A revised edition of a widely used code for swimming pool construction and maintenance is set to make its legislative rounds early next year.
The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials planned to send the 2012 edition of the Uniform Swimming Pool, Spa and Hot Tub Code (USPSHTC) before its voting body for final approval at the end of September. The group intends to make the code available for state and municipal adoption by July 2012.
“This is probably the most comprehensive and contemporary swimming pool code in the marketplace,” said Dwight Perkins, senior director of IAPMO field services, who is based in Woodburn, Ore. “We feel that the significant changes from the 2009 code will make this code stronger, and will be better for the public as a whole.”
The association aims to see the 2012 code adopted by most of the same counties and municipalities that adopted earlier versions, including the 2009 code. In that interest, IAPMO’s regional representatives will review the code’s revisions with governing bodies at the state and local levels — and work with those authorities on any amendments they deem necessary — throughout early 2012.
Since the 1920s, IAPMO has recommended construction and installation standards for plumbing — and in more recent decades, the group has also crafted codes for pool design and installation, as well as solar energy and related fields. The association originally developed the USPSHTC in 1967, and has revised the code every three years since.
The 2012 code’s revisions cover a wide range of topics, including specifics about joining methods for a variety of metal and plastic piping and fittings, provisions concerning ladders and other access equipment, and the approval of two new materials — PR-RT and Polypropylene — for construction supplies. In addition, a new chapter covers layers of protection, such as gates and other barriers; and a new appendix addresses practices for energy efficiency.
Many jurisdictions — including the city and county of Los Angeles, the states of New Mexico and Alaska, and hundreds of municipalities in states such as Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas and Washington — have adopted the 2009 USPSHTC for their local swimming pool construction codes. IAPMO hopes that all will embrace the 2012 code as well.
“And our goal is to have an even larger number of jurisdictions adopt the code in the coming year,” Perkins added.
Not all states and municipalities that adopt the code adhere exactly to its provisions — some choose to impose additional requirements on pool builders. “This is a minimum code,” Perkins explained. “If the authorities having jurisdiction want to be more stringent in a certain area, then they can be more stringent there.”
Enforcement of the code varies from city to city and state to state, but local public health departments or building departments typically handle code-related complaints.