In 2005, a pool builder in Tampa, Fla., was shut down by state inspectors who claimed the subcontractors on one of his job sites were not properly licensed.

However, the state statute required licenses for either the pool contractor or a direct employee of the contractor. The workers on this particular site, however, were neither.

“So they shut the job down, and builders were left wondering how to finish pools,” recalls Dominick Montanaro, past president of the Florida Swimming Pool Association and owner of M&M Pools in Satellite Beach, Fla.       

The state subsequently approached officials with FSPA and the United Pool & Spa Association and asked them, essentially, to re-open the law and insert a rule change into Chapter 489 of the Florida statutes.

UPSA took the first stab, and proposed three specialty licenses, Montanaro says.

“But we didn’t think that would cut the mustard,” he adds. “You had people digging the hole, installing the steel, shooting the tank, putting in the plumbing, doing the tile and coping, plastering, doing the deck — all of these were subcontractor categories.

“So say I just do tile,” he explains. “The license [they proposed] says I need to do three things, not just tile. Why get someone licensed for all these other things when all they’re doing is tile?”

FSPA subsequently clarified and refined UPSA’s initial proposal and came up with nine specialty license categories, Montanaro says. At the time there were still some territorial issues to work through, he adds, but the leadership of both groups were able to put those differences aside for a common goal.

“We ended up coming to an agreement, and we went to the state and got the specialty licenses approved,” he says. “So that was one scenario where we worked with UPSA and came out with a good decision based on the facts.”