THE CYPRUS Interior Ministry is proposing a new law that would classify swimming pools into five different categories. A main concern is to ensure proper regulation to prevent accidental drownings.
The law will make a distinction between public and private swimming pools, and each category will have its own criteria for construction, operation and inspection.
The classification of swimming pools, as well as terms of operation, will depend on the number of residential units corresponding to each pool. However, an operation license will be required only for public pools and for specific private pools.
Operational management for either co-owned or shared pools is based on Article 38A, Law on Immovable Property. Private pools will fall under this category as well.
Any problems with the design or building specifications will fall under competent authorities according to the Law for Streets and Buildings Regulation. In case of discrepancies that are deemed not serious, a warning will be included on the approval certificate. If there is a serious issue, the authorities will issue a certificate for unauthorized construction.
It is important to note that some issues related to health and safety will fall under the Health Ministry, while competent authorities under the Ministry of Public Works will oversee the management of electrical and mechanical issues.
The draft for the new law is currently under scrutiny by the Legal Service.
Under the provisions of present law, swimming pools that are shared by more than one family are considered as public swimming pools and must therefore comply with strict regulations including the provision of a lifeguard, separate male and female toilets, showers and footbaths.
As a consequence, those who have bought an apartment or a property in any other development with a shared swimming pool have to pay a significantly more in communal charges than those in complexes without pools. This makes buying a property in a complex with a shared swimming pool a much less attractive proposition.
This is how the Cyprus law relating to swimming pools currently stands:
Cyprus Law N.55(I)/92 paragraph 2 states that the term ‘public swimming pool’ also includes the swimming pools of buildings which are used by the owners of the units or their tenants.
Regulation Number 368/96 paragraph 47 (1) states that all the employees relating to the swimming pool have to obtain a health certificate, to be clean and to behave properly.
Regulation Number 368/96 paragraph 47(2) states that all the trained supervisors will be on duty during the operation and the use of the swimming pool. Their number is determined in accordance with the size of the swimming pool and the number of the persons usually using the swimming pool.
Regulation Number 368/96 paragraph 47 (2)(a)(i) states that for small swimming pools at least one trained supervisor is necessary to be appointed.
Regulation Number 368/96 Part VII paragraph 53 states that a license is needed for the operation of a swimming pool by applying to the relevant authority. The last decision is made by the Minister.
The swimming pool saga
In November 2005 Lakis Tofarides, the Chairman of the Land and Building Developers Association, suggested the following measures should be taken to alleviate the situation.
“The swimming pools in apartment buildings and complexes to be considered private (not public) because the residents and their guests use them. At the same time, residents, in proportion to the number of persons living on the building/complex, could be trained as lifeguards. This means that if there are large families on the building, the number of persons to be trained would be decided accordingly”.
“As far as public pools are concerned, the number of supervisory staff needed (lifeguards, etc.) should be reduced”.
In June 2007, Denis O’Hare, Linda LeBlanc and I met with the Permanent Secretary of the Interior Ministry, Dr Lazaros Savvides, and discussed the problems of the swimming pool laws with him.
In August 2008 it was reported that the Cyprus Government was looking to change the swimming pool laws. However, this was yet another vacuous announcement.
Perhaps 2015 will see an end to this ridiculous situation, but don’t hold your breath!