As of Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m., the 2020 Florida Building Code took effect.

Updated every three years, the new version has mostly been altered on the commercial pool and spa side. Among the major changes, the method for determining the minimum size of commercials pools has changed somewhat to be more flexible, and a new section has been added to address artificial lakes and lagoons.

No notable changes have been made to the code as it concerns residential pools and spas.

Designers and engineers of commercial pools will still have to determine a minimum sized based on potential bather load, said Dallas Thiesen, government affairs manager for the Florida Swimming Pool Association. Now, however, each vessel alone doesn’t need to be sized to handle total bather load. If a property has multiple pools, waterfeatures, etc., they can combine to accommodate the potential bather load.

The idea was to allow more flexibility and help designers avoid the need to impose strange dimensions, such as extraordinary depths, to achieve the minimum gallonage. “That’s going to allow for smaller pools in certain situations by being able to spread that bathing load across, because people can’t use multiple features at once,” Thiesen said.

As for the artificial lakes and lagoons, it has been determined that any pool-like features, such as steps, floors, walls and rails, must be built according to the building code for pools.