Pool and spa safety regulations could mean more visits from building inspector

Photo of Kirstin PiresDo you even know who he or she is? If you're a pool builder and have been enjoying relatively little oversight from state or local government, you might want to spend some quality time with the newest ANSI/APSP standards.

With the passage of The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act of 2007, there's more incentive than ever for states and municipalities to adopt - and enforce - safety standards governing the construction or installation of pools and spas.

Starting in 2009, all new pools and spas must have one of the following: more than one drain, one or more unblockable drains, or no main drain. While we hope all AQUA readers are already building pools to this safety standard, it may be a new experience to receive more attention from building inspectors.

States that pass a comprehensive swimming pool and spa safety law will receive federal funds to hire and train personnel to enforce the law. Additionally, money will be available to hire people to "educate pool owners and operators, pool construction and installation companies, pool service companies and the public about the state law and about drowning-prevention practices."

States that participate will decide how to implement all of this, and it's a good bet it won't happen overnight. So now would be a good time to become proactive and help shape your area's approach to increased pool safety. Talk to the inspectors or building department officials you already work with to find out what they know about the new law. Offer to serve as an expert resource; perhaps you can be one of the people hired to carry out the education programs.

Most of all, adopt a positive attitude. Increasing the safety of our products is a good thing. And moving toward uniform standards regionally and nationally benefits consumers and builders alike.

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