By Marcelle Dibrell
Adding pool and spa inspections to the list of services a pool professional provides can be an important source of income. But depending on where you live, the certifications and/or licensing required may be difficult to determine.
According to the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), each state, and some of the counties within them, have different requirements for qualifications a person should have to be a “pool inspector.” In fact, 21 states do not require any knowledge of pools at all to be an inspector, but only recommend it.
Such states do recognize the PHTA’s Certified Pool & Spa Inspector (CPI) Certification.
Rudy Stankowitz, President/CEO of Aquatic Facility Training & Consultants, LLC, CPO and CPI instructor, says that CPI training gives people a foundation for how to perform an inspection as well as a marketable point of difference.
“A lot of people do inspections but not everyone can say that they are certified. If a pool professional gets this certification, they may well be able to say that they are the only person in their area that has it, which is a huge benefit from a marketing standpoint,” Stankowitz said.
Another pool inspector certification course is available through Leaktronics and the Association of Certified Swimming Pool Inspectors. This course brings a new level of professional online training.
The program distinguishes itself by including leak detection in the inspection, which program founder Darren Merlob believes every pool inspection should include, although most do not.
“A swimming pool inspection without a leak detection is useless. The trend in the industry is to provide a visual inspection of a homeowner, or home buyer’s swimming pool. But a visual inspection alone does not factually tell someone that a pool is or isn’t leaking,” Merlob said.
Training includes a 300-point inspection checklist that covers every detail of swimming pool inspection along with training to rule out any leaks in the pool environment.
Some regulated states or counties within unregulated states may have very strict requirements. Some may require pool inspectors to take and pass the National Home Inspector Exam to become a licensed home inspector, with add-on certifications regarding swimming pool and spa inspections.
For those living in regions where the National Home Inspector Exam is required, there are numerous exam preparation courses that are currently available, both online as well as in person, offered by accredited organizations such as the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), Inspection Certification Associates (ICA) and others.
ICA says in most cases, inspection of swimming pools and spas goes beyond the accepted standards of practice and defined scope of a home inspection.
However, clients who are buying a home that includes a swimming pool or spa would prefer (and in many cases expect) their home inspector to at least perform a cursory inspection.
Regardless of whether a state or county actually requires any sort of certification to become a pool and spa inspector, it is a good idea to get certified for knowledge, professionalism and marketing.
*Note that the insurance needs of a pool inspector are different from that of a pool service technician. The insurance that inspectors carry should include errors and omissions because inspectors make statements that are opinion which general liability insurance does not cover. This should be discussed with individual insurance companies.
Learn more about how you can become a pool inspector in this special edition of Service Industry News.