With all the new technology showing up in the swimming pool industry, there have been questions about what to do in certain situations. Today I want to touch on one thing in particular. In recent years the vinyl liner in ground pool industry has made a move toward non-corrosive pool walls. This move has been made in an effort to increase the life of the vinyl liner in ground pools. Before these non-corrosive alternatives came on the scene the majority of vinyl liner in ground swimming pools were made using steel panels. As you can imagine, the life of the swimming pool was limited to the amount of time it would take for these steel panels to corrode. There is no specific amount of time that it takes for a panel to corrode. There are a number of things that can aid in the corrosion of the steel panels. Since the non-corrosive alternatives were developed the life of vinyl liner in ground pools has been extended quite a bit. However with this new technology there are new questions that need to be addressed.
There are things that had to be done with a steel wall pool that are different now that people are moving toward non-corrosive walls. One thing that comes to mind is bonding. In the past, with the steel wall pool, bonding was a requirement. This is done to protect swimmers from electrical shocks. Basically the rule of thumb is that anything metal within five feet from the water needs bonded. So what about with these non-corrosive panels? Do they still need to be bonded? The answer is somewhat difficult to pinpoint. As with any bonding it is dictated by the county, city, or state code. There is no definite answer. In some cases it is dictated by the inspector who happens to show up at the job site. I have even seen instances where the same job was inspected by two different inspectors and one passed the bonding, and the other said more had to be done before it was okay. The only way I can even begin to answer this question is to simply tell you what has been required in my area as it pertains to Only Alpha Pool Products’ Structural Armor line of building material.
To begin I must first clarify what “Structural Armor” is. This is a line of building material that consists of Only Alpha’s composite wall system combined with standard steel bracing. As I have stated above the bonding requirements for this line of pool are similar to the requirements for a steel wall pool in that they change from inspector to inspector, and in some cases from job site to job site. Although the requirements are seemingly always changing, the rule of thumb remains the same, and that is that any metal within five feet of the waters’ edge must be bonded. Although the composite material is not metal there are usually other things that fall under this category. Things like coping, handrail sockets, and lights are all things that would need to be bonded. In addition to those we are required to bond our concrete rebar grid as well. Typically, inspectors will not require our bracing to be bonded, however I am told that in other location the steel braces are required to be bonded. One thing that can be a bit tricky is the coping. Usually every piece of coping needs to be bonded even though it is all touching. For this we were told to simply run a “jumper” from one piece to the next. This means that we would have a six inch piece of bond wire connecting the two pieces of coping.
To sum this all up, the bonding requirements for Only Alpha’s Structural Armor line of in ground swimming pool building material are dictated by the individual locations in which the pool is being built. For the best possible answer you will need to check the code for your area. Even if that is done you may still find that it is not sufficient enough to satisfy the eye of the inspector who visits the job site. I think that this is a result of the fact that these codes are usually written in such a way that their meaning becomes a bit ambiguous and can be interpreted an number of ways. One inspectors interpretation may differ than that of another’s.
For more information on in ground pool bonding as well as general in ground swimming pool information please check out the rest of my blog. I have written about many different topics related to in ground swimming pools so if there is something that you are curious about it is likely that I have already written about it. If not feel free to leave a comment of question in the comments section below and I will do my best to address them in a timely manner.