(1) General

These design standards shall apply to all public swimming pools constructed or altered after the effective date of these rules. All definitions and requirements in the law and regulations are also considered a part of these standards. For design features not specifically addressed in these regulations (1200-23-5-.03 ), the Commissioner shall evaluate same and approve or disapprove said design features as appropriate.

(2) Plans And Specifications For Review
(a) No person shall begin construction of a public swimming pool or shall alter or reconstruct any public swimming pool without first having submitted plans and specifications to the Department for review and having received approval. All plans and specifications shall be submitted in duplicate.
(b) No permit to operate a constructed, altered, or reconstructed swimming pool shall be issued unless said pool design has been approved by the Commissioner.
(c) All types of pools shall be designed and constructed to withstand all anticipated loads and for both full and empty conditions. A hydrostatic relief valve shall be provided in each main drain. The designer or architect or engineer shall certify the structural stability and safety of the pool in the plans and specifications submitted.
(d) Plans shall be drawn to scale and include:
1. the name of facility, location, and names and addresses of all owners and operators;
2. the perimeter, surface area, volume of the pool, total deck area, turnover rate, and maximum bather load,
3. a detailed layout of pool, including fencing, all pool facilities and related structures;
4. top and cross-sectional diagrams with dimensions so that depths and clearances may be determined for all areas of the pool;
5. all equipment (fittings, ladders, diving boards, main drain(s), surface skimmers, overflow gutters, inlets, lights, and other applicable equipment-) with spacing with dimensions;
6. layout and slope of deck area, indicating size, location of hose bibb (s) depth markings, deck drains, and area to be lighted;
7. plumbing diagram showing all pipe sizing and location;
8. equipment room diagram showing layout and elevation, sump, floor drain(s), and other equipment and facilities;
9. complete equipment list with manufacturer specifications to include model, model number, size, capacity, horsepower;
10. source(s) of water;
11. method of sewage disposal;
12. design of gas chlorination system, showing location in relation to the pool and other structures; and
13. other information as requested by the Department.
(e) After all piping has been installed and before it is covered, the owner or operator shall notify the Department so that a complete piping inspection can be conducted. The owner or contractor shall notify the Department at other specified stages of construction for interim inspections, if such a request is made.
(3) Design Standards
(a) Bathhouse facilities shall be provided within two hundred (200) feet for all Type "All pools. At Type B, C, & E pools, bathhouse facilities shall be provided within eight hundred (800) feet of the pool. Bathroom facilities used in conjunction with living or lodging can be substituted for criteria as set forth in the following subparagraph, "Bathhouse Facilities."
(b) Bathhouse Facilities
1. Toilet and shower facilities shall be provided in the following ratios for the number of swimmers indicated or major fraction thereof:

Males Females
Water Closets 1/75* 1/50*
Urinals 1/75* ---
Lavatories 1/100* 1/100*
Showers 1/50* 1/50*

*Number of swimmers

2. Hose Bibbs shall be provided for flushing down dressing rooms and bathhouse interior. Each hose bibb shall be equipped with an approved anti-siphon prevention device.
3. Floors of the bathhouse shall be of impervious material, graded to drain, smooth and with a nonslip finish. Floor drains shall be located to ensure drainage of all parts of the building.
4. All dressing room booths, if provided, shall be made of durable materials.
5. Lighting and Ventilation. All bathhouse shower and dressing room areas shall be ventilated and lighted. Minimum lighting in dressing room areas shall be not less than ten foot candles at a point three feet from the floor. Ventilation shall be sufficient to prevent condensation and odor accumulation.
6. Soap dispensers shall be provided at each lavatory and shower head at the rate of one dispenser for every two lavatories and each shower head. The use of bar soap is prohibited.
7. Water under pressure shall be provided at all showerheads and lavatories. The actual rate of flow shall be in accordance with current Southern Building Codes Standards. Hot water shall be a minimum of 90ºF and shall not exceed 120ºF.
8. Towels. Single service towel holders or blower type hand dryers shall be provided at each handwashing facility at the rate of one approved dispenser per four lavatories.
9. Facilities shall be finished in light colors and designed so that good sanitation can be maintained.
(c) Coding of Piping And Equipment - All piping, valves, and equipment are to be labeled with legible print stating the following:
1. water lines - potable;
2. recirculation filtered, skimmer or gutter return, main drain;
3. chemical lines alum, chlorine (gas and solution) soda ash, acid;
4. waste lines - backwash waste, sewer (sanitary or otherwise), deck drains; or
5. other - Compressed air, gas (natural or bottled).
(d) Construction Material And Finish
1. Swimming pools shall be constructed of materials that are inert, non-toxic, impervious, permanent, and enduring. The materials shall be able to withstand the design stresses and be water tight, with a smooth and easily cleaned surface. The materials shall be finished in a white or light color.
2. Sand, earth, or vinyl liners are not permitted in swimming pool construction.
3. All sections of a flume or slide for Type "E" pools shall be designed and constructed to prevent abrasion or injury. All surfaces shall be sealed and smooth.
4. Steps, ledges and/or seats inside Type A, B and C pools, located below the normal water level, shall be clearly identified or be colored in contrast with the rest of the pool shell's interior.
(e) Deck Areas
1. Deck areas shall be continuous around the pool with a minimum width as follows:

