State Cert. CPC057026   



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The construction industry is experiencing some of the toughest times in recent history. Many companies are finding themselves in financial trouble putting homeowners at risk. Now, more than ever, it is highly important to check out a company before hiring them so you don’t get caught with an unfinished pool and swindled out of thousands of dollars.It should take no longer than 8 to 9 weeks to finish a pool including ALL inspections, regardless of how many projects a company has going. Beware!!! This IS a cash flow problem and they are probably robbing Peter to pay Paul. Protect yourself!

1.Get a certificate of insurance from the company showing the following:

General liability: 1,000,000 min coverage to protect your assets

Workers compensation: Exemptions are only valid for the owner. Beware of companies with employees and have no workers comp. You could face a law suit.

Auto insurance: Beware of companies that have employees drive personal vehicles to your property- they may not have the proper, or any insurance. Companies should provide company owned vehicles for employees to drive or this could indicate financial problems and you could be sued.

If the company can’t produce this certificate, it could be a sign of financial trouble. A contractor without insurance puts your financial future at risk. Higher limits cost the contractor more but mean more protection for the homeowner. Workers comp is required for all “in house” employees of the company. Up to three owners, not employees, may be exempt from workers comp.

2.Call references and ask questions.

INSURANCE COMPANY- is the insurance cert produced by the contractor valid or cancelled.
RECENT CUSTOMERS- how long to build the pool, etc.(slow completion times may indicate financial problems)
CONCRETE COMPANIES(the largest bill for a contractor)- payment history.
SUPPLIERS(all companies use the same suppliers)- payment history.
SUB-CONTRACTORS(most companies use the same subs)- payment history, who pays the best.

3.Call the County building department; contractor licensing.

Ask if the company’s license and insurance are up to date.
Ask about complaints on the company.


Check the company’s history of complaints.

5.Find out how long the company has been in business with the current owner.

6.Beware of proposals thousands of dollars cheaper than the competition.

This could indicate-a cash flow problem-needing your money to finish a previous pool, lack of proper insurance, lack of experience to foresee the real cost of a project, coming back after the contract is signed to demand more money for the pool, etc.

7.Ask for a partial lien release at every payment, and a final lien release at completion.

Contractors that can’t get these aren’t paying their bills.

8.Check county clerk’s office web site for any past or present legal issues on the company.

All court documents are public record- lawsuits, etc.

There is no way to be 100% certain of a company’s financial condition, but these eight things can be very helpful to check for indicators of financial instability within a company. Don’t put yourself at risk.

Thank you for allowing us to bid on your project. If you have any questions please call our office!


APSP: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – what you, your business and your clients
Posted on November 18, 2010 to ADA

1. What is ADA? The ADA is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. Disability discrimination occurs when an employer or other entity covered by the ADA treats an individual with a disability unfavorably or less favorably because they have a disability or a history of a disability. The law requires an employer or other entity to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or applicant with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense (“undue hardship”). The Department of Justice (DOJ) is the federal agency charged with enforcing the ADA.

2. What sections of ADA apply to swimming pools and spas?

a. Title II (Public Industry) – Title II prohibits disability discrimination by all public entities at the local and state levels. Examples of Title II entities include school districts, municipalities, cities, and counties.

b. Title III (Private Industry) – Title III prohibits disability discrimination by any place of public accommodation (commercial facilities). Examples of Title III entities include a place of recreation, a place of education, and a place of lodging.

3. What are the swimming pool and spa specific requirements? Both Title II and III entities are required to provide “accessible means of entry for pools.” Larger pools (greater than 300 linear feet of pool wall) require at least two means of access and smaller pools (less than 300 linear feet of pool wall) require at least one means of access.

4. What are the permitted means of access? Either a pool lift or sloped entry (ramp) is required for all affected swimming pools as the primary means of access. Where a second means of access is required, it may also consist of a transfer wall, transfer system, or stairs. The criteria that each of these means of access must meet can be found in chapter 10, section 1009, of the revised ADA guidelines, a link can be found on the APSP website.

5. Do the new requirements apply to both existing and new swimming pools and spas that fall under the Title II or III categories? Yes, the permitted means of access must be provided on all installations no later than March 15, 2012. However, it is highly recommended these means of access be added to both new and existing construction as soon as possible.

