media center

Pool & Hot Tub Alliance Announces Publication of the Revised VGBA Drain Cover Standard

  • Feb 4, 2020

For Immediate Release
February 4, 2020

Andrea Wells
PHTA Director, Marketing & Communications

(ALEXANDRIA, VA) — The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) announces the publication of its updated ANSI/APSP/ICC-16 2017 American National Standard for Suction Outlet Fitting Assemblies (SOFA) for Use in Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This approval was originally published in the Federal Register on May 24, 2019 in Vol. 84, No. 101 and will go into effect on November 24, 2020, the 18-month deadline specified by the PHTA-16 Standard Writing Committee (SWC) that includes CPSC Staff representation.

“Providing a smooth transition is a very high priority for everyone involved,” said PHTA-16 SWC Chair Steve Barnes. “Unlike 2007, this revision is not retroactive. Instead it is a product manufacturing deadline.”

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (VGBA) is a federal law which requires all public pools and spas, both new and existing, to be equipped with compliant suction outlet fitting assemblies. Under the VGBA, drain covers manufactured on or after November 24, 2020 will be required to comply with this standard. In the meantime, products certified to one of the prior versions of the standard will continue to be compliant until they expire, or the product is damaged or degraded in any way. It is important to note, this only applies to products that were installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and are in full compliance with the VGBA. Non-compliant installations are not grandfathered and must be replaced before the pool can be opened to users.

“The PHTA fully recognizes the importance of this standard the only aquatics industry standard referenced under any federal law. We are working closely with test labs, regulators, and manufacturers to provide certification consistency across all SOFA product categories,” Barnes added. “These important changes to the VGB Act will help improve public safety, which is everyone’s top priority.”

This standard establishes materials, testing, use, installation, and marketing requirements for new or replacement bather-accessible suction outlet fitting assemblies, that are designed to be fully submerged for use in any pool. It contains changes to physical testing requirements, new definitions and new labeling requirements for the drain cover, an update to the foreword, a non-mandatory Appendix E to help manufacturers, test laboratories and registered design professionals achieve more consistent certification results and a non-mandatory Appendix F to outline specific sections beyond the authority of the CPSC.

The ANSI/APSP/ICC-16 2017 standard is available in print and PDF versions. Purchase your copy today at


About IHTA
The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) was formed in 2019, combining the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) and the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF). With the mission to “Celebrate the Water,” PHTA facilitates the expansion of swimming, water safety and related research and outreach activities aimed at introducing more people to swimming, making swimming environments safer and keeping pools open to serve communities. For more information, visit


Pool & Hot Tub Alliance Strategic Partners:

  • Fluidra
  • Hayward
  • Lou
  • Pentair

This website uses cookies, including from third parties, to improve your user experience and for website analysis and statistics. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use this website.