Signing Maryland House Bill 303 into law this May, Governor Larry Hogan announced that swimming pool and spa safety and efficiency will be greatly advanced throughout the state. Sponsored by Delegate Dana Stein (District 11, Baltimore County) and Senator Cory McCray (District 45, Baltimore City), House Bill 303 will require Maryland to use the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC) as the new minimum standard, effective December 31, 2023, for building swimming pools and spas.
The adoption of the ISPSC enhances the safety and efficiency of pools and spas by applying a consistent, uniform construction and safety code that is based on proven best practices for drowning prevention and energy efficiency. The ISPSC is currently used in more than 30 states in the U.S., including Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and New Jersey.
Justin Wiley, PHTA Vice President of Government Relations, Standards and Codes, said that on behalf of the industry, the PHTA applauds the General Assembly and Governor Larry Hogan for passing and enacting HB 303.
“This safety-focused law takes a significant step toward modernizing Maryland’s building codes and standards for swimming pools and spas,” Wiley said.
House Bill 303 passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House of Delegates and the Senate. The bill was supported by the International Code Council, Pool and Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) and a coalition of businesses, regulators, first responders, and safety professionals, including the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, the Maryland Building Officials Association, the Maryland Fire Marshal Committee, the Maryland State Firefighter’s Association, and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance.
Frank Quillen, President of the Maryland Building Officials Association, said the law ensures a safe and comprehensive code for the design and construction of swimming pools in Maryland.
“The ISPSC coordinates with the other building safety codes adopted in Maryland to create a consistent regulatory framework for both building safety professionals and for builders,” Quillen said.
The legislation requires the Maryland Department of Labor to adopt the ISPSC as a baseline code for the state and allows for local jurisdictions to enforce and amend the code as necessary. More importantly, the ISPSC correlates with local laws and regulations that are already established.
The signing and implementation of House Bill 303 will afford all jurisdictions access to grants for training on the ISPSC under the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGBA).
The incorporation of the ISPSC in Maryland will follow the same process the state already uses for most building codes in practice, such as the International Residential Code (IRC) and the International Building Code (IBC), which are enforced and amended by the counties.
Brian St. Clair, President of the PHTA Mid-Atlantic chapter, commended Governor Hogan for signing the bill into law.
“This will help to improve safety around public and private pools and spas across the great state of Maryland,” St. Clair said. “The public can find comfort in knowing that the ISPSC will hold companies to the highest safety standards, helping to reduce drownings, ER visits, and accidents around pools. It will also help to consolidate code compliance for new construction and renovations of pools and spas, helping to streamline the building process for local companies. Thank you, Governor Hogan, for helping to keep Marylanders safe while enjoying the pools and spas across this wonderful state!”