Preventing Pool Ceiling Collapses


In the past few months several facilities have had ceilings collapse into their swimming pools. Most were suspended ceilings, but any ceiling capable of absorbing moisture from the humid pool environment, (e.g., acoustic tile, even when mounted directly to a framing member or other surface) is subject to such a failure. More critical than the damage to the facilities themselves are the panicked children and injured swimmers that have resulted from these collapses. The subsequent pool downtime necessary for repair inconvenienced members and the combination of all these items may ultimately affect reputation and revenues.

There are several preventive measures that you can take to reduce the likelihood of a ceiling collapse.

  • New or renovated facilities should not have suspended ceilings. Ceiling components should neither be capable of absorbing moisture from or being corroded by the pool environment.

  • If you currently have a suspended ceiling or one with absorptive components, you should:

    • establish a responsible timetable for the removal of the suspended ceiling or replacement of the absorptive components
    • hire an outside contractor to annually inspect all hangers and structural members… any that show signs of corrosion should be replaced
  • regularly (e.g., quarterly) inspect for the conditions listed below … if any are noted, their cause should be determined and appropriate corrective measures should be taken (preferably by a qualified outside contractor)

    • low spots in the suspended ceiling
    • discoloration of ceiling tiles, hangers, etc.
    • spalling on the walls or the ceiling above the suspended ceiling
    • any area that is showing signs of corrosion or excessive wear
  • remember that even nearly perfect pool environments will cause deterioration problems; do not underestimate the importance of the above suggestions in keeping your patrons safe

Don’t expose your members and guests to potential injury from a falling ceiling. If you have such a ceiling, the question is not whether it will collapse, but when. This type of incident is no “freak accident” as they have sometimes been called… they are the predictable outcome of simple physics.

Please call us at 800-463-8546 to discuss this or any other risk management safety tip, or visit our web site at to learn more about JCC risk management issues.


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