Virginia pool dreamers and buyers the ISPSC (International Swimming Pool and Spa Code) 2012 starts being enforced, by local Building Officials, on July 14, 2015. For quality oriented pool designers and contractors, general contractors, architects, landscape architects and especially Owners there should be a collective cheer ofYIPPEE, HOORAY and ALLELUIA ! The previous swimming pool & spa design and construction code (in all but a few jurisdictions) left a great deal to interpretation by the unskilled, uneducated and inexperienced. There was more emphasis and enforcement on the design of the fence around a pool than the actual pool itself. Perhaps that is why swimming pool contractors have been the #1 complaint, filed with the DPOR (Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation) here in Virginia, according to Board of Contractors Director Eric Olson.

The ICC (international Code Council) worked together with ANSI (American National Standards Institute) who with APSP (Association of Pool and Spa Professionals) have had a published set of commercial and residential standards for swimming pools and spas for years. These standards were available to, and used by safety, green and quality driven pool and spa professionals through the APSP trade association. As these were not adopted codes within the Commonwealth they were used on a volunteer basis. To be a licensed Swimming Pool Contractor in Virginia requires a Class “C”, “B” or “A” contracting license and a designated stamp on that license. Little qualification is needed to get that stamp and so almost anyone could become a licensed pool contractor. In other states and jurisdictions, obtaining the specialty stamp or license requires some type of certification by a recognized authority such as a CBP (Certified Build Professional) certificate from the APSP and ongoing education.

The ISPSC 2012 code takes into account hydraulic (safety, energy efficiency and cleanliness) calculations, design and structural elements not previously addressed in most of Virginia, by code. As now law, it will be interpreted by the local Building Official and enforced accordingly. So once again YIPPEE, HOORAY and ALLELUIA as pool safety, designs, energy efficiency and construction are now on a very positive road to improvement. For the quality oriented and responsible pool contractor, as well as other associated professionals, it will be less about meeting price against the low baller with a inadequate design and submittal package and more about raising the standards in what is often looked at as a fly by night trade.

Want to learn more about swimming pool professionals or becoming one? Check out these links: