December 2008

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act: What you need to know

“The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was passed in December of 2007.  This new law must be complied with by Dec. 20, 2008 and unfortunately we’re finding out that many Associations simply do not know about it.  The new Act requires that all public pools (HOA pools are defined by law as public pools, even if they are only used by the Assc. members) meet the newest safety standards.


The key requirement in this Act is that effective December 20, 2008 all HOA pools and spas must be equipped with an anti-entrapment system.  Pools with a single main drain (other than an unblock-able drain) must be equipped with a device or system to prevent entrapment.  These devices or systems include safety vacuum release systems (SVRS), suction limiting vent systems, gravity drainage systems, automatic pump shutoff systems, drain disablement systems, etc.

We urge you to contact a licensed pool and spa professional immediately to inspect your pool and advise you as to whether or not your pool is in compliance with the act.  Aside from the simple motivation of potentially saving the lives in your community, compliance with this act will also help to indemnify the Association from potentially disastrous litigation in the event of an accident as well as stiff monetary penalties which may be levied as a result of non-compliance.

Monetary penalties??  That’s right, if the Association does not comply with the new Pool and Spa Safety Act by December 20th, 2008 it could face daily fines until it does.  While it’s not clear who would enforce these fines or how they would be enforced, the law currently allows a maximum penalty of up to $1.825 Million for one or more violations of this Act.  And yes, you read that correctly - under this law, millions of dollars in fines could be levied against your Association for non-compliance.

When you do contact a pool professional, we would highly recommend getting something in writing from them warranting that your Association is indeed in compliance with the law.  It may also be a good idea to consult with your Association’s attorney to draft the language they feel will best indemnify and protect you. 

While most insurance companies have not yet mandated compliance with this act as a pre-requisite for writing your insurance, we expect that this step is not far behind.  So in the interest of protecting your community and your Association, please contact a Pool and Spa professional today!


Aside from the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act, there were other laws and code updates passed last year that have flown under the radar of most HOA Boards. 

One such code update, which became effective January 1, 2008 has been referred to as the “Barbeque Ban” by industry professionals and has to do with updates in both the California and International Fire Codes.  These   updates in the fire code effectively banned the use of open-flame cooking devices on combustible decks.

What does that mean?  Charcoal burners, other open-flame cooking devices, and LP gas burners with gas container capacities greater than 2.5 pounds shall not be operated on combustible balconies or within 10 feet of combustible construction. 

Be advised there are exceptions to these rules, and Associations may want to consider consulting an attorney before taking action or modifying your rules and regulations.








APSP – The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals

Pool Safety Consortium

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

This letter contains only a general description of coverage and is not a statement of contract. For a more detailed description of the policy conditions and exclusions, please consult the policy itself.

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