A Crystal Lagoons project at Laguna Vista, a resort in Chile.
Crystal Lagoons A Crystal Lagoons project at Laguna Vista, a resort in Chile.

For the first time, the Florida Building Code will contain language regarding manmade lakes and lagoons.

For several years, this category of water body has eluded officials, who did not know which standards to apply. The issue has increasingly surfaced, as more surf parks and other leisure areas are built around manmade lakes. It has gained public attention after three recent deaths from brain-eating amoebas attributed to such water attractions.

Industry associations, including the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance and the Florida Swimming Pool Association, helped craft the language, as did Crystal Lagoons, the Chilean firm that began building these bodies of water in the U.S. in 2015.

“It’s nice that we have some final regulation that was agreed to by all parties, and that building departments will have something to follow,” said Jennifer Hatfield, director of government affairs for the PHTA, which formed earlier this year with the merger of APSP and NSPF.

The code will concentrate mostly on the areas of these lakes designated for swimming, she added.

This edition of Florida’s building code is scheduled to go into effect Dec. 31, 2020, barring any significant snags in the process of finalizing the comprehensive document. It still has a lengthy process ahead before publication, including a sizable public-comment period.

The draft for the entire 2020 Florida Building Code is expected to become available Sept. 19.

While no plans have been announced, Hatfield suspects that the state’s health department will eventually address these bodies of water as well, developing requirements and guidelines for their ongoing water quality and maintenance.