Dear Fellow UPSA Members,
I have been in the pool
industry for 15 years now and the last year has seen more change and potential
for change than the previous 14 combined. We have seen legislation introduced
to try to circumvent the Department of Health (DOH). We have seen the Legislature
strip the DOH of their plan reviewing duties, and we have seen a new
international code introduced that would drastically reduce the strength of our
Pool Code here in Florida.
The United Pool and Spa Association has been there fighting for the industry
and will continue to be there in the future. In just the past month here are a
few of the things that have taken place.
On September 25th
the DOH held a code revision workshop to revise 64E-9 to reflect their new
responsibilities. It was attended by members of the Florida Swimming Pool
Association (FSPA), Building Officials, DOH Officials, Disney and I. There was
a lot of good input and agreement from all parties that cooperation is
needed. We will closely monitor where it
goes from here.
Next on October 4, 5 and 6,
UPSA held our Annual Meeting in Crystal River. As always, it was a great success. It was
fun, informative and a great networking opportunity. In an effort to foster
that cooperation we held a roundtable that had DOH Officials, Building
Officials and a member of the Florida House of Representatives, Larry Ahern.
Rep. Ahern was in the pool industry before entering public life and has
remained a good friend to the pool industry. Many UPSA members brought checks
to help in his re-election bid. Going
forward it is going to be essential that UPSA be active legislatively. Toward
that end we are talking to our lobbyist, Bruce Kershner, about starting a
Political Action Committee (PAC) so that UPSA can act quickly when necessary.
Speaking of Bruce Kershner,
during the Legislative Update portion of the program Bruce told of a pool
builder who had submitted a petition for a Declaratory Statement on a little
known regulation in Chapter 489 that said pool builders did not need engineered
plans on pools, screen enclosures, and structures not more than one story and
1200 sq. ft. or less in total scope to be issued a permit. It was unclear as to
whether this was residential or commercial and was going to be brought up at
the CILB Meeting on October 12th in Orlando. The
Pool Builder was contacted by Bruce and Ken Gregory beforehand and agreed to
amend his request to include only residential pools. This was done, and the
Board agreed, and will be issuing a Declaratory Statement. Bruce continues to
work with the CILB to see that it only pertains to residential pools.
Also coming out of the Annual
Meeting was the release of the UPSA Report and video done in conjunction with
The University of North Florida regarding suction entrapment and gravity flow
pools. The video was shown at the meeting and very well received. I am now in contact with the CPSC, the ASTM,
the Pool and Spa News, as well as companies that assess risk for insurance
companies, in an effort to make our case. Clearly the record shows that Florida has been doing
it the best way for years and we want to keep it that way. Once again UPSA will
show why it is the Commercial Swimming Pool Industry Leader.
Lastly, on October 16th
there was a meeting of the Swimming Pool Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of
the Florida Building Commission. There are quite a few of our members on the
TAC and I was there to present our proposed code modifications. I have attached
a record of what passed and which ones we need to do more work on prior to
resubmitting in February.
The most important reason for
being there was to defeat (for now) the request to make The International
Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC) the code here in Florida replacing 64E-9 and Section 454 of
the Florida Building Code. This would eliminate the requirement for gravity
flow among other things in Florida
and be a giant step backwards in regards to safety. Doug Harvey of BOAF spoke
as the proponent and Jennifer Hatfield and I spoke against it. Jennifer and the
FSPA supported us in all our other code modifications and we were able to get a
No Affirmative Action (NAR) vote on this. The Florida Building Commission said
what they would like to do is adopt the ISPSC but have a Florida specific amendment that included
gravity flow amongst other things.
Chairman Ken Gregory, who sat
on the committee that wrote the ISPSC said he would like to see it die. He said
that there is a lot more wrong with it than just the gravity flow requirement.
In any event, I had some good discussions with Doug Harvey and Thomas Allen of
BOAF, and we agreed to work together in the future. Once we see what they
propose we will alert our membership and determine how to proceed.
UPSA has been an active
participant in all these things but we need to do more. We need to strengthen
our ranks and add to our membership. If you know of a good solid pool builder,
engineer or manufacturer/distributor who is not a member, please invite them to
join. If I can help and you would like to make an appointment to see them
together, just let me know and I will be happy to make arrangements to come see
you. We have a great deal right now of a trial membership through May for only
$175.00. Make them an offer they can’t refuse!
We also need to be more active
legislatively. As Rep. Ahern said, we need to get to know our local officials.
We need to let them know who we are and what is important to us, so when issues
crop up we will not be starting from scratch. We need to support these people
financially wherever possible and we need to have money on hand to be able to
act quickly as an association. We have made a good start with Rep. Ahern, and
he and Bruce will be looking for a companion Senator after the election to help
us. Most important, we all need to VOTE! This is the most critical election of
my life and I know many of you feel the same way.
UPSA is in great shape
financially and as evidenced by the caliber of our membership, we are clearly
the elite of the industry. Our logo says that we are the commercial industry
leader and that leadership has never been in greater demand. We will rise to
the occasion and we will show the way to a brighter more prosperous future for
Thank you for your confidence
and if you have any questions or if I can help in any way please don’t hesitate
Alex Fletcher, President