swimming pool at a resort

Practically Speaking: The Importance of Definitive Definitions

June 1, 2023
Why Code definitions must be clear and easy to understand

Understanding definitions in the Code is essential for designers, installers, inspectors, and every other Code user for the correct application of requirements throughout the entire Code. Since definitions are so critical, it's important they're as clear and easy to understand as possible.

When it comes to permanently installed swimming pools, revisions were made for the 2023 Code edition to clarify exactly which pools would meet the definition of a “permanently installed swimming pool.” For the 2020 and earlier editions, the definition was located in Sec. 680.2 and included pools constructed in, or partially in, the ground. It also included all other pools with a water depth of greater than 42 in., and all pools installed inside of a building, regardless of depth, whether or not they were served by electrical circuits.

What about a pool “installed” in or on the ground? The definition used the term “constructed” rather than “installed.” A one-piece fiberglass pool set in the ground by a crane might be considered “installed” rather than “constructed” whereas a pool consisting of walls made of rebar and sprayed-on concrete would probably be considered “constructed” versus “installed.” This definition was relocated to Art. 100 and clarified for 2023. The revisions for 2023 removed the 42-in. depth as being part of the definition. So, this definition now includes pools of any depth. The 2023 definition also includes pools that are “constructed” or “installed” in the ground, and it still includes all pools installed inside of a building.

Even with the new streamlined and clarified definition, there may still be some pools that don’t quite fit into the definition yet. For example, rooftop pools come to mind. Would a rooftop pool be considered “inside” the building or “on” the building? And does a pool “constructed” inside a building fit into this revised definition? The definition includes pools “installed” inside of a building. Is there a difference between pools that are “installed” inside a building versus “constructed” inside a building? The revised 2023 definition added the words “or installed” when referring to pools in or on the ground but did not add the words “or constructed” when referring to pools inside a building. There are still many questions that will need to be answered when trying to determine which pools will be covered by this definition. I suggest having a professional and courteous discussion with your AHJ to figure it all out.

About the Author

Russ LeBlanc | Owner

Russ started in the electrical trade as an apprentice in 1985. He worked his way up to become a Journeyman Electrician and then eventually became a Master Electrician and Licensed Construction Supervisor. In 1999 Russ become an Electrical Instructor for The Peterson School of Engineering in Massachusetts where he developed his passion for teaching, and quickly became Department Head of Electrical Instruction. Russ has taught thousands of apprentices, electricians, engineers, inspectors, and other electrical professionals during his career as an instructor. He continues to provide electrical professionals with Electrical Code seminars, Arc-Flash Awareness training seminars and educational material through his LeBlanc Consulting Services in North Reading, MA whose specialty is educating electricians. He has been an active member of the NFPA Electrical Section and has authored hundreds of National Electrical Code proposals and comments which have become Code rules to improve the safety for the electrical industry. Russ is also an IAEI certified Electrical Inspector.

Please visit www.russleblanc.net for more information.

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