SOURCE: Pool Safety Consortium

February 28, 2008 09:16 ET

Votes by International Building Code Council and International Residential Code Council Overwhelmingly Support Entrapment Avoidance Devices for All Pools and Spas

I-Codes Continue to Require Safety Vacuum Release Systems or Approved Gravity Drainage Devices

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL--(Marketwire - February 28, 2008) - The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP) could not persuade the International Building Code Council (IBC) or the International Residential Code Council (IRC) to change their requirements on entrapment avoidance during a hearing held on February 21 and 25, 2008 to finalize the 2009 International Codes. The IBC rejected APSP-7 unanimously 13 to 0 and the IRC voted 10 to 1 to keep language requiring a Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS) or Gravity drainage device on residential pools falling under the rule.

While the official statement will be released in early March, the IBC stated that they denied the proposal (APSP-7) because it "would weaken the existing Code making pools and spas less safe," according to Paul Pennington, a founding member of the Pool Safety Consortium. This is because APSP-7 completely eliminates pool and spa entrapment protection by removing the SVRS/Approved Gravity System requirement, or the "third layer of protection."

APSP-7, which was created by APSP, is based on its long-held position that the installation of dual outlets, or drains, is the only necessary entrapment avoidance method. According to APSP-7, backup systems such as an SVRS and Gravity Systems are not required and are optional. The theory is that if one drain is blocked, the water can flow through the other drain, thus reducing the chance of suction entrapment. However, based on Council's recent decision to reject the APSP language, this theory is flawed.

"Contrary to APSP-7, dual drains provide no assurance that a swimmer will not become entrapped by the suction force on one of the drains," said Pennington. "One or more of these drain outlets can become completely obstructed by leaves, toys or even a towel, yet the pool will still appear to be functioning normally because one drain is still operational, which means that it's also producing the deadly force necessary to entrap a person. In addition to being clogged by debris, a drain can also suffer from faulty construction."

Integral parts of the International Code Council (ICC), The IRC and IBC are the two ICC Committees responsible for publishing the International Building Codes, or I-Codes, which provide minimum safeguards for people at home, at school and in the workplace. The I-Codes are a complete set of comprehensive, coordinated building safety and fire prevention codes.

The Pool Safety Consortium is a non-profit corporation composed of the manufacturers of pool safety equipment and others who advocate for the enactment of accepted national building codes to reduce accidents in swimming pools and spas. Its website can be found at

Media Contact: Don Silver or Tracy McTeague with Boardroom Communications at 954-370-8999 or email

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Don Silver or Tracy McTeague
    Boardroom Communications
    email Email Contact