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Proposed changes for swimming pool construction in Prince William County

Over the last 25 years there has been an evolving need to improve swimming pool safety throughout the United States.  Starting in the early 1990’s ANSI/APSP published standards for swimming pool design and construction.  In 2007 the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act was enacted by Congress (effective December 2008) in response to the drowning of a young girl that was trapped under water by the suction from a swimming pool drain.  Starting in 2009, the Swimming Pool Industry and Safety Advocates worked with the International Code Council (ICC) to develop the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC).  Ten (10) States have adopted the ISPSC.  The 2012 ISPSC was adopted by Virginia effective July 2014.

Prior to the 2012 Virginia Construction Code being adopted, the Building Official was primarily required to enforce requirements related to swimming pool safety barriers and swimming pool electrical requirements.  The County must now also enforce:

·      Circulation Design – This is to ensure proper pipe sizing, drain installations and water velocity to prevent suction entrapment, which can cause serious injury or death.  The design must also meet the sanitation requirements.

·      Diving Water Envelopes – This is to ensure the swimming pool is properly designed to prevent head injuries.

·      New Barrier Requirements – There is a new requirement to have a 3 foot Clear Zone around the exterior of a swimming pool barrier fence to prevent small children from using other means of climbing the barrier fence.

·      Energy Conservation Requirements – This is to expand the energy conservation concepts to swimming pools that are consistent with the International Energy Conservation Code.

To ensure compliance with the 2012 ISPSC, Prince William County is revising the plan review and inspections requirements for swimming pools and spas.  Following is the current schedule:

·      Public Comment on Proposed Changes (December 22, 2016 to January 11, 2017)

·      Residential Pool Contractor Training
    Two Sessions Available: January 24th & 31st ,2:00 PM to 3:30 PM
    (Development Services Building, 5 County Complex, Room 202 A/B)

·      Implementation (February 27, 2017) 

Commercial/Public Swimming Pools – The process will remain generally unchanged.

Residential Portable Spas/Hot Tubs – The process will remain generally unchanged.

Residential Swimming Pools and Permanent Spas/Hot Tubs –There are significant changes.  Plans will need to be submitted for review/approval instead of the current counter signoff process.  There will be a Plan Review Filing Fee ($112.17).  If the plans are resubmitted and/or revised, there will also be a Resubmission/Revision Review Fee ($86.28).  In terms of inspection requirements, the County is proposing to allow the swimming pool contractor and plumbing contractor to certify the additional Code required items in lieu of increasing the number of inspections for each swimming pool.

For additional details, please review the draft documents at:

For additional details with regard to the FY17 Building Development Fee Schedule, please go to:

Please submit your comments or questions to Eric Mays, Building Official, at 703-792-6873 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by January 11, 2017.

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