If you’re one of the two thirds of people in Spain who live in a flat or an apartment – the highest rate in the EU – buying an inflatable pool to cool down in during the summer months isn’t recommendable.
In fact, if you live in a house with a garden or a rooftop terrace, it isn’t advisable either.
Proof of this is the case of a family in Elda near Alicante who got the scare of their lives at 6.30am on June 23rd when the ceiling of their house collapsed due to the pressure exerted by an inflatable pool on the rooftop, filled to the brim with 8,000 litres.
Granted, that is an enormously heavy amount of water, but Spanish architects have warned that it takes much less for accidents to happen.
Add to this the fact that sales of inflatable and mobile pools as well as jacuzzies shot up by up to 350 percent during the lockdown in Spain and the need for awareness becomes even greater.
Only 20 centimetres of water can act as the equivalent of 200 kilograms of pressure per square metre.
“We’re talking about new buildings, because old ones don’t stand a chance of withstanding a swimming pool, they’d just collapse,” Francisco Hernández of Santa Cruz de Tenerife’s College of Property Administrators told online daily Las Provincias.
Todos los veranos nos enteramos por desgracia de alguna noticia del derrumbe de terraza o ático por #piscina hinchable. He realizado esta infografía informativa que espero q pueda servir. Evitar colocarlas o contactar antes con un #arquitectotecnico #aparejador #piscinahinchable pic.twitter.com/gHaIyghor4
— Juanjo Domenech (@Juanjo_Domenech) June 28, 2020
According to Hernández, it’s forbidden to surpass that threshold of 200kg/sqm in either a private or shared area, and it’s always essential to check with an architect or surveyor even if the pool’s dimensions don’t suggest this limit will be exceeded.
Every movement of bathers in these small mobile pools can shift the weight and create cracks in beams under the surface that can eventually lead to a beam breaking and worse still the surface collapsing.
Even inflatable pools in gardens or outdoor spaces should be set up several metres away from any building, as the pressure can lead to support walls to collapse.
So are all inflatable pools illegal in Spanish flats and other homes?
No, as long as they don’t surpass 200 kilograms of pressure per square metre mark they are technically allowed.
This means that only tiny, inflatable paddling pools meant for small children are the safest option, but even then, Spanish consumer group OCU still doesn’t recommend them on terraces and balconies.
In all cases, the resident’s association should be contacted and provided with a technical report with written proof by an architect of the pool’s safety standards, an essential requirement if the pool is in a communal space.
OCU’s recommendations for setting up a mobile or inflatable pool are:
– Find a flat, firm and resistant place that’s not on an incline.
– Make sure that the pool is away from other dangers such as objects that could fall in it.
– Avoid placing it under electrical wiring or where underground pipes pass.
– Place the pool where there is enough space around it to move comfortably.
– Choose a sunny area if possible, as well as one that’s protected from the wind and without trees nearby so that the water does not get dirty.
– Install the pool near a drain if possible, since it will have to be emptied or may even have a leak or break.
– Don’t place it on a layer of sand or wood . Vinyl flooring performs better but the best thing is surface is a concrete surface.