With celebrations put on hold due to the pandemic in 2021, and the annual Industry Gala Evening unable to go ahead, BISHTA and SPATA have carried forward their milestone anniversaries to 2022. This allowed the two trade associations to bring the industry together again at the annual Gala Evening held during SPATEX at the Coventry Building Society Arena for an evening of dining, dancing, entertainment, and celebration with friends, colleagues and peers.
As they bring the Industry Together and Welcome New Appointments
Commemorating its 60th anniversary, from its formation in 1961, when six companies made a small but significant contribution to the future of the UK Pool industry. The minutes from the first meeting listed the founders as "Messrs Gilbert, Pritchard, Rutherford, Gilliam, Gibson and the Secretary (Mr Parrott)" they decided to set up the 'Association of Swimming Pool Contractors'. The first Chairman was Mr Pritchard, and Mr Rutherford was appointed Vice-Chairman.
Among the earliest successful applicants for full membership were, in 1963, Garden Swimming Pools (Surrey) Ltd ("Mr Trusson representing") and F J Brickell and Sons Ltd. The Trusson and Brickell families were to play significant roles in the Association over the years. The two companies are still represented among the membership to this day. It was recognised that the Standards would need continual review and updating, and several specialist sub-committees were set up to carry this out.
By the beginning of the '70s, the Association's reputation was established, and it was regularly consulted by government departments and others on matters of safety, trade practice etc. The membership reflected the wider spread of industry interests, and it was decided to recognise this in 1971 by changing the Association's name to the Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association (SPATA).
Jumping forward to the present day, there has been an immense amount of work carried out by the trade association and many changes over the years. SPATA continues its work in those formative years and has embraced the industry's changes and consumer demands to grow its many facets. Today the role of the Trade Association is to work with companies involved in building swimming pools and spa pools so that they are working to British and European Standards. Members are expected to work to SPATA Standards and abide by a Code of Ethics set out by SPATA, helping the pool industry firmly establish the high quality of work companies working to these industry recognised Standards.
2022 British Pool & Hot Tub Awards Gala Evening
Commemorating its 20th anniversary, BISHTA was initially set up by the industry following an outbreak of Legionnaire's disease at a flower show in the Netherlands and a trade show in Belgium in 1999; this brought about conversations around Europe that countries should set up a hot tub association to spread the message about promoting safe spas. Only the UK carried out any action, so exploratory discussions took place from 2000 onwards to discuss what could be done. At a meeting convened in Windsor in May 2002, the decision was made that a national trade association was needed to support the British Hot Tub Industry. It was agreed that the British and Irish Spa and Hot Tub Association (BISHTA) would be the best way forward BISHTA became a registered company in 2002 and was converted to a limited company by guarantee in 2007.
BISHTA agreed to a strapline of 'Promoting Safe Spa Water' to reflect the critical message learned from the incidents in the Netherlands and Belgium. Around Europe, existing pool associations, rather than new hot tub associations, took on the responsibility for promoting hot tub safety in other countries.
In the first decade of BISHTA, Allen Brobyn was BISHTA's first Managing Director until 2008, when Chris Hayes succeeded him. Allen was able to gain support from the BSPF for BISHTA (the British Swimming Pool Federation had been formed a few years before). BISHTA initially set their Standards based on SPATA's existing Standards, and these have continued to evolve separately ever since. In addition to the BISHTA Standards, a number of appendices have been developed to help members on various additional topics as the industry has grown and developed.
BISHTA soon developed a Code of Ethics to ensure businesses behaved responsibly, providing a valuable way to define ethically trading companies and positively differentiating BISHTA members. The Code of Ethics is also a great tool to provide consumer confidence for dealing with reputable companies who abide by the BISHTA Standards, raising the standards for the industry as a whole by educating hot tub companies and making consumers aware of what ethical trading looks like for the industry.
Based on the Association's origins, work around water hygiene remains the vital focus of BISHTA. Customer awareness of the need for chemicals for water hygiene management is a major emphasis for BISHTA's work, along with making training easily accessible to the rapidly growing industry (as a whole).
Initially, Howard Gosling offered water hygiene management courses as Pool and Spa Advice. This has developed over the years, with Howard still playing a significant role in the hot tub industry and training. In recent years, various other companies have partnered with BISHTA to offer essential workforce development for the industry, such as the; Aqua Warehouse Group, Complete Pool Controls (CPC) and 1 Stop Spas (SpaTech Training), with Water Hygiene Management training remaining a stipulation for all companies to be accepted into BISHTA membership.
The BISHTA Committee was developed in 2006, and there were then later further developments to establish the Technical Committee to share the workload and focus on technical aspects relating to Standards and other guidance.
BISHTA was involved in developing the Management of Spa Pools publication (published in 2006); the guidance was issued following a death from Legionnaire's disease of a person visiting a showroom in Bagshot, Surrey. The coroner wanted to see more industry guidance produced, so some existing materials were revised and added to become the Management of Spa Pools guidance. Through the development of this guidance, valuable relationships were forged with the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) and the Health Protection Agencies, along with other organisations who assisted with writing the Management of Spa Pools guidance.
The HSE revised their guidance in Management of Spa Pools, and a decision was taken to produce HSG 282 (the control of Legionella and other infectious agents in spa pool systems) to supersede the original publication. The significant challenges over the years have included the development of the European standard for domestic spas (BS EN 17125). BISHTA was instrumental in lobbying for this standard as soon as it became clear that other domestic pool standards were taking priority. Meetings with colleagues in Europe and online with the Association of Pool and Spa Professional (APSP) based in the USA, later becoming the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), ensured support for a standard to be produced. Funds were sought from Europe, the USA, and inflatable spa manufacturers. BISHTA chaired the project, and a contract with DIN ensured the administration for the standard to be developed was efficient. The standard was published in 2018, after four years of face to face and online meetings.
In recent years, the work carried out by BISHTA to support the industry continues to grow and develop. The decision was taken to update the strapline to 'promoting safe hot tub standards' to reflect the other key H & S issues, such as electrical, entrapment and safe lifting.
The British Swimming Pool Federation (BSPF) was formed in 1999 to bring the industry trade associations together under one umbrella. Members now include BISHTA, SPATA, SPATEX, PIP, and the STA. The STA is the world's largest swim teaching and lifesaving organisation.
A Board manages the BSPF made up of representatives from BISHTA, SPATA, SPATEX, PIP, and the current President is Pete Grinnall. Details of the BSPF staff that work in Andover can be viewed at www.bishta.co.uk / www.spata.co.uk. Each committee works independently on behalf of their respective company (BSPF, BISHTA, SPATA, SPATEX and PIP). The committee members then meet up as the BSPF Board to represent the views of the pools, hot tubs and wellness industry with the government at a national and local level.