(i) Type A: eight (8) feet;
(ii) Type B: six (6) feet;
(iii) Type C: four (4) feet;
(iv) Type D: no minimum requirement; and
(v) Type E: eight (8) feet around the exit of the landing pools, four (4) feet around the starting point.
2. A minimum of three (3) feet of deck width shall be provided on the sides and rear of any piece of diving or sliding equipment and lifeguard chairs.
3. The deck shall be constructed of slip resistant material and have a finish that will be of no hazard to bare feet. It shall have a slope of not less than one-fourth (1/4) inch nor more than three-eighths (3/8) inch to the foot and shall be so designed as to conduct drainage away from the pool area in a manner not to create or maintain standing water. All deck drainage shall be "to waste." Deck drains shall be installed where necessary to prevent standing water.
4. Hose bibbs shall be provided around the perimeter of the deck area at intervals such that all parts of the deck can be reached with a hose.
(f) Depth. The beginning depth in the shallow portion shall not be less than three (3) feet and shall not exceed three (3) feet six (6) inches, except for restricted use pools, such as competitive swimming, diving, wading pools, wave-pools, or zero entry pools.
(g) Depth Markers At All Type A, B, And E Pools. The depth of the water shall be plainly marked in feet on both sides and at each end at or above the water surface on the vertical pool wall and on the coping or deck next to the pool and at maximum and minimum depths of the pool. Depth markers shall be spaced at intervals no greater than twenty (20) feet with numerals of at least four (4) inches in height and of a color contrasting with the background. Where depth markings are required, they shall be in whole foot increments of depth; except across the shallow area and corresponding deck area. The depth shall be marked to the nearest one half (1/2) foot increment of water depth.
(h) Diving Area/Equipment
1. where diving boards or towers are provided, minimum dimensions of pools, maximum clearances from diving board(s), and other required dimensions for diving equipment and pools shall be in accordance with Figure 1.
2. Diving boards and towers in excess of three (3) meters in height are prohibited in a public swimming pool, except for pools specifically designed and used for competitive type diving and instruction.
3. At least fifteen (15) feet of unobstructed vertical distance shall be maintained above any diving board. This fifteen (15) feet height shall extend ten (10) feet to each side and sixteen (16) feet ahead of the front end of the board. If a pool has more than one diving board, the above distances shall be provided for each board or tower.
4. All steps, platforms, towers, and diving boards one meter in height or greater shall be provided with handrails that extend to inside of coping edge.
(i) Drinking Fountain - At least one (1) approved drinking fountain shall be provided within 200 feet of Type A pools.
(j) Electrical
1. Electrical equipment for all pool facilities shall conform with all applicable local codes and the National Fire Protection Association's National Electric Code.
2. overhead wiring, not in conduit, shall not pass within an area extending a distance of twenty (20) feet horizontally away from the inside edge of the pool walls, diving structures, observation stands, towers, or platforms.
(k) Equipment Room(s) or Enclosure - An enclosed area shall be provided that will prevent unauthorized access to all chemical feeders and filtration equipment. It shall be illuminated, ventilated, and sized for ease of operation and accessibility.
(l) Fencing.
1. All outside pools shall be enclosed by a chain link fence or equal barrier of minimum four (4) feet in height.
2. If picket type fencing is used, the spacing between pickets shall not exceed four (4) inches. The top of the bottom rail shall not exceed four (4) inches above grade, and the top rail shall be no less than forty-three (43) inches above grade.
3. All access openings in the fence or barrier shall be equipped with gates or doors with self-closing and self-latching mechanisms and hardware for permanent locking. Fencing and/or barriers shall be maintained in good repair. All pools shall be protected by a wall, building, enclosure, or link fence with a minimum height of four (4) feet, or other functionally equivalent barriers approved by the Commissioner.
