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NPC NOW newsletter

June 2016 Issue

Technical Resources Spotlight: American National Standard for the Plastering of Swimming Pools & Spas Available in the NPC Store

Piece-Rate Legislation: New section to the California Labor Code – AB 1513

 

Renewal Notice: It’s that time again! Renew your membership today!

Business Strategy: Promoting Your Business through Social Media

 

Share your Expertise with your Customers: Tips to Consider When Getting a Pool

Did You Know? Water Safety

NPC News: NPConline.org

 



Technical Resources Spotlight

American National Standard for the Plastering of Swimming Pools & Spas Available in the NPC Store

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has approved the ANSI/APSP/International Code Council (ICC)/National Plasterers Council (NPC) –12 2016 Standard for the Plastering of Swimming Pools and Spas.

NPC collaborated on this valuable standard with APSP, which is an organization that also promotes national consensus on pool, hot tub and spa standards. Here’s what APSP Vice President of Technical & Standards Carvin DiGiovanni had to say about the standard in a recent APSP article:

"Before now, there was no consensus standard on the plastering of swimming pools and spas," said DiGiovanni. "Through the APSP-12 standards committee, the NPC worked tirelessly with us to establish a standard on the art and science of plastering swimming pools and spas. We look forward to further collaboration with NPC and others in the industry as we use technology to improve the customer experience with our industry's products" (APSP, 2016).

So, what’s covered in the ANSI/APSP/ICC/NPC–12 2016 Standard for the Plastering of Swimming Pools and Spas? Here’s a quick overview:

  • The material and application for the plastering of cementitious finish coatings for in-ground swimming pools or other cementitious water-containment vessels.
  • The identification and stipulation of non-structural cementitious finish coating materials for usage in plastering.
  • The application and finishing methodologies based on common accepted trade practices.
  • The installation of non-structural cementitious interior finish coatings for in-ground swimming pools or other cementitious water-containment vessels.

NPC is proud to offer our members (and the nation) a key piece of technical reference to support the success of professionals everywhere.

"This is the beginning of the NPC's education of the architectural community and other likeminded professionals about the very best in pool plastering practices, " said NPC Executive Director Jeff Henderson.

Scott McKenna, NPC Chair added, "We see this peer reviewed standard as a key first step in establishing proper practices for our industry. The result is a standard that can be proudly referred to by associations across the pool industry."

For more information about the Standard and to purchase your copy visit NPConline.org/Store.

 


 

Renewal Notice

It’s that time again! Renew your membership today!

Your annual dues invoice for 2016-2017 can be accessed by logging into your account.  Your membership dues renewal is an investment that will help NPC continue its industry leadership role and increase the visibility of the pool industry on your behalf.  Please make your payment promptly to ensure that you and your company will continue to receive the services and support that your dues provide.

If you have forgotten your username, please contact our office at 847-416-7221.

Thank you for your support of the NPC!

Sign in to Renew now!

 


 

Piece-Rate Legislation

New section to the California Labor Code – AB 1513

The Department of Industrial Relations has provided a fact sheet on the AB 1513 amendment and we have broken it down here for you. For the complete fact sheet and details click here.

Intent

  1. Clarify and settle pay requirements for mandated breaks and other nonproductive time.
  2. Provide a short window of time for employers to pay back wages to workers for nonproductive time in exchange for relief from statutory penalties and other damages.

Objectives

  • Reach more piece-rate workers for larger and timelier back pay.
  • Relieve employers of liability of past violations.
  • Clarify compensation requirements.

Aspects of AB 1513

  • Prospective pay requirements for rest and recovery breaks.
  • Prospective pay for non-productive time.
  • Back payments and relief from related penalties and liquidated damages.
  • Exceptions and other provisions:
    • Certain resolved claims and cases.
    • Companies involved in a major merger acquisition.

In response to the announcement of AB 1513 last December, NPC Chairman Scott McKenna says, “We want to make everyone aware of this bill, it could have far reaching consequences and is open to many different interpretations. We strongly recommend that you read it and consult a labor law expert."

Read the full Press Release concerning AB 1513 here.

 


Business Strategy

Promoting Your Business through Social Media

An online presence is important for all businesses. Social media has become a huge part of that presence. It’s important for you and your team to determine the best course of action in this area and ensure your company is accurately represented and reaching your target audience.

The basic goal of social media in relation to promoting your business is to engage the right audience with valuable content. At first glance, you may think of social media channels, like Facebook and Twitter, as opportunities for shameless business promotion and advertising. Audiences have little tolerance for this. If you are not offering the audience something other than your contact information or your opinion of what you can do for them, they will not be your audience for long.

Engagement is achieved by sharing insight and providing value whenever someone interacts with your business. This establishes credibility and trust, which makes your audience and number of potential customers grow. Your engagement efforts extends into promotion by presenting valuable service offers. Social media provides the widest audience from the very beginning of your efforts.

To reach a balance of engaging content and promotion, we have put together these helpful tips and best practices.

