Most swimming pool codes require only a modest pool deck width of 4 to 5 feet around a swimming pool but depending on the pool configuration and use the need for a larger pool deck is paramount.
We have all been to that swimming meet where there is no deck space. Competitors are squished together with the other teams on a row or two of bleachers. Spectators are on the other side of the pool, if lucky, on tip and roll aluminum bleachers and its hot but that’s another topic altogether. For competitive swimming pools the following deck widths are recommended. At the starting end of the competition pool, 18 to 20 feet of deck space is recommended to stage all the swimmers, timers, and officials. This deck width is especially important during relay events where several relay heats may be waiting for their event. The opposite end of the competition pool doesn’t have to be quite as large however 15 to 18 feet is still recommended. The sides of the competition pool are for staging the swimmers and spectators. First, a 4-foot clear walkway is desired for officials on the sides of the pool. Add walking space for the competitive swimmers and the bleachers and a total deck width of 14 to 15 feet on the swimmer side of the pool is recommended. Depending on whether your spectator seating is at deck level or elevated above the locker rooms will impact the deck width on the spectator side of the pool. If the spectator seating is at deck level than 14 to 15 feet of deck width is recommended but if the spectator seating is elevated than a larger deck is needed due to sight line requirements. Raised spectators should have a clear view, or sight line, of the closest lane to them. Sight lines typically require deck widths of 16 to 18 feet when the spectators are elevated above the locker rooms or other support spaces.
Outdoor recreation pools require an even larger deck space. Visitors to an outdoor pool often desire space to relax and sun bath. Deck widths for these types of pools are often 20 feet or more with additional grassy areas that are often equivalent to the area of the paved deck. Indoor recreation pools tend to have smaller deck widths due to construction budget constraints and the fact that there are no sun bathers and less people sitting around. While pinch points might occur where the deck width gets narrower around a feature like a waterslide stair or diving board, indoor recreation pools should have deck widths of 8 to 10 feet minimum with 10 to 12 feet preferred.
Often, the pool deck width is cut first to stay within a construction budget. Knowing that your new pool will be around for 50+ years, you may want to consider other options to stay within budget as opposed to shrinking the pool deck which could have operational and functional consequences for the life of the facility.