In The News: May 2004

Barrier Law Reversed

The Orange County Board of Supervisors recently repealed a law that sought to limit mandated pool and spa barriers to four-sided isolation fences. The California Spa & Pool Industry Education Council (SPEC) was instrumental in helping the Board arrive at this decision.

The one-year-old law was contained in the California Uniform Building Code.

According to SPEC officials, national studies have shown that there is no acceptable fencing material that some toddlers cannot get past.

Drowning-prevention advocates stated they would propose a new law that will require new-pool owners to select from a series of alternative barriers.

Big And Colorful Trends

Americans will soon have more options for furnishing their increasingly well-used outdoor living spaces and will be able to accommodate more guests as well, according to the American Furniture Manufacturers Association.

AFMA previewed the industry's Spring 2004 offerings to be featured at the biannual International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, N.C.

"Our porches, patios and decks are once again becoming neighborhood gathering places," said Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of AFMA. "Manufacturers have created new collections for the 2004 season that are generously proportioned for enjoying the company of family members and friends."

According to AFMA, larger pieces like double chaises, expandable tables and deep-cushioned sofas are the trend. Seating for six is becoming the new standard for dining groups, with 84inch oval tables a fixture in many outdoor dining introductions. Another reason for the larger tables: many manufacturers are adding an inch or two to the seat width in dining chairs to provide a more comfortable sitting experience around the table.

Here are some other trend areas according to AFMA:

Alternative tabletops. Tile, mosaic and stone tabletops have been selling well at high price points for several seasons, but now a proliferation of faux looks is bringing this upscale style to moderate- and lower-priced groups.

Punched-up color. Beige and forest green have faded in favor of lots of bright tropical options. Salsa red on its own or in dramatic pairings with orange, gold or black is hot for outdoor fabrics in 2004. Other popular shades for garden furniture pieces are bright yellow, turquoise, parrot green and tangerine.

Island fever. Colors aren't the only tropical design element this season. A wide range of new outdoor furnishings, fabrics and accessories are sporting an island motif. Look for wicker and faux bamboo combined with fabrics in exotic prints and tropical colors.

Made in the shade. With the explosion in fade-resistant outdoor fabric choices, table umbrellas have advanced from a utilitarian background accessory to a focal point in outdoor design. Alternating colors or patterns on the panels and adding decorative trim are just two of the ways consumers can customize today's market umbrellas. In addition, new shade shelters take the heat off larger gatherings, while canopies offer cool cover for one- or two-person seating.

Trim-Lok Acquires Foam Grips

Trim-Lok recently acquired Grip-Tek Products, a foam rubber grip manufacturer based in Buena Park, Calif. Trim-Lok, also located in Buena Park, has manufactured extruded plastic and rubber extensions for more than 30 years.

New Award From AQUA, Genesis 3

The Genesis 3 Design Group, which is made up of pool and spa designers focused on raising the level of quality and craftsmanship in the industry, has announced it is accepting entries for a new award: The Genesis 3 Award. This award program will be run in conjunction with AQUA's annual Design Awards program, and there will be a cash prize for the Genesis Award winner. The winning project, which will be chosen by members of the Genesis 3 Group, will demonstrate extraordinary design and exceptional craftsmanship.

Builders interested in entering to win the Genesis 3 Award must submit all materials necessary to enter AQUA's Design Awards competition (entry form, photos, a description and fee), as well as construction plans, construction photos and a list of all design and construction participants. Entrants must also indicate on their entry form that they want their project to be considered for the Genesis 3 Award. There is no additional fee to enter to win the Genesis 3 Award, and all materials are due to AQUA no later than June 10, 2004.

For more information or a copy of the entry form, call 800/7228764, ext. 124, e-mail karen@ or visit

Advantis Earns Safety Award

Rockwood Specialties recently presented its subsidiary Advantis Technologies, Alpharetta, Ga., with the 2003 Chairman's Safety Award.

