A new bill coming before the Florida
legislature would require all pool service technicians statewide,
including those who perform only chemical adjustments, to be
swimming pool/spa servicing contractors.
Currently, Florida pool service techs who do no more than adjust
chemicals and clean pools don’t need a special license from
Senate Bill 156 has been filed, and Rep. Larry Ahern (R-FL 66th
Dist.) is putting together the House’s version of the
“We’re fine-tuning it so it has the best chance to
pass,” Ahern said.
Currently, a pool service tech must work for a licensed pool
contractor for a year or be a college graduate in a related field,
then complete a 60-hour course before being allowed to take the
license exam. The proposal would eliminate the time and degree
requirements, and substitute 20 additional hours of training. This
would benefit a service tech who wants to be licensed, but
can’t afford to give up their business to work for someone
else for a year.
“We have a multitude of people out there cleaning pools who
have viable businesses [and] don’t have an opportunity to get
licenses because of the way it’s structured,” said
Dominick Montanaro, a member of the Florida Swimming
Pool Association’s service council and president of its
Space Coast Chapter. “There are a lot of people who’d
like to get this license, but don’t meet the
Ahern, who had a pool service and retail business before entering
politics, wants to ensure that beginners still have the opportunity
to get into the industry. “A lot of us came in at the
cleaning level,” he said. “You hate to lose that aspect
of the business.”
The proposal also has the backing of the Independent Pool & Spa
Service Association. “We’re creating the course
that these people would take,” said Todd Starner, IPSSA
Chapter 11 president. “We’re going forward with the
class and creating it with the idea the law will pass.”
IPSSA’s Board of Regional Directors at its November meeting
approved spending $43,000 to develop the course.
For his part, Starner is personally concerned that the plan might
allow lightly experienced service techs to get in over their heads
after being licensed. “Now they’ll have people with
only a year of experience cleaning pools, and they’ll be able
to do acid washes and remodels. I think it’ll make the pool
industry look bad for a while until those guys are weeded
out,” he said.
Taking the opposite point of view, Rick Schmitz said licensing
would help the reputation of service techs. “It’s a
great opportunity for consumers to have a little more confidence
that the people who are working on their pools are going to be
licensed and have to go through continuing education. I think
it’s a benefit for everyone involved,” said Schmitz,
who owns Paradise Pools in Jacksonville and is a member of
Ahern agreed. “There’s somewhat of a public safety
issue: Carrying chemicals with no training can be a bad
idea,” he said.
Also in Florida, the state’s Swimming Pool Technical Advisory
Committee recommended to the Florida Building Commission that it
approve Addenda A to the building code, which would allow
single-speed pumps of less than 1hp. Currently, such pumps are
allowed only if they have a flow rate of 36 gallons per minute or
less. Some had said the lower-flow pumps weren’t powerful
enough to operate some equipment.
In addition, the Swimming Pool TAC also moved not to recommend to
the commission that it adopt the International Swimming Pool and
Spa Code at this time. The state’s recent changes to its
swimming pool rules — including moving jurisdiction of
building public pools from the state’s health department to
building departments — contributed to this decision.
State officials will have an opportunity to change their minds in
three years, when code revisions will be entertained once again.