(m) Fill Spout. The fill spout shall be located underneath the diving board or within four (4) inches of a pool ladder and not protrude beyond the edge of the pool. if the pool has no diving board or ladder, the fill spout shall not extend beyond the edge of the pool coping or otherwise be located so as to create a tripping hazard.
(n) Filters
1. Diatomite Filters. The filter rate for diatomite filters shall not exceed one and one-half (1.5) gallons per minute per square foot of filter surface area.
2. Sand-High Rate. Filter rate shall not exceed fifteen (15) gallons per minute per square foot of filter surface area. The filter(s) shall be provided with pressure gauges for determining the need for backwashing, backwash sight glass, and air-relief device. The backwash rate shall not be less than the filter rate.
3. Cartridge. Filters shall be of a disposable or washable element. Rate of flow shall not exceed 0.375 gallons per minute (G.P.M.) per square foot of filter surface area at all type pools. One extra complete set of filter units shall be on hand at all times at the pool.
4. Other filters. Any filters other than those described above that are functionally equivalent may be approved by the Department.
5. Pool designer shall identify procedures or methods for backwashing and/or cleaning filters.
6. All type filters shall comply in all respects with the Standards of the National Sanitation Foundation covering such filters.
(o) Filter Backwash. Backwash from the filter(s) shall be piped to a sanitary sewer or other disposal method approved by the Department. In all cases of filter backwash discharge, an air-gap shall be provided with a minimum of six (6) inches between the discharge pipe and top of the sump or sewer piping. Both the sump and the exit pipe shall be sized to accommodate the backwash flow.
(p) Gas Chlorine
1. chlorination equipment shall be located so that an equipment failure or malfunction will have minimum effect on pool users or other adjacent facilities in an emergency.
2. Facilities for securing cylinders shall be installed.
3. If installed below grade or within an enclosure, the area shall be provided with
(i) an air-tight duct from the bottom of the enclosure to atmosphere in an unrestricted area,
(ii) a motor driven exhaust fan capable of producing at least one air change per minute, and
(iii) automatic louvers of good design near the top of the enclosure for admitting fresh air.
4. Elemental chlorine feeders shall be activated by a booster pump and solenoids using recirculated water supplied via the recirculation system. The booster pump should be interlocked to the filter pump to prevent feeding of chlorine when the recirculation pump is not running.
5. Connections from the cylinders to the system depend on the type of chlorinator to be used and shall comply with the chlorinator manufacturer's recommendation.
6. Electrical switches for the control of artificial lighting and ventilation within the enclosure shall be on the outside of the enclosure and adjacent to the door.
(q) Hair/Lint Strainer. A corrosion-resistant strainer (except for Vacuum Diatomite Filters and Vacuum Sand Filters) located on the vacuum side of the filtration pump shall be provided to remove solids, debris, hair, arid lint.
(r) Lifeline. In Type A and B pools where the maximum pool. depth exceeds five (5) feet six (6) inches, there shall be a lifeline, provided with floats made of soft material of contrasting color located at not more than five (5) feet intervals, separating the shallow and the deep end at or before the five (5) feet- depth area. The lifeline shall be made of polypropylene or nylon, be a minimum of three-fourths (3/4) inch diameter, and be in good condition. "Wave " type pools shall be exempted from this requirement.
(s) Lifeguard Chairs. There shall be a minimum of one (1) elevated lifeguard chair provided for all Type "A" pools with a minimum of eighteen hundred (1,800) square feet of pool surface area. The number of square feet with required number of lifeguard chairs shall be as follows.

