Connecticut Finalizes New Pool Builder Licensing Program

Eric Herman Headshot

Screen Shot 2013 07 09 At 9 28 22 AmWorking in conjunction with the Northeast Spa & Pool Association and a host of industry experts in the region, Connecticut’s Swimming Pool Association recently finished work on a new swimming pool builder licensing program, a measure aimed at bolstering consumer confidence in the state’s residential pool and spa construction industry.  

“This means the residential consumer will know that the person walking into their backyard has a certain level of competency, meaning they are educated about best practices in building pools and spas,” says Paulette Pitrak, NESPA’s director of education. “Although this applies to all pool builders in the state, it was partially driven by concerns about professionalism in the residential market, which has not been nearly as well regulated as the commercial side of the business. Making sure pools are built with safety in mind was also always part of the legislation.” 

In Connecticut, all building licenses are administered through the CDCP, but are based on code requirements maintained by state’s Department of Construction Services. The new licensing program entails a number of elements, including a licensing exam and proof that builders applying for the license do indeed have experience constructing pools and spas. Other requirements include a home-improvement contractor license and prior designation as a Certified Pool Builder via the Association of Pool & Spa Professional or proof of equivalent certification. 

(Click here for detailed license requirements and FAQs.)  

Currently, one of the key provisions is that experienced builders meeting license prerequisites, including proof of financial responsibility, reference letters, insurance and proof of past work, can be grandfathered into the licensing program without taking the Connecticut Test, that is until Dec. 31 of this year. After that, all applicants will be required to take the exam. 

The test topics and questions are based on the latest edition of the APSP Builder’s Manual, which also serves as the basis for the APSP CBP program. In addition, both NESPA and Connecticut Spa & Pool Association were integral in providing information and feedback to state officials in the legislation-writing process.   

One of those participating in that process was Connecticut builder William Drakeley. Although typically an opponent of government intervention in business, he believes the new licensing requirement is positive step toward elevating professionalism in the state’s pool construction industry. 

“As an owner of two companies and someone with a conservative point of view, I don’t usually want the government telling me what I can and cannot do,” Drakeley says. “Unfortunately, the pool industry has a long way to go in terms of ensuring professionalism and generating positive consumer awareness. That’s why I see this licensing requirement as a necessity. It’s good for the consumer and ultimately a positive step for those of us who’ve worked hard to be professional and establish credibility.”

Also supporting the licensing program is Connecticut builder and long-time industry veteran Al Rizzo, Jr., who sees the program as the end-result of his career-long campaign advocating industry education. “Back when I built my first pool in 1955, there was no such thing as industry education, or certification or licensing, you just got into it and learned by trial and error,” he recalls. “Now with this builder’s license, we’ve established a program based on education and experience where people building swimming pools can enjoy the same level of credibility as plumbers or electricians and other licensed trades. Although I don’t usually want to see government regulating business, this is a situation where Connecticut state officials listened to what the industry had to say about how it should be regulated and licensed. That’s why I believe it’s big step toward building consumer confidence.” 

For more information about Connecticut’s swimming pool builder licensing requirements, click here.

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