PHTA Celebrates 40th Anniversary as ANSI Accredited Standards Developer

The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) is celebrating 40 years of being an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accredited Standards Developer. PHTA is the leading industry organization recognized by ANSI to develop and promote national consensus standards for residential and public swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas. Since 1983, PHTA has developed and revised 16 industry standards covering construction, maintenance, safety, energy efficiency, and other important topics. They help ensure the safety and health of consumers, members, and the community.

The PHTA standards serve as best practice documents that specify minimum requirements, which raise the level of quality and standard of care throughout the industry. They serve as voluntary consensus guidelines but can become mandatory if adopted into law, which is the case with many PHTA standards. “Standards define the pass/fail criteria needed to confirm success, the foundation on which consumer trust is built,” says PHTA Standards Process Committee Chair Steve Barnes, Director of Science and Compliance at AquaStar Pool Products.

PHTA follows stringent procedures defined in the ANSI Essential Requirements: Due process requirements for American National Standards, including balance of interested and affected parties, due process, public review/comment, appeals, and more during the development phase. Its Standards Consensus Committee (SCC) serves as the official ANSI consensus voting body.

Standards development has been a core focus of PHTA (then the National Swimming Pool Institute [NSPI]) since its founding in 1956. After hearing concerns that the standards were industry-dominated and serving the industry rather than consumers, NSPI sought external validation and received ANSI approval in 1983. The Board of Directors understood the value of standards, giving the Technical Committee (TC) responsibility for the association’s American National Standards (ANS) development process. This resulted in the publication of five new ANSI standards in 1991 and 1992.

Since then, PHTA Standards staff and a long list of volunteer experts in Standard Writing Committees and the TC achieved significant success from January 2007 to February 2023, producing five new standards covering pool and spa energy efficiency, water conservation, public pool water chemistry, and plastering.

PHTA began its 40th anniversary celebration with the publication of the brand-new ANSI/PHTA/ICC-2 2023 standard for the operations and maintenance of public swimming pools and spas in February 2023. This standard is significant in that it provides state-of-the-art public pool policies in an easy-to-use document that was diligently written to follow and improve upon PHTA’s existing knowledge base and that of the Model Aquatic Health Code.

“While known for suction entrapment preventions, energy efficiency, and applied hydraulics, I am most proud to have been part of the PHTA-2 development team because effective operations and maintenance policy impacts every public pool user there is,” says Barnes. “Helping to achieve and consistently maintain water quality is, and always will be, the most consequential responsibility we have as an association and an industry.”

As part of the 40th anniversary celebration, PHTA is collecting videos, photos, and testimonials from those who have been involved in developing PHTA/ANSI standards over the decades. Those interested in sharing their experiences can submit their materials online on the PHTA website. A compilation video will be presented at the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo (PSP/Deck Expo), November 13-15 in Las Vegas, NV.