1. 1,800 - 3,000 1 lifeguard chair
3,001 - 6,000 2 lifeguard chairs
6,001 - 9,000 3 lifeguard chairs
2. An additional chair per each additional 3,000 square feet.
3. All other pools shall meet the same requirements relative to lifeguard chairs as Type "A" pools when there is a diving board of one (1) meter or more.
(t) Lighting
1. Artificial lighting shall be provided at all pools that are to be used at night or which do not have adequate natural lighting. A minimum of five (5) feet candles per square foot at the deck level shall be provided.
2. Underwater lighting shall be provided at all pools. Such lighting shall be not less than 0.5 watts per square foot of pool surface area. Lights shall be positioned so that all portions of the pool are clearly visible to an observer on the pool deck.
3. overhead Lights. There shall be no light fixtures directly above the water surface.
(u) Main Drain
1. All pools shall be provided with main drain outlets at the deepest point of the pool. All pools shall have a minimum of two (2) interconnected main drains. Jet pump type systems shall be connected to multiple (two minimum) main drains.
2. Each floor outlet grate area shall be such that when the maximum flow of water is being pumped through the floor outlet, the velocity through the open area of the grate shall not be greater than two (2) feet per second. Floor outlet grates shall be anchored, tamper proof with slots not more than one-half (1/2) inch wide.
3. When the outlet grates are of the anti-vortex type, maximum entrance velocities may be increased to six (6) feet per second. All main drains shall be of corrosion-resistant materials.
(v) Operation Instructions
1. Upon completion of the pool, the builder shall give the owner and/or operator complete written instructions on the operation and maintenance of the pool and equipment.
2. These instructions, including the valve schedule, shall be supplied in not less than two (2) copies. one copy shall be encased in a waterproof covering available to the pool operator and to the Department's representative during inspection.
(w) Overflow Gutters
1. overflow gutters shall be required on all pools with a surface area greater than or equal to 5,000 sq. ft. Pools of less than 5,000 sq. ft. shall have overflow gutters or be equipped with at least one skimmer for each 500 square feet or fraction thereof.
2. overflow edge of the gutters shall be level within 1/8 inch and extend completely around the pool except at steps, ramps, or other fixtures approved prior to construction.
3. The opening into the gutter beneath the coping shall not be less than four (4) inches. The interior of the gutter shall have a width and depth of at least three (3) inches and be designed to prevent entrapment of bathers' arms and legs. The overflow edge of the lip shall serve as a handhold and be rounded.
4. The overflow system shall be capable of continuously removing 50 percent or more of the recirculated water and returning it to the recirculation system through a surge system with a capacity of not less than one gallon for each square foot of pool surface area.
5. The gutter drain outlets shall be constructed of a non-corrosive material and shall be placed on a maximum of fifteen foot centers. The gutter bottom shall slope toward these outlets with a minimum slope of one-eigth (1/8) inch per foot or be designed to continuously flush the gutter bottom.
(x) Piping - Piping shall be stainless steel, National Sanitation Foundation (N.S.F.) swimming pool approved reenforced flex pipe or water type PVC schedule 40 or better. Suction piping shall be designed to move the required quantity of water at a maximum velocity not to exceed six (6) feet per second. The face piping shall be sized as indicated in Tables I, II, and III. Return piping system shall circle the pool and shall not be reduced in size from the face piping size more than one standard pipe size at the "T" and one size for each two (2) inlets on each side of the "T". Reduction of piping size and number of inlets shall be balanced by having an equal number on each side of the "T".
(y) Pool Heaters - A heater thermostat shall be provided that will turn the heater off should the pool temperature go above one hundred four degrees Fahrenheit (104ºF) A heater bypass and valve equal in size to the return face piping requirement shall be provided when the heater core size is smaller than the return face piping.
(z) Pool Inlets
1. Inlets shall be spaced not over twenty (20) feet apart, with one inlet within 5 feet of each corner of the pool and one in each recessed area or recessed step area. They shall be located at least twelve (12) inches below the normal operating water level.
2. Inlet fittings shall be of the adjustable rate-of-flow type. Directional flow inlets shall be used with skimmer type pools. Inlets shall not protrude from the floor or wall to create a hazard.
3. All type pools shall be required to install a minimum of two (2) inlets.
(aa) Pressure Gauges. Pressure gauge(s) shall be installed and maintained on the influent side of the filter (high rate sand filter), read in pounds per square inch (psi), and maintained in an operational condition. Pressure gauge(s) on other sand filters and other type filters shall be installed according to manufacturer specifications.
(bb) Pump And Motor
1. The pump and motor shall be of adequate size and capacity to provide the required pool turnover rate, and shall be located to eliminate the need for priming. The pump design shall be based on an assumed total dynamic head of not less than fifty (50) feet of water. The following items or systems are prohibited:
(i) split systems
(ii) dual pumps wired to separate switches
(iii) multi-speed pumps
2. A corrosion-resistant strainer located on the vacuum side of the filtration pump shall be provided to remove solids, debris, hair, and lint.