6. Are there service requirements for ADA equipment? Yes, mandated features must be maintained in working order. The regulations provide a “Maintenance of Accessible Features” provision which states that “a public accommodation shall maintain in operable working condition those features of facilities and equipment that are required to be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.”

7. How will these requirements be enforced? Enforcement will vary from state to state, but does not change the fact this is the law. Direct action against noncompliant facilities may be taken by local building or health officials enforcing state or health building codes that reference the new guidelines. Individuals may also file civil lawsuits against noncompliant facilities. Indirect enforcement can occur when a local government becomes ineligible for a federal grant unless all facilities are in compliance.

8. How does the ADA affect existing state and local building codes? Existing codes remain in effect. The ADA allows the Attorney General to certify that a state law, local building code, or similar ordinance that establishes accessibility requirements meets or exceeds the minimum accessibility requirements for public accommodations and commercial facilities. Any state or local government may apply for certification of its code or ordinance.

9. What financial assistance is available to employers/owners to help them make reasonable accommodations and comply with the ADA? A special tax credit is available to help smaller employers make accommodations required by the ADA.

Information discussing the tax credits and deductions is contained in the Department of Justice’s ADA Tax Incentive Packet for Businesses available from the ADA Information Line. Information about the tax credit and tax deduction can also be obtained from a local IRS office, or by contacting the Office of Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service.

10. Where can I learn more about these requirements? APSP has developed a webinar, “Obligations and Opportunities Under the 2010 ADA Regulations” presented by John Caden of SR Smith, LLC, that is now up and ready for purchase from the Education On The Go page of the APSP website. Information can also be found on the APSP website and at Manufacturers of products that provide accessible means of entry also have information that can be found on their websites.

Background and History of ADA

The original Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990. The law was divided into five subparts but for the swimming pool and spa industry the relevant sections are Public Entities and Public transportation (Title II) and Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities (Title III).

The original enforcement guidelines did not provide accessibility standards for swimming pool and spas. However, in 2004, the Department of Justice issued enforcement guidelines that included pools and spas. At that point they were just that — guidelines — and not law.

In July 2010, the Department of Justice announced its final rule making. The revised regulations were then published in the Federal Register on September 16, 2010 and will take effect on March 15, 2011. Compliance with these regulations will be required no later than March 15, 2012.

Swimming Pool Accessibility

The swimming pool guidelines that are now part of the ADA law are virtually the same for both Public Entities (Title II) and Public Accommodations (Title III) facilities. They stipulate that any pool with under 300 linear feet of pool wall must provide one means of access, and that means must be either a pool lift or a sloped entry. In addition, any pool that has over 300 linear feet of pool wall must provide two means of access, one of which must be either a pool lift or sloped entry. The second means of access for large pools can be any of the five designated means of access, which are: pool lifts, sloped entries, transfer walls, transfer systems, or accessible pool stairs. The criteria that each of these means of access must meet can be found in chapter 10, section 1009 of the revised ADA guidelines


There are some exceptions from the accessibility guidelines. Title II facilities can be excluded if they can prove that modifications would significantly alter the historic nature of the building. They could also be excused if they could demonstrate that making such modifications would create undue financial hardship for the facility. Title III facilities can be excluded if they can demonstrate that reasonable accommodations are not readily achievable. However, the Department of Justice has made it very clear that, given the flexibility and cost of a pool lift, it would be very difficult for any entity to escape their responsibility to provide access to a swimming pool.


ADA regulations are enforced directly and indirectly. Most direct enforcement is a result of civil lawsuits initiated by a plaintiff who sues for non-compliance. If the plaintiff prevails, the court usually issues a court order that requires the defendant to remedy the violation, and attorney’s fees for the plaintiff. There are generally no monetary awards provided to the victorious plaintiff.

The ADA is also enforced indirectly by requiring compliance prior to receiving licenses, certifications, or grants from prevailing authorities. For example, prior to a local government receiving a federal grant, it must provide proof of compliance with a wide array of regulations ranging from environmental mandates to equal opportunity programs to ADA compliance. In addition, in most localities, any new construction or building modification will not receive a certificate of occupancy without meeting all relevant ADA requirements. Many states will adopt the latest guidelines into their state or local building codes.


