming.

Polybloks can be used for Tiled or Vinyl Liner Pools and meet all Building Regulation requirements when used for the pool hall walls as well. Most importantly - by installing them up to the pool hall eaves levels - the requirement for costly and intrusive structural frames is avoided.

Polyblok Pools

Fibreglass pool shells should never be used in indoor swimming pool designs for the following reasons:

  • The attractive shiny gel coat surface will deteriorate steadily and will start to look dull and very unattractive in less than 10 years - and cannot be reinstated.
  • The size of the fibreglass shell obliges the builder to install it before the building works are undertaken and this leads to a very high risk of damage during construction that cannot be repaired.This applies particularly to roofs and ceilings over the pool itself.
  • An indoor pool with a fibreglass shell will have a very negative effect on the property value because it cannot be reinstated.

In a freeboard pool the water level lies about 6" (150mm) below the coping stones and in a deck level pool the water covers the top of the coping stones around the pool perimeter.

Freeboard swimming pools have skimmers that incorporate floating weirs to maintain the pool water level about 150mm (6") below the pool coping stones. Most freeboard pools are designed with an inadequate number of skimmers so that it can take several hours for the pathogens floating on the pool surface to be pumped through the water disinfection system.

In deck level swimming pools, the whole pool perimeter is designed to act as a weir - the water spills over the coping stones into a concealed gutter that collects the water from a pair of narrow (10mm wide) strips in the pool paving. Deck level swimming pools require a balance tank to hold the overflow water as well as sophisticated control systems. Bluepools designs and supplies the control panels with touch screens to ensure that these systems can be set up and operated on a trouble free basis.

Deck Level or Freeboard

Automatic floating covers (motorised reel covers with floating pvc slats) are the best type of pool covers as they practically eliminate heat loss, make the pool very safe and can pay for themselves very quickly in a time of rapidly rising energy costs.

In any indoor swimming pool design, one of the the most important choices is to decide on the type of insulated pool cover that will substantially reduce heat loss when the swimming pool is not in use. Automatic floating covers are effective (but not fool-proof) safety devices that will also reduce pool running costs by 60-70% by reducing evaporation and hence heat loss from the water surface. In the pool industry they are known as automatic covers - in reality they are motorised with pre-set stops in the open and closed positions that allow single push button operation without any risk of cover damage.

The automatic cover rollers can be submerged under the pool water in a variety of configurations that require modifications to the swimming pool tank design. Alternatively, they can be installed above ground at one end of the pool but this makes them visually very unattractive.

Bluepools supplies and installs the best value for money automatic floating covers available in the UK and provides all the design expertise required to guarantee that the costly covers work properly and do not need constant attention.

Automatic Pool Covers

The pool plant room should be located within 2 metres of one pool side and at least 3m² for a small domestic outdoor pool and 8m² for a domestic indoor pool.

Architects often design swimming pools without incorporating enough space for a Pool Plant Room that is close enough to the pool itself, is safe to access on a frequent basis and provides sufficient space for the pumps, filters and dosing equipment for maintenance and repairs.

This is the primary swimming pool design defect that Bluepools has encountered in the dozens of premium quality indoor pools that is has handled in the past year or so. For a deck level swimming pool designed with a floating automatic cover, even more space is required for the pool balance tank and an increase in pool tank length is needed to provide space for the submerged pool cover.

In most cases, an undercroft is not provided and this just makes things even more difficult because the cable and pipework routes are very restricted.

Pool Plant Room

An undercroft is an accessible area behind the pool walls that provides access for maintenance and repair of the cabling and pool pipework.

In the past, Architects would design the pool hall and its foundations and a Pool Installation Contractor would install the pool inside the building with all the cabling, pipework and ducting left buried beneath the pool hall floor. If there are any issues, the expensive floor paving will be dug up and at worst the pool hall structure might be badly damaged due to high pressure water removing supporting soil from beneath the foundations.

This scenario can easily be avoided by integrating the pool hall and swimming pool tank design so that an "Undercroft" is provided around the pool. If this is designed into the project from the start the extra cost of providing the Undercroft is very low but the benefits are enormous.

Bluepools indoor swimming pool designs incorporates a flat foundation slab that covers the entire pool hall floor area. The pool tank and basement perimeter walls are built on this slab using the ICF Polybloks. The spaces between the pool tank walls and the perimeter walls are then covered with a beam and block concrete floor that can be bought from the local builders merchant.

The "Undercroft" that is formed by this approach normally provides a headroom of 1200mm and provides permanent access to all the cabling and pipework including the connections to the skimmers, water inlets and submerged LED lights. If it extends under the Pool Plant Room the actual size of the plant room can be reduced as the need for air supply ducting can be eliminated at a considerable saving in cost. This works by pressuring the Undercroft so that it becomes the plenum chamber for the floor mounted diffusers that eliminate condensation on the pool hall glazing.

