Legislation and technical standards for swimming pools

Legislación y normas técnicas de las piscinas

Legislation and technical standards for swimming pools

Swimming pool legislation and standards General aspects - legislation

The current state legislation, exactly the Royal Decree 742/2013 and the corresponding autonomous legislations are in charge of defining the necessary criteria for both water and air quality in a swimming pool, all aimed at ensuring that the installation is safe for users from a sanitary point of view.

But those laws do not address the requirements that both the design and construction of a swimming pool must meet in order for it to be safe. Controlling these parameters is fundamental, since statistics tell us that they are the origin of the main accidents that occur in swimming pools: slipping, drowning, falls, etc. Some of them even cause mortality.

The same applies in many cases to the safe management of the installation by the managers. For all these reasons, it is clear that it is necessary to work with several aspects to develop a swimming pool project from an integral and safety point of view:

Safety through water quality, which is regulated by existing national and regional legislation.
Safety through design and construction, establishing construction criteria regulated by legislation and, above all, by technical standards.
Safety through proper management of the installations, with very few aspects regulated by legislation, but specified in technical standards.

Safety through water quality - standards

There is no technical standard at the European level that regulates water quality in a unified manner. In the following scheme we show you a small summary of what is contemplated in the current legislation and in the technical standards.


National legislation

RD 742/2013

Autonomous Community Legislation

Technical standards (UNE-EN)

Water quality

– Water treatment
– Chemicals to be used
– Laboratories and methods of analysis
– Water and air quality criteria
– Control / Self-control
– Maintenance

– Water in the glass
– Hygienic conditions
pool sanitation



Safety through design and construction

This is where the main discrepancies and differences exist between the applicable national and regional legislation and the applicable technical regulations.
There are aspects that are dealt with in more depth in the technical standards for swimming pools, and that are not clear if the technical building code or the regional decrees or municipal ordinances are applied, some of these aspects are the following:

(UNE-EN 13451-1). It deals with the anti-slip index with bare feet, contrary to the CTE which refers to shod feet and, therefore, not applicable to the swimming pool activity area.
(UNE-EN 13451-1). About Risk of entrapment. This standard defines the dimensions of openings acceptable from the point of view of safety in aquatic environments.
(UNE-EN 13451-1). Requirements for handrails, barriers and safety barriers.
(UNE-EN 13451-2). Requirements for ladders, stairs and handrails.
(UNE-EN 13451-3). Requirements for nozzles, drains, sumps.
(UNE-EN 1069-1 and 2). Water slide requirements.
(UNE-EN 15288-1:2019). This standard deals with more aspects regarding the design and construction of the vessels and pools themselves, some of the most relevant are:

In general areas for bathers:

o Emergency routes
o Circulation areas, floors
o Steps and ramps
o Heated surfaces
o Walls, pillars and overhanging structures
o Heating and ventilation in the indoor swimming pool enclosure

o Lighting, illumination and glare prevention
o Acoustic design of the building of indoor swimming pools

In specific areas:

o Edge of the pool basin
o The pool: floor, walls and lighting.
o Swimming pool surroundings (beaches or walkways)
o Others

The following table summarizes all of the above:


National legislation RD

Autonomous Community Legislation

Technical standards (UNE-EN)

Construction of the
swimming pool

Specifies compliance with:
– Any other legislation or
application standard

– Construction conditions
of the vessels

– Drains, stairs, platform, showers, footbaths, trampolines and slides,
architectural barriers

EN 15288-1: Safety requirements
for the design:
– Design, layout and layout requirements
– General areas
– Specific zones
– Wave pools
– Swimming pool covers
– First aid rooms
– Control points
– Technical and chemical premises
EN 13451 family of standards

Legislation and standards

Legislation counts for very little with regard to the efficient management of a swimming pool from a safety point of view. The most significant standard in this field is UNE-EN15228-2.


National legislation RD

Autonomous Community Legislation

Technical standards (UNE-EN)

Management of the
swimming pool

– Manager’s responsibilities
of the installation
– Personnel requirements for
– Non-compliances and incidents
– Public information
– Information submission
– Penalty regime

– Changing rooms and toilets
– Installations
– Health care
– Lifeguards
– Users. Standards for
internal regulations / capacity
– Infringements

EN 15288-2: Safety requirements
for operation:
– Organizational requirements:
operating procedures and
– Operating requirements:
labor aspects, management of the
personnel and procedures for
– Instructions for users

In all matters related to water parks, aquatic leisure facilities, public swimming pools (campsites, hotels and others), it is essential to know the requirements set forth in UNE-EN 1069-2.

When the time comes to undertake a new construction, renovation, rehabilitation or expansion project ,we should always bear in mind:
1. Applicable national legislation, of mandatory compliance.
2. Applicable autonomous community legislation, of mandatory compliance. In the event of discrepancy with any other law, always apply the most restrictive law to avoid problems later on.
3. European technical standards (UNE-EN) specific to swimming pools covering all fields not covered by Spanish legislation and also in those aspects that are more restrictive than the corresponding existing legislation (in case of similar requirements).

If you have any doubts or questions, Cristal Aqua will be pleased to advise you. Contact us at

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