Water Recreation Facilities (WRFs) and Recreational Water Contact Facilities (RWCFs) are water recreation venues that involve partial or total immersion of the body in water. WRFs include swimming pools, wading pools, spas, spray pools (or pads), water slides, wave pools, etc. RWCFs include features like slides.

The health district is part of the construction process for WRFs and RWCFs, whether public (e.g., located at parks, fitness clubs, health spas, schools, etc.) or semi-public (e.g., located at apartments, homeowners’ associations, hotels/motels, etc.). Health district involvement is required by WAC 246-260 for WRFs and WAC 246-262 for RWCFs for projects that involve their “construction, alteration or renovation”. This includes new construction, remodeling or changes in equipment. Remodeling is not just limited to the pool but includes locker rooms, barriers, pump rooms, etc. that impact the pool/pool area. Even a project such as repainting the pool or changing the pool liner requires approval from the health district to ensure the color, striping, depth markings, etc. meet code. Equipment changes include changing out equipment in the pump room (pumps, filters, etc.), in addition to equipment changes in the pool (e.g., main drain covers, hand rails, etc.). Routine maintenance of these facilities is excluded.

Note: currently, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) oversees the construction and permitting process for ‘float pods’ (also known as sensory deprivation tanks). More information on the DOH float tank facility construction permit can be found here.

Step #1

Water Recreation Facility (WRF) Representative Notifies Health District of Project Proposal

Early notification is the key to a smooth process; it allows health and safety concerns to be identified and addressed when it’s most cost effective.

Early notification can be accomplished by:

  • Participating in the commercial project review process (including ‘pre-application’ or ‘pre-development’ meetings), coordinated by many of the local building departments for large projects.
  • Submitting preliminary WRF/RWCF plans to the health district for comment at the 50% design stage or sooner, particularly for complex projects and innovative designs.
  • Arranging a preliminary WRF/RWCF plan review meeting to discuss health district comments and questions.
  • Notifying the health district of long-range plans, particularly for renovations and additions to existing facilities.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Pools designed for special use, e.g., kayaking, scuba training, portable rentals, promotional use, etc. must submit proposals at a preliminary design conference at least 30 days prior to development of final plans and specs.

More detailed information on the construction, remodeling and renovation of WRF/RWCFs can be found here.
Plan review fees will be according to the current fee schedule which can be accessed here.