National Aquatic Industry Safety Awards
Excellence in Facility Design
Armadale Fitness and Aquatic Centre
The City of Armadale community passionately championed for an indoor aquatic facility for thirty years. In 2002 a Recreational Needs Study and extensive community consultation reinforced the need to cater to the diverse health and recreational needs of the rapidly growing population. AFAC was prioritised on the City’s Strategic Community Plan to:
• Service community growth.
• Provide optimum quality of life for all citizens.
• Provide sport and recreation opportunities improving community health and wellbeing.
Funded by the City and State/Federal Governments, the $26 million state-of-the-art facility opened in March 2019. Membership projections (2,500) have been exceeded (5,500+) in just three months.
AFAC’s multicultural community is one of the fastest growing local government areas in Australia, with a high proportion of young families who value outdoor leisure, wellness and connection. AFAC’s park like setting features leafy trees, picnic spaces, barbeques and a playground providing a popular ‘day out’ destination for families and fills a huge gap for families wanting to live a healthy lifestyle. Boasting an indoor 25 metre pool, leisure pool, program pool, outdoor 50 metre pool, zero depth splash pad, crèche, café, gym and group fitness rooms; AFAC is a holistic health and wellbeing destination catering to a diverse community.
AFAC is committed to providing a safe swimming environment through its Watch Around Water program. Although water safety is currently promoted throughout the Centre and reinforced by staff, the AFAC Team have identified an opportunity to educate the community further. AFAC has forged strong relationships with local schools, which the Centre plans to leverage to create a water safety program for children and parents, extending beyond the Centre and into the classroom.
Whilst AFAC boasts a water playground, the AFAC Team have identified a lack of facilities for older children and therefore plan to review the feasibility of water slides.
What it means
Having been in the pipeline for more than 20 years, AFAC is more than a logo on the front of the Centre. AFAC promises an active way of life for the local community and a commitment from the AFAC Team to provide health and wellbeing opportunities the community can be proud of. Extensive consultation and consideration went into designing an accessible, sustainable and safe facility tailored to the specific needs of the local community. To be a recipient of this award would be a pinnacle of achievement, validating AFAC’s success to provide health opportunities in a safe and controlled environment.
Describe how the Aquatic Facility was designed and/or developed in consultation with Aquatic Facility Staff
AFAC’s Team includes experienced staff from award winning facilities across WA. This experience plus consultation with other centres has resulted in efficient space usage such as:
• Simultaneous use of the leisure pool for Swim School, rehabilitation and recreation.
• The indoor and outdoor pools are connected through glass doors, which open and close creating open and covered areas.
• The walking lanes uniquely slope horizontally so each lane is the same depth the whole length of the pool.
A number of AFAC staff were included in a research group to develop AFAC’s brand, which heavily impacted aesthetic elements of the Centre’s design.
How does the design and/or build meet or exceed the design sections of the Guidelines for Safe Pool Operations and Australian Standards
Impeccable attention to safety is evident in AFAC’s aquatic space. AFAC has five definitive pools in a unique open plan design, allowing Lifeguard assignment to specific zones (5.3.16) with overlapping boundaries providing double Lifeguard coverage (5.3.18). AFAC’s glass design minimises barriers affecting supervision, providing a clear view of all zones (4.2.10). Strategically located in the aquatic zone near double doors, the first aid room provides easy access for emergency services (5.5.3).
Accessibility elements feature throughout AFAC with ramp access in pools, aquatic wheelchair availability, universally accessible toilets and Changing Places room with a hoist and full size change table (17.2).
What safety, health, sustainability or environmental benefits are demonstrated in the Facility design or development?
AFAC has incorporated environmentally sustainable design elements such as glazing glassed areas to enhance energy performance and reduce operating costs, heavy concrete floors to provide thermal mass significantly reducing energy usage, water-loss mitigation, energy efficient filtration systems as well as UV disinfection of aquatics to reduce ‘free chlorine’. Low volatile materials were selected for the construction of AFAC, which significantly impacts indoor air quality and is considered best practice by Greenstar Standards. The geothermal system, which heats the pools is estimated to generate utility savings of >$500,000 per annum and an estimated greenhouse gas abatement of 2,100 tonnes per annum.
What evidence is there to demonstrate there has been an impact to health and safety and customer satisfactions with the design or build?
Within three months of opening, AFAC has made a significant impact on the health and safety of the local community. Each week AFAC’s Swim School is able to educate 1000+ students on water safety thanks to multiple pools catering for toddlers - adults. AFAC member John Burgess, particularly appreciates the accessibility features incorporated in AFAC’s design. Being in a wheelchair, John often found himself house bound due to a lack of facilities. Since joining AFAC, John enjoys the heated program pool for rehabilitation. 165,000+ visits, 5,500+ members and hundreds of member reviews are testament to the community’s satisfaction of AFAC.