On October 20th, the New Jersey General Assembly passed bill A224 which would enact plans to license building, installing, repairing or maintaining pools and spas in New Jersey. The legislation is sponsored by Assemblymen Wayne P. DeAngelo and Thomas Giblin in an effort to put in place better safety measures and trade regulations for pool and spa contractors in New Jersey.
This means that any individual or company that wants to continue conducting business in pool and spa construction or maintenance must meet the guidelines set up by the board in order to obtain a designated pool and spa license. A board within the Division of Consumer Affairs will set fees, issue, revoke, suspend or fail to renew licenses, and administer disciplinary action if required. The bill itself states, “No person shall advertise that he is authorized to engage in, or engage in pool and spa service contracting or pool and spa building and installation unless he satisfies the requirements of this act.”
Any business previously engaged in pool and spa construction must obtain this designated license, completing the renewal process every three years in order to continue, which includes all marketing and advertising plans.
There are exceptions to A224, electricians and plumbers are not required to obtain the license in order to work on pool equipment. The bill will also allow individuals or businesses to be grandfathered in without newly specified certifications for a period of 24 months after the effective date, if the applicants meet certain guidelines.
One of the bill’s main advocates, The Northeast Spa & Pool Association (NESPA), believes that it will raise the standards of pool and spa services within the area. NESPA argues that enacting this law helps strengthen safety requirements, citing hundreds of child drowning deaths a year as evidence.
NESPA’s executive director, Lawrence Canigliga, told Pool & Spa News that the bill is “good for the industry.” He says, “Frankly, we’re looking for a more professional industry — and you can raise the rates you’re charging because you’re…a licensed pool builder or service professional.”
The bill aims to provide higher quality services for the New Jersey area, attempting to force out pool and spa service providers who may be working without proper training. Assemblyman Thomas Giblin says, “Regulations and certification mandates tend to dissuade unscrupulous or unskilled contractors from attempting to take advantage of consumers…” Both Giblin and DeAngelo have stated that they believe consumers should feel confident in the contractors they choose for their pool or spa needs, and this legislation will make sure that legitimate contractors have a designated pool and spa license to prove their abilities.
Now we’re prompted to ask, how will this change affect our pool time? In short, not much. This bill allows consumers to choose from newly licensed and board accredited contractors when they are ready to take on a pool or spa project, while also granting those licensed businesses the opportunity to raise their rates.
Check out bill A224 in its entirety to see all the specifications, including how the board will be set up and what kind of representatives it will have. Now that the bill has passed the assembly, it will be moved to the State Senate awaiting a vote.