This award recognizes an outstanding record of safety in the workplace, including no lost-time accidents in the calendar year and no major incidents, mishaps or accidents during the year.

Advantis employees were rewarded with $100 safety bonuses for this achievement, the company says.

Advantis has won the Chairman's Safety Award three years running.

New Evosus Web Site

Evosus, Portland, Ore., a manufacturer of specialty retail software, recently created a new Web site for its programs, some of which are designed specifically for pool and spa retail stores.

The new Web site includes a stepby-step view of the features of the software, as well as a special request form for literature and scheduling an online demonstration of the programs.

For more information, visit or call Les Price at 503/939-0701.

Spatex 04 Breaks Records

Spatex 04, held Feb. 8-10 in Brighton, United Kingdom, drew the highest number of trade and public visitors in the show's eightyear history, show managers says.

Total attendance for the show included 2,279 trade visitors and 886 public visitors. Spatex also increased its floor space to accommodate the 30 new exhibitors in attendance.

"I really feel that the exhibitor and visitor numbers for Spatex 04 are an indication of the growing business opportunities in the pool and spa industry," says show organizer Tom Togher.

Baja Products Earns Energy Star

Baja Products, Tucson, Ariz., earned the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star, a national symbol for superior energy performance, for its line of spas, the company says.

Baja says it uses the WeatherWrap Insulations System, which the company says retains interior warmth while dramatically reducing the amount of foam insulation needed.

Industry Veterans Acquire Silicon Derivatives

John Stiglmeier and Jeffrey B. Smith recently acquired the assets and business of St. Augustine, Fla.-based Silicon Derivatives, a coated-aggregates manufacturer.

The new company, now called Aggregate Concepts, will retain Silicon Derivative's manufacturing facility in St. Augustine and will open administrative and executive offices in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Stiglmeier is the former president and CEO of Aqua Clear Industries, Albany, N.Y. Smith, now president and CEO of Aggregate Concepts, was formerly the general manager of Dallas-based Occidental Chemicals' chlorinated isocyanurate (sanitizing chemical tablets) business. William Amt, Silicon Derivatives' former president, has been named vice president of manufacturing and product development for the new company.

"Aggregate Concepts is well positioned for growth in several areas and provides an established platform from which a variety of markets can be served," Smith says. "Our initial focus will be to expand market share in the core pool and spa markets."

Updated Safety Program 

The American Red Cross recently released an updated swimming and water safety program.

The changes include an improved Water Safety Instructor course, which is now supported by an expanded training guide and manual to aid new and experienced instructors. Red Cross had also produced full-color illustrated booklets that help parents reinforce what their children are learning and offer parents guidance on how to help children practice and advance their swimming abilities.

The American Red Cross is also offering a new "Teaching Swimming and Water Safety" video that can help potential instructors effectively manage a learn-to-swim class.

For more information on these new programs visit,

UPSA Opens Membership

The United Pool & Spa Association recently opened its membership to all segments of the pool and spa industry, including residential pool builders. In the past, membership had been limited to companies involved in the construction of commercial swimming pools.

Currently, 81 member companies, which primarily build commercial pools and do business in Florida, are involved with UPSA.

The principal member service of UPSA is to work with and communicate with the Florida legislature and state agencies that regulate the pool and spa industry. The organization also publishes a newsletter and sponsors training events, including state-mandated continuing education courses.

For more information, contact Jim Manning, executive director of UPSA, at 813/963-5575.

Aquatherm Receives Safety Certification

The National Sanitation Foundation has certified that Aquatherm Industries' solar collectors are safe to use on residential swimming pools.

Aqautherm says this certification assures pool operators that there is not a toxic effect to pool water or pool users from the use of solar collectors.

Lakewood, N.J.-based Aquatherm is a manufacturer of solar pool heating equipment and swimming pool heat pumps. For more information, contact the company at 732/905-9002.

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