It is the industry’s responsibility to keep abreast of new and ongoing initiatives. The more knowledge industry professionals have, the more prepared they are to meet changes, enhance their credibility in the marketplace and avoid liability.
Consumers look to pool/spa professionals as experts in the field. It is time to look to the future in order to build strong, safe and healthy aquatic environments.
The first mandate from the U.S. government came in the form of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGBA), which was signed into law in 2007, with mandatory compliance by December 2008. Also referred to as the VGB or P&SS Act, the law was written to protect pool and spa bathers from the danger of entrapment.
Most agree the law’s intent is good; yet the implementation was flawed, and has unfortunately caused much confusion. The good news is, however, since the law was enacted, no entrapment fatalities or serious injuries have been reported in the U.S.
The pundits continue to debate the particulars of the law and seek to change its scope; however, it remains important for pool/spa professionals to keep up to date on any changes that may develop.
In August 2011, the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) adopted a new energy standard for residential swimming pools, American National Standard for Residential Swimming Pool and Spa Energy Efficiency (American National Standards Institute [ANSI]/APSP/ International Code Council [ICC]-15 2011).
The new standard is based on improving the energy efficiency of swimming pool pumps/motors as well as other aspects of hydraulics such as pipe sizing. Pool professionals should be up to speed on the standard in order to meet new residential construction and renovations requirements.
The U.S. Department of Justice has broadened its reach to include swimming pools, wading pools and spas defined as a ‘place of public accommodation’ in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Signed into law on July 23, 2010, full compliance to the new regulations was required in March.
The ADA is a comprehensive civil rights law with specific accessibility guidelines for newly constructed and altered facilities south of the border. All pools and spas that serve the public must comply with the rulings or the facility will face censure and fines for not providing appropriate means of access.
The pool and spa industry is seeing change when it comes to regulations and public trust. National and regional associations, government entities and concerned pool/spa professionals are engaged in understanding, shaping and implementing new initiatives that are considered by many to be in the best interest of the public, and ultimately the future of the industry. This column offers a brief overview and update on the four trend-setting initiatives that have far reaching impact on every industry segment.
The Model Aquatic Health Code1 (MAHC) is meant to serve as a model and guide for local and provincial/state agencies to update or implement a pool/spa code in their jurisdiction. There is currently no federal authority for disinfected recreational venues and there is no uniform standard related to the design, construction, maintenance and operation of aquatic facilities.