Florida’s legislative session ended in May, but there’s still much to be decided regarding the state’s pools.
The Florida Building Commission will convene in June and vote on the adoption of the 2008 National Electrical Code. Many industry members hope to see the code come in without the requirement for ground fault circuit interrupters on residential pool pumps.
“GFI’s trip all the time on pools,” said Ken Gregory, an industry veteran who sits on the commission. “Adding another $100 to $200 a pool at this time is really not a thing we should be doing anyway.”
Pool pumps are not a safety hazard as long as they are properly grounded and bonded, he added.
However, a preliminary vote to adopt the 2008 NEC with the exemption for pumps only passed by a single vote in April, and another hotly contested decision is expected.
The June meeting also will be the launching point for two new subcommittees within the commission, both geared specifically for pool and spa codes.
The subcommittee for the Energy Code Work Group will look at pump efficiencies and hydraulic design for the 2010 code, as well as developments within California’s Titles 20 and 24.
The other subcommittee will be headed by Gregory and work on any pool codes under the Plumbing TAC. Though the group does not have a set agenda, entrapment issues for existing pools could be a future concern.
“If we’re going to serious about safety, we need to figure out what we’re going to do about these pools that don’t meet the existing code, and what triggers the requirement for you to bring that pool up to code,” Gregory said.
Florida has adopted the ANSI/APSP-7 Suction Entrapment Avoidance Standard into the 2007 building code for new pools, but many existing residential pools still maintain the potential for an entrapment hazard.
Furthermore, there’s some debate on who among the industry professionals should be qualified to bring pools up to code for suction entrapment.
“It’s become a hotbed issue with which license can do what with regard to VGB Act enforcement on public pools,” said Jennifer Hatfield, director of government and public affairs at FSPA. “With the economy the way it is, it’s making it a lot more of a dicey issue.”