3. Minimum size in horsepower shall conform to applicable criteria in Tables I, II, or III of these rules or by the manufacturer's pump curve.
(cc) Rate Of Flow Indicator. Public pools shall be provided with an operational rate of flow indicator that reads in gallons per minute (G.P.M.) located on the discharge line from the filter as per manufacturer specifications.
(dd) Recirculation System
1. The inlet side of the recirculating system shall be designed to achieve the required turn over rate. The recirculation system shall be designed to have the capacity to
(i) flow fifty (50) percent through the overflow or skimming facilities and fifty (50) percent through the main drains,
(ii) eighty (80) percent of the recirculation through the overflow or skimming facilities, and
(iii) one hundred percent (100) through the main drain(s).
2. The recirculating system shall be designed in accordance with Tables I, II, or III of these rules.
(ee) Sewage Disposal. Sewage shall be disposed of according to law.
(ff) Sidewalls. Sidewalls of the pool design shall be as shown in Figure 1. Ledges and/or seats inside the main pool body, below the normal water level, shall conform to the minimum N.S.P.I. standards. The top of the pool wall shall be uniformly level and designed with bull nosed coping or some other acceptable means by which an adequate handhold is provided around the entire pool perimeter. All junctions of walls and floors shall be rounded with a minimum six (6) inches radius.
(gg) Sight Glass. An approved sight glass or other approved method shall be installed to observe backwash waste water from all sand filters.
(hh) Signs. Where no lifeguard is required at Type A, B, and C pools, a warning sign with clearly legible letters at least 4 inches high shall be placed in plain view stating "WARNING - NO LIFEGUARD. It No diving sign(s) shall be displayed in conspicuous locations at all pools not meeting the minimum requirements for diving. The sign shall read "NO DIVING" with minimum four (4) inches lettering.
(ii) Skimmers
1. When skimmers are required, there shall be one skimmer for the first 500 square feet of pool surface area and one skimmer for each additional 500 square feet or fraction thereof.
2. No skimmer shall be located closer than five feet to the nearest inlet.
3. When surface skimming devices are used, handholds shall be provided which consist of bull-nosed coping not over 2 1/2 inches thick or an equivalent device. The handholds shall be no more than nine inches above the normal operating water level.
4. The skimmer weir shall be automatically adjustable and shall operate freely with continuous action to variations in water level over a range of at least four inches.
5. An easily removable and cleanable basket or screen through which all overflow water passes shall be provided to trap large solids.
6. Type C and D pool inlets and outlets shall be provided and arranged to produce complete recirculation of pool water and maintenance of the required residual of sanitizing agent. These type pools shall be provided with a means of completely draining the contents of the pool to waste without passing through the filter.
7. An equalizer line shall be installed for all Type C and D pools.
(jj) Slope. The pool shall have a uniform slope from the shallow end to the slope transition point not exceeding one (1) foot vertical to twelve (12) feet horizontal. Where the depth is greater than five feet, the slope shall not exceed one (1) foot vertical to three (3) feet horizontal.
(kk) Steps And Ladders. Two (2) or more ladders shall be provided for Type A & B pools. At least one (1) ladder shall be provided for each seventy-five (75) feet of pool perimeter. Ladders shall have a minimum of three steps with non-slip treads. One (1) ladder may be deleted if steps are installed in the shallow end of the pool. Nonslip steps will be allowed on the shallow end and may extend inside the pool provided they are plainly marked. Where steps are used, a minimum of one (1) handrail shall be installed from the mid-point of the bottom step to the deck. Any steps over ten (10) feet wide shall have handrails on the edges and spaced not more than six (6) feet on centers. Steps shall not have a rise of more than 10 inches and a tread of 12 inches. Construction of steps and ladders shall conform to criteria as set forth in Figure 1.
(ll) Turnover Rates. Pools shall be designed to filter and disinfect the water according to the following rates.
1. All Type A and B pools shall be designed to filter and disinfect the entire volume of water in no more than 6 hours.
2. All Type C and E pools shall be designed to filter and disinfect the entire volume of water in no more than 1 I-lour.
3. All Class D pools shall be designed to filter and disinfect the entire volume of water in no more than 30 minutes.
(mm) Vacuum Equipment. An operational vacuum cleaning system shall be provided at all pools. Built-in vacuum outlets shall not be more than eight (8) inches below the normal operating water level.
(nn) Water Supply
1. All water used in drinking fountains, lavatories, showers, and hose bibbs shall be from a potable source.
2. All water used to fill the swimming pool shall be from a source approved by the Commissioner.
3. Hot and cold water under pressure shall be provided at shower heads and lavatories.
4. There shall be no cross connections within any portion of the pool facilities. Hose bibbs shall be equipped with an approved anti-siphon prevention device.


Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1200-23-05-.03
Original rule filed March 13, 2000; effective May 27, 2000.

Authority: T.C.A. §§ 4-5-202, 68-1-103, 68-14-301 et seq. , 68-14-401, and 68-14-402.

State regulations are updated quarterly; we currently have two versions available. Below is a comparison between our most recent version and the prior quarterly release. More comparison features will be added as we have more versions to compare.

No prior version found.