The International Code Council has incorporated theANSI/ APSP-7 Standard for Suction Entrapment Avoidance into its building and residential codes.

The decision came after months of wrangling between APSP and the Pool Safety Consortium, a group of safety-product manufacturers.

“We are disappointed about the vote at the ICC hearings,” said Paul Pennington, president of Vac-Alert Industries in Fort Pierce, Fla., and founding member of the Pool Safety Consortium. “[We] have been strong advocates for pool safety and the elimination of pool and spa drain entrapment for nine years, and will continue to do so.”

Officials voted to adopt theANSI/ APSP-7 Standard for Suction Entrapment Avoidance during the second of two hearings to hammer out the 2009 codes.

APSP had initially requested the codes be changed during a hearing in February. But the committees rebuffed the groups’ appeal, instead advising the opposing parties to work toward a consensus.

APSP and Pool Safety Consortium representatives did meet in the spring, but were unable to agree on whether SVRS’s should be mandated.

APSP officials were understandably pleased with the latest outcome.

“This move is good for public safety,” said Carvin DiGiovanni, senior director of technical services for APSP. “It goes with the philosophy of the [ANSI/APSP standards], to provide as many technologies and options as possible because it's not a case of one-size-fits-all. If you mandate one particular item, you may be missing something because it may not fit that particular design or application.”

The trade association’s position was fortified when, just prior to the vote, the Consumer Product Safety Commission released its initial interpretation of the residential requirements of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.

Much like its commercial guidelines announced this summer, the residential requirements list SVRS’s as optional. CPSC’s requirements, however, will be finalized after a month of public comment.

Though many industry members are pleased with this development, some believe ICC’s decision was largely the byproduct of misinformation.

“It is clear to us that there was confusion within the voting body regarding the [ASME/ANSI drain cover standards],” Pennington said. “Likewise, there was confusion over the yet-to-be finalized CPSC staff interpretation of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.”

It could take months, even years, before the effects of ICC’s decision are felt. State and local governments first must adopt the 2009 version of the International Building Code and Appendix G of the 2009 International Residential Code.

Correction: An electronic version of this story reported that this recent ICC decision affects renovations. However, the International Residential Code and International Building Code only address new construction. The online article also stated that the changes will be made to a 2008 version. The changes will appear in the 2009 model codes.