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Swimming, like all other sports, can play a significant part in community regeneration. New or refurbished pools make an important contribution to the community as well as to people's general health and wellbeing.

Our Swimming Pools Design Guidance Note outlines the basic principles and concepts of good swimming pool design. It helps in the process of developing swimming provision and points to further information, giving a number of best practice examples to help you consider the wide range of features you should consider when designing your facility.

Man swimming in London Aquatics Centre

Alongside our main guide, there are also five appendices that offer an in-depth analysis and additional commentary of the various aspects of pool design, clarifying the technical and detailed subject areas covered in our Swimming Pools Design Guidance Note. These are: 

  • Appendix 1: Pool types and technical design issues
  • Appendix 2: Servicing the building
  • Appendix 3: Construction and specification considerations
  • Appendix 4: Improvements and alterations to existing swimming pools
  • Appendix 5: Further information.

Our design guide was updated and reformatted in 2013 to include additional notes on changing room calculations, and extra diagrams on ASA FINA certification for competition pools in Appendix 1. The advice on low/zero carbon techniques, reduced water consumption, and references to PWTAG standards have also been updated in Appendix 2.  

We’ve also included: 

  • A Swimming Pools Audit Checklist for reviewing swimming pool projects during the development phase
  • Frequently asked questions relating to the planning, design, construction and maintenance of swimming pools.

Affordable community swimming pools

A community swimming pool often refers to smaller water space (often 20 metres or less in length) and caters for a range of activities to promote water confidence like recreational/fitness lane swimming or water aerobics. But it can also refer to larger pools (e.g. 25m), where the primary purpose and programming relates to the needs of the local community rather than a venue for local, regional or national competitions.

Our Affordable Community Swimming Pools guidance covers the early briefing and design stages of swimming pool projects, with a focus on cost-efficiency. It’s an essential reference for new community swimming projects or where the rationalisation of the existing swimming pool stock is being considered.

The guide advises on how new projects can meet a full range of community needs and comply with best practice standards, and takes you from the strategic planning stages through to the procurement and delivery. Information on programming, capital and revenue costs are also included.

For a short overview of our Affordable Community Swimming Pools guidance, you can read our brochure below.

London Aquatics Centre

Our full guide will help you develop your swimming pool proposals and understand the relationships between:

  • Design 
  • Specifications and sustainability
  • Capital funding
  • Usage programme
  • Operating budgets.

You can use the guide to: 

  • Develop feasibility studies and option appraisals
  • Establish a robust project brief
  • Develop the business plan and operational budget
  • Select a procurement route and project programme
  • Validate project details
  • Form a template for a future project.

We also highlight how a one-stop-shop procurement route can speed up and simplify the planning, design and construction of your pool in our main guidance.


For a detailed understanding of the design plan you might undertake, our documents cover four, five, six and eight-lane pools. These come from our Affordable Community Swimming Pool guidance, which you should study alongside the section and elevation drawings of the various swimming pools. 

Our examples are compliant with the current industry standards and have been considered by leisure operators and building contractors.

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