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Αντώνης Λοΐζου, FRICS

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Swimming Pools - Confusion

24 December 2017


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Swimming Pool

We have submitted our opinion to the Ministry that having a non workable regulation is better to abolish it and replace the same with other requirements e.g. low depth pools (e.g. 1.50 meter depth, no diving board, step and slides for the invalid etc

There is a huge and serious confusion whether a swimming pool is private or public. The prevailing regulations (even this is not clear) stipulate that a pool is considered as being public if it serves more than 10 units. In addition and so there is no further confusion, a public pool must be provided with men/women w.cs., first aid room, showers, lockers and the provision of a qualified lifeguard during the pools’ operation, whereas the local authority should regularly inspect the pool and provide certificates of the water quality and the management of the pool as a whole.

So a project with 11 apartments must have all the above requirements if it has a common pool. Is this logical you think and if it is, is it workable? Who is going to pay the cost of the lifeguard (say ±8 hours a day) which could amount in this case at least €100 p.m. per unit over and above the ordinary common expenses, let alone the additional cost of the installations (including special steps for the invalid, fencing all around, lock up the pool when the lifeguard is not there etc etc).

The whole definition, as circumstances stand at present, is a lot of nonsense with its unacceptable requirements and of course the added cost. And all these in addition of the various occupiers peculiarities such as, “I am not using the pool so I will not pay” and suchlike attitudes.

Having said this, the authority in charge (which is the Electro-Mechanical Department) has a different stand by saying that a public pool is one which is open to the public and for which an entry fee is charged. As such this Department does not deal with common use pools and even refuses to examine an application which we all understand as being private. So it is not surprising that on several occasions the swimming pools are filled with earth and planted as a garden (other reasons apart for not paying the common expenses). In a couple of occasions where the building permit authority insisted that the “private” pool was public and having confronted the authority the reply was “this is a matter of health and security”, but then we add okay, but such matters do not matter if the project has 9 units and it important if it has 10?”.

We have submitted our opinion to the Ministry that having a non workable regulation is better to abolish it and replace the same with other requirements e.g. low depth pools (e.g. 1.50 meter depth, no diving board, step and slides for the invalid etc.

To the whole confusion the E.U. regulations (which prevails the local ones) state clearly that a public pool is a pool which is open to the public and for a fee. Adding to the whole confusion some local authorities require a pool to have a 3 m. distance from the boundary and other 1½ m. distance.

We feel that the new Ministry of Interior should look at this since it affects the title issue (luck of facilities) and then the legal obligation of the administrative committee.

So in a couple of occasions, we came up with the idea of registering the common pool on one of the units and with the remaining ones having a right of use etc for the same. The problem is who will accept the registration of the pool on his title, which by projection involves the responsibility legal/running cost etc.

This matter came up after a report from a neighbor to the Municipality of Pafos for an abutting project that the pool was causing nuisance and with the Mayor announcing that the Municipality will take such projects to court if the “health and safety”” regulations are not kept. By projection if the Municipality insists on this, it will mean that almost all project pools will become public non viable and run down causing them to close down.

Bear in mind that the mechanical container of a pool (sunk or not) the mechanical box of the pool must remain at a distance of 1½-3 mts. from the boundary and if not, the neighbor who abuts on the swimming pool must sign that he has no objection, since the claim is that the noise of the mechanical room could create nuisance (what about the pool itself?). A client of ours had to pay €2.000 as “compensation” to the neighbor in order for him to sign the approval (he was claiming that he will not be able to sleep due to the pool noise and this notwithstanding that this property has no building on being a vacant land!!!).

We have many problems in the building industry and this is another one which we do not need. |

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