(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Wayne DeAngelo and Thomas Giblin to put in place safety procedures and trade guidelines for pool and spa contractors in New Jersey recently advanced in the Assembly.
The sponsors note that the arrival of the summer season makes this legislation especially important as many residents are seeking qualified contractors for pool services.
“As it stands now, it is too easy for an individual to claim they are certified and knowledgeable in pool and spa contracting without actually having completed certification,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “Just as plumbing and electrical contractors, pool and spa contractors should have to meet certain certification requirements and safety guidelines.”
“It’s no small feat to build and maintain a pool and it’s equally costly,” said Giblin (D-Essex, Passaic). “This legislation aims to keep contractors honest and residents assured that they have hired a certified professional for the job.”
The bill (A-224) provides for the licensing of pool and spa service contractors and pool and spa builders and installers. To be eligible for licensure as a pool and spa service contractor, under the bill, an applicant must be at least 18 years of age and be of good moral character. They would need to demonstrate training and expertise in safe chemical applications, sanitation, safe design and construction techniques, barrier integrity and maintenance requirements, pool inspections, prevention of drowning and pool-related injuries, and new energy efficiency standards and technologies. In addition, the applicant must meet qualifications established by the board, in consultation with the committee, regarding experience, continue education, financial responsibility and integrity, and establish qualifications to perform and supervise various phases of pool and spa service contracting as evidence by successful completion of and have earned a specified certification.
“The summer season is here and many consumers are shopping for a pool contractor,” said DeAngelo. “Residents should feel more confident in their choice of contractor and have more than friendly recommendations that a contractor is capable of doing the job. New products or upgrades to pool and spas are always on the horizon, just as the product of any trade. An advisory committee can help ensure contractors are continually trained and certified for any installation procedure.”
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages one through four. Injuries for misuse of chemicals in pools lead to almost 5,000 annual emergency room visits.
“Regulations and certification mandates tend to dissuade unscrupulous or unskilled contractors from attempting to take advantage of consumers,” Giblin continued. “A panel will also give consumers and contractors a sounding board for complaints and concerns.”
The bill would also create a Pool and Spa Service Contractors and Pool and Pool and Spa Builders and Installers Advisory Committee, in the Department of Law and Public Safety, under the Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors. The committee is to consist of seven members who are residents of this State as follows: two members who have been pool and spa service contractors for at least five years immediately preceding their appointment and are members of the Northeast Spa and Pool Association; two members who have been pool and spa builders and installers for at least five years immediately preceding their appointment and are members of the Northeast Spa and Pool Association; one member who is a licensed plumbing inspector employed by a municipality; one member who is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO; and one public member.
The bill was released by the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee on June 2 and now awaits further consideration by the Assembly Speaker.