For the first time, the International Code Council is creating a comprehensive pool code that aims to provide a single resource for all issues pertaining to swimming pools.
“We have 11 different codes right now that address swimming pools in one fashion or another,” said Jay Peters, executive director of ICC’s Plumbing, Mechanical and Fuel Gas. “To really understand [the pool codes], you have to have two or three code books and standards. In reality, that’s a pretty big burden.”
The new document is in addition to the pool-related language already included in the International Residential and International Building Codes.
While it had been in the works to begin a code dedicated to pools, officials from ICC thought it especially timely now that the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act has raised awareness about pool safety in general.
Despite the new standard, ICC does not plan to remove pool-related language from the International Residential Code or the International Building Code. States can just work with the current codes if they prefer.
The code-writing body plans to work with the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, incorporating much of the language from APSP/ANSI standards. This follows an agreement the two organizations made two years ago, whereby they would cooperate in fine-tuning ICC pool language.
“This is a very positive outcome,” said Carvin DiGiovanni, APSP’s senior director, technical and standards. “We see the benefit of partnering with ICC. This would be a terrific way in which to get the safety design criteria in all our ANSI/APSP standards into one comprehensive book.”
ICC officials plan to incorporate everything found in the current codes, as well as introduce new issues such as aboveground pools. “There will be an opportunity for new language because this will be a new code committee,” Peters said.
To that end, ICC also will accept input from other industry organizations. “We’re not excluding anyone,” Peters said. “We just have the agreement with APSP because we reference many of their standards already. So it was natural.”
The council hopes to see the pool code finalized in 2012. From there, it will be subject to updates and hearings, similar to IRC and IBC.