Time is running out ! !

All pools built without a main drain collector tank must be retrofitted with a properly sized and piped collector tank as described in the collector tank definition, the first paragraph of 64E-9.005, 64E-9.007(8), and 64E-9.007(10) on or before the following dates to eliminate direct suction through the main drain. 1. For all pools, including wading pools, except spa type pools, with a main drain grate water depth of 4 feet or less, construction shall be completed on or before one year from the effective date of this rule; for all spa type pools built before 1977, retrofit by July 1, 2010, for all spa type pools built between 1977 and 1986, retrofit by July 1, 2011, for all spa type pools built between 1986 and 1995, retrofit by July 1, 2012 and for all other pools, retrofit by July 1, 2013. 2. All existing public pools with direct suction main drains shall install as soon as possible, but in no case later than 180 days after the effective date of this rule, a main drain cover/grate that meets both the ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 standard for drain covers/grates and the main drain cover/grate 1.5 feet per second water velocity requirement of this rule.

Mains Drain Grates and the Federal Pool & Spa Safety Act
Models of main drain grates advertised and sold as being in compliance with the “Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act,” may conflict with water flow and velocity requirements of the “Florida Public Pool Code,” 64E-9 FAC. A provision of the federal law requires that by December 20, 2008, every public pool and spa, both new and existing, be equipped with drain covers conforming to the ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 – 2007 Standard. The standard requires drain covers be stronger and less susceptible to degradation caused by heat, light, chemicals and age.

This is commendable. However, making the main drains stronger has necessitated that there be less open space or “holes” for water flow. Some of the grates recently introduced, or being advertised as coming to the market before the compliance deadline, have approximately 50% less open space and similarly half the gpm rating as the old model grates had before they were beefed up. When the same size “new and improved” grate is installed, builders and engineers are faced with the dilemma of maintaining the proper water level in the collection tank without increasing the water velocity at the main drain greater than the maximum allowable l.5 feet per second. If the open area of the grate is too small, there may not be sufficient water in the collection tank for the system to operate properly. Eliminating a hazard creates a new problem.

On new construction this is easy to remedy with larger grates or multiple main drains. There isn’t an easy fix for existing pools and spas. Contractors are cautioned to be aware that newly introduced “compliant” drain grates may not be in accordance with current requirements of the Florida Public Pool Code. We recommend that you check with your Professional Engineer as well as with the Department of Health official in charge of plan review in your area before changing drain covers.


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Have a designated pool watcher to keep an eye on swimmers at all times.
This should be a responsible adult who will not become distracted. If going inside for any reason, a new watcher should be assigned or everyone should get out of the pool

Never swim alone, this meands adults too!

Do not use glass containers around the pool.

Go in at the first sign of thunderstorms.

No running or rough play in or near the pool.

No diving in shallow water and always steer your dive up.

Never stand or play on a pool cover.

Do not play with drains of any kind.

Safety Equipment

Use layers of protection around your pool. This means you have several things in place to keep children from getting to the water.

Use these LAYERS OF PROTECTION for your pool area:

1. Fencing and gates
Mesh fencing should be at least four feet high and have a self closing, self latching gate. All panels should remain in place when the pool is not in use. Fencing should meet the ASTM F 1908 standard

2. Door and gate alarms
Many devices are available that attached to pool/spa access doors and gates that will sound a loud alarm when opened and closed. Placing alarms on sliding doors, windows and all exit doors will alert you to children leaving the house. Alarms should meet the Underwriters Laboratories standard UL 2017 for residential water hazard alarm equipment.

3. Perimeter and motion alarms
Infrared systems sound an alarm when the beam is crossed, and can be installed around the perimeter of a pool or spa. Water motion alarms are placed near or in the water and sound an alarm when the water is disturbed.

4. Latch and locks
Fence gates should have latches that automatically close and latch securely. Windows and doors that open to the pool or spa area should all be equipped with self-latching devices.

5. Safety Covers
Pool covers are available that completely cover the pool or spa, blocking access to water. Insist on a cover that has a label stating that it meets the ASTM F1346 Standard for pool and spa covers.

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News & Information from Ashton Pools & Spas. Check back later for the latest word from us. 

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