Building Pool Halls

Construction Costs of a swimming pool can be reduced by a large margin if a Local Builder carries out the work under the guidance of Bluepools.

Many Clients are very surprised to hear that the overall cost of an Indoor Pool Installation depends primarily on the footprint area of the pool hall (i.e. not the pool), the method of construction and the quality of the floor, wall, ceiling and exterior finishes.

Also, Building Inspectors can impose the same rules as those for residential buildings when they should not apply because people do not live in the pool hall. Hence overall costs can be minimised by using your Local Builder and making full use of the swimming pool design advice that Bluepools provides to counter the arguements of inexperienced Building Inspectors.

Most indoor pool halls will incorporate long lengths of external walls parallel to the long sides of the swimming pool. The lengths are always far in excess of the allowable length of unsupported wall under the Building Regulation rules. As a result the walls will need to be designed with butresses or structural frames of laminated timber (Glulam) or structural steel to resist wind loading. All these solutions protrude into the pool hall and it will be necessary to increase the pool hall width by at least 0.5m at an increase in overall cost of 5%. The extra cost of the structural frames will add another 5% causing an increase of 10% in the total pool hall cost. Lightly reinforced Polyblok (ICF) walls used up to eaves level will sustain the wind loading, reduce the construction time and provide a total saving in excess of 15%.

Indoor Pool Design

The best way to build a pool is to appoint a pool design specialist like Bluepools to undertake the concept design so that you can use a local builder you trust for the pool installation. This will guarantee a successful pool project at a very low cost.

Most of the Pool Installation Contractors do not have the skills and resources required to undertake the Building Elements of Indoor Pool Hall Construction. As a result they are predominantly used as sub-contractors and are notorious for delaying projects - because they are behind schedule in several other pool projects resulting in a potential delay of several months.

In pool projects designed by an Architect without the support of swimming pool design spcialists like Bluepools, Clients are often obliged to employ Pool Installation Contractors at high cost.

But with our assistance, your Local Builder will provide an equivalent quality pool at much less cost and without substantial delays.

Build Your Pool

The best way to reduce the running costs of a pool is by using a UV cell and automated dosing that decreases the use of chemicals to a minimum and avoids the need for a "Pool Guy".

All swimming pools designed by Bluepools include water treatment systems that provide tap water quality pool water (with the same very low chlorine content) whilst also reducing the running cost of an indoor pool to the absolute minimum.

This is achieved by incorporating an Ultra Violet disinfection unit that effectively kills every pathogen that passes through it. A small Throughput Circulation Pump is installed that runs on a 24/7 basis and a very low background level of chlorine is provided by an automatic dosing unit. Although this approach increases the amount of power consumed, the amount of chemicals required is reduced so much that there is a significant saving in overall running costs.

Furthermore the automated process greatly reduces the time and complexity involved in looking after the pool and so pool maintenance personnel are not required, thus saving at least £1000 per annum.

Pool Water Quality

You can reduce indoor pool heating costs by the use of sophisticated, very reliable control systems and air source heat pumps.

In modern indoor swimming pools, the heat required to maintain the desired air and water temperatures is controlled by very sophisticated Air Handling Units. These units require a supply of hot water at a temperature between 55°C and 65°C in order to maintain the air and water temperatures and the relative humidity of the pool hall air.

In the past this heat input was most commonly supplied using a gas boiler but gas is becoming ever more costly and air source heat pumps are often proposed as suitable alternatives in indoor pool swimming pool design.

However this is far from straightforward because the energy demand in a swimming pool hall when the outside temperature drops very quickly - as it often does in the UK in winter - can exceed 30kW per hour. An Air Source Heat Pump that can provide this level of heat output would be a very powerful and costly unit needing an 8/10 kW supply.

Bluepools overcomes this by the installation of a buffer tank and an immersion heater that can be powered by PV cells on the Pool hall roof with a battery . This is a practical solution to a swimming pool design issue that will become increasingly important as fuel costs rise in the future.

Air Handling Units

On completion, Bluepools will provide a comprehensive operating manual that will provide all the information required on how to operate the pool and buy spare parts including maker, model and type

Bluepools will provide all the swimming pool design drawings and details required in constantly updated Folios, thus ensuring that the pool is built 100% in accordance with modern standards and the Building Regulations. Furthermore the Client will have a record of exactly what was built that can be used in the future if the pool needs maintenance work including:

  • A record of how the pool was built
  • A record of the equipment used and the supplier references
  • Performance guarantees
  • Health and Safety guarantees
  • Documentation concerning the pool to hand over to any potential buyer of the property

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