Attention, Georgia pool and spa builders: Are you following the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code? If not, you’ll soon have to.

The Department of Community Affairs recently changed the status of the ISPSC in its state. Where it had been adopted as optional in 2012, now it is mandatory. This is the first time the department has ever changed a code from permissive to compulsory, said Shawn Still, government affairs director for the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals’ Georgia Chapter.

“To reach across the state, that’s a very big deal because there has never been a mandatory construction code,” he said.

The change comes after two years of local APSP officials advocating for stricter enforcement of the code. As a permissive measure, some builders were not following the language — which was their legal right. Plus, inspectors could not enforce something that wasn’t the law of the land, so to speak.

As a result, there were no consequences for poorly built pools.

“Countless people weren’t building properly,” said Still, also CEO of Olympic Pool Plastering in Norcross.

For now, the code does not apply to commercial pools. It’s strictly residential. The state has its own code — described as a mix of the ISPSC and the MAHC — to regulate public and commercial facilities.

As a residential measure, however, professionals believe it finally will put all pool builders on the same page. They hope it moves the industry a step closer to establishing a builder’s license, which provided a big motivation for setting up a state code in the first place.

“The underlying reason we were going for this is, you can’t have a contractor’s license if you don’t have a code standard,” Still said.

Interestingly, among the supporters who pushed for the code’s passage was Rep. Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick), who previously tried to pass a bill that would have made semipublic pools exempt from inspection and licensing requirements.

The state’s industry opposed that bill and worked with Jones to amend it. After that collaboration, Still said, the congressman wanted to champion this measure, too.

Georgia now joins Montana, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia and Washington, D.C., where the ISPSC has been adopted at the state level. State officials see the advantage of applying one singular code border to border, as opposed to allowing jurisdictions to create their own versions, said APSP’s director of government affairs, Jennifer Hatfield.

This way, she said, builders know the code is the same county to county, city to city.

The ISPSC becomes mandatory in Georgia on Jan. 1, 2017.