Owners of commercial pools with field-fabricated sumps still struggle to find registered design professionals to help them comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. The definition of “registered design professional” varies state by state. Many such experts don’t want to touch the work.

“[If after the specialist certifies it] that facility is modified, gets damaged or redone and if there’s ever an accident … the likelihood that the professional will be adjoined to any lawsuit is very real,” said Thomas Lachocki, CEO of the National Swimming Pool Foundation in Colorado Springs, Colo.

In addition, testing of the sumps and drain covers is extensive, costly and may be out of many engineers’ purview.

“To have a drain assembly tested is $7,000 to $10,000 for one size,” said Jim Dunn, vice president of design and construction at Aquatic Development Group in Cohoes, N.Y. “You need the ultraviolet test, you need to do some of your own calculations and maybe even some physical load tests. … Most design professionals work on buildings or pools; they’re not product engineers.”