Heading into 2015, the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals has an ambitious to-do list.
“APSP would like to see the entire country adopt the International Swimming Pool & Spa Code,” said Jen Hatfield, government relations director, APSP. “Then we’ll have a universal code that goes across state lines. It’s the only code that covers residential and public pools.”
Indeed, 10 states have adopted ISPSC to date: Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming, plus Washington, D.C.
Hatfield is quick to point out, however, that the only statewide adoption has been in Virginia, and throughout the District of Columbia. While the other states have adopted the International Code Council’s ISPSC, it is voluntary for jurisdictions within those states. She noted that a handful of jurisdictions already have done so.
The ICC code debuted in 2012, and now the 2015 version is out and ready to be adopted, Hatfield added. She expects the code to be adopted by more states and said it’s the No. 1 priority for APSP’s government relations team.
Carvin DiGiovanni pointed out that APSP has had “real success at chapter and state levels, providing the message points, … presenting information at the local level and, at the same time, aligning with ICC. Once a state adopts [ISPSC], we want our folks to partner up and move this through.” APSP’s senior director of Technical and Standards added that successful adoption has come from the industry and regulators alike supporting the code.
When it comes to licensing and certification, APSP believes it will naturally follow as ISPSC adoption becomes more widespread. “As states adopt the code, they will realize they need pool professionals to have the proper education to build and service pools,” Hatfield said, “and we already have our Certified programs.” That said, APSP is encouraging licensing at the state level through its chapters and, she noted, licensing has occurred in Florida, California, Connecticut and New York.
Michigan currently is being targeted for more licensing of pool professionals. Leading the charge is Chris Ferriss, owner of Splash Pool Services and past president of APSP Michigan Chapter. The first step, he said, is to ask builders and service technicians if they’re open to licensing and, based on what he’s hearing, he thinks the answer will be “yes.” Next, the chapter will approach the appropriate regulators. “We’re hopeful to get on the docket and get a bill passed,” Ferriss said. “In Michigan, only a general builder’s license is required, and it’s more geared toward home building. Pools aren’t being built to standards.”
Back at the national level, APSP CEO Rich Gottwald talked about promoting “the value proposition” in 2015. For example, he said, it’s important to “protect members’ ability to do business and create an environment for them to grow.” Helping members rise above the competition, promoting the value of pool ownership — those are the kinds of things this initiative would focus on. In the works is a digital campaign to engage consumers, produced by a soon-to-be announced PR firm. The program will be rolled out in the 2015 first quarter.
Also new for 2015: APSP and the International Hot Tub Association have joined the European Portable Hot Tub Standards Harmonization Work Group. The group’s mission is to “harmonize global safety standards for portable hot tubs.” APSP and IHTA have committed 15,000 euros (about $18,760) for the next three years to assist in the standards process, Gottwald said. The new group met in Berlin Dec. 17-18 to begin discussing key topics such as electrical product safety and water treatment.