  1. Follow the one-in-seven rule. Every seventh post you make should be overtly promoting your business. The other posts can also be promotional, but should also include valuable content, such as an interesting article, video, or slideshow.
  2. Ask conversation-starter questions. If you know anything about social media, you know that people do not hesitate to voice their opinion. Ask questions that begin with phrases like “What do you think about…,” “Which one of these…,” and “Do you agree with…” to get the reader to think about how they would answer.
  3. Provide value and share your expertise. While it is important to post fun, entertaining content to show personality, sharing information the audience can use is just as critical. Sharing the latest industry news, research, and special offers from your business is likely the reason your audience follows you on social media in the first place.
  4. Provide incentives to follow, like, and recommend your social media pages. Running online contests and offering exclusive online coupons and deals are just a couple strategies to get your audience in the habit of checking in with your business.
  5. Avoid syndicated messages. Your social media presence will not be limited to just Facebook, or only a Twitter account. There are services that provide a way to post the same message multiple times across multiple channels, which is convenient but not always helpful. You run the risk of seeming insincere, so change up your messaging often to keep it fresh and impactful.
  6. Choose your social media channels wisely. You may find that your target audience is most active on a particular social media site. You will want to focus your efforts on these channels as not to waste valuable time with the multitude of outlets available. Don’t know which one to focus on? Ask! Ask current customers, do research on competitors with an established social media presence, or conduct a survey.
  7. Follow key organizations on social media. Be sure to follow professional associations that provide the latest news and developments in the industry, like NPC on Facebook, @NPC88 on Twitter, and thenpc_ on Instagram.

When you develop a strategy for social media for your business with these best practices in mind, you set yourself up for social media success. A person happening upon your page full of valuable content and just enough promotional messages will be a customer in no time.


 

Share your Expertise with your Customers

Tips to Consider When Getting a Pool

After deciding to purchase your first swimming pool, it’s tough to know where to start. Share these helpful tips with customers to help them focus and learn to establish a budget, find the right builder, and remember to have fun with it!

  1. Have a wish list. A beautiful backyard swimming pool is often a part of someone’s dream home. To make sure you get what you want, do the research and find out about the latest technologies, materials, and designs that fit your desires.
  2. Create a look book. Sometimes it’s difficult to put what you want into words. Create a scrapbook of ideas and examples of what you want. This will help you effectively communicate and ensure you and your builder are on the same page.
  3. Research the types of in-ground pools. Treat the research you do as you would if you were buying a new home or vehicle. There are many ways to build a pool, many kinds of cleaning and filtration systems, and tons of options for those artistic finishing touches. Accessing credible sources online, like the National Plasterers Council (NPConline.org) and the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP.org) will help you to learn the language and be more confident in your decision making.
  4. Find a credible pool builder. Log on to NPConline.org, click on Find a Professional, and choose Service/Builder toward the bottom of the page, then type in your parameters to find a qualified professional with the skills it takes to do the job well.
  5. Consider the weather in your area. Depending on where you live, the weather may dictate some of your pool building decisions. For example, people in cooler climates may want to consider an enclosure to help prolong the season. Does it never get too warm where you live? Then add a pool heater to your research. Are you in a heavily treed, unusually sunny, or especially windy area? There has been some extensive evaporation and pool cover research done that you will want to look into here.
  6. Know how you want to use your pool. Think about why you want a pool. Is it for entertaining, your kids, are you making an investment in the value of your home, or are you making a statement with a funky pool design? The reasons for wanting a pool will influence your decisions. If you want to give your kids something fun for those the summer months you may want to consider a slide for the pool. Or, if you are looking for that artistic statement, look into a fancy water fixture or unique lighting.
  7. Establish a budget. Knowing what you want is, of course, essential, but you also need to determine your financial limits. Being open about your budget and wants will allow your builder to educated recommendations and present you with quotes and estimates that won’t take you by surprise.
  8. Consider the long-term. Although owning a pool is pretty affordable, you need to take that extra step and consider those costs and responsibilities. Make sure to consider how much water the pool takes, cleaning and maintenance, and any accessories you need to purchase (pool cover, filters, toys, etc.).
  9. Check your local building codes. Your pool builder is a key resource for this step, but to stay on top of your project you’ll want to educate yourself on the codes. For instance, some areas require fences of a certain height and/or that have a locking mechanism. Other considerations include building permits, building restrictions, noise policies, and property tax concerns.
  10. The effects on insurance. Be sure to check with your homeowner’s insurance representative to see how the pool will affect your policy.
  11. Get the features you really want. Don’t settle if you can help it. Yes, you created a budget you need to stick to, but go for what you want. If it will blow your budget, then consult your builder and see if there are other ways to save. You want your perfect pool, not almost perfect.
  12. Be energy efficient. Nowadays, it’s easy to save on a pool’s energy costs. Pump and lighting timers, enclosures, and pool covers can pay for themselves in a short amount of time.
  13. Don’t forget water features. Adding the features at a later date is way more difficult than including them in the original construction. Sometimes adding them will require a complete remodel. People love water features, so remember to include them from the get-go or it may cost you big time later.
  14. Plant with purpose. You won’t want a pool all by its lonesome in the backyard. It’s important to incorporate the greenery into the budget. Add which plants to choose to your research. This way you’ll avoid choosing messy trees, like pecans and sycamores, or plants with far-reaching shallow roots. You’ll most likely want to go with bushy perennials that don’t grow very tall.
  15. Keep safety in mind. Local codes will require you to take certain safety precautions, but you will want to do some additional research. Credible resources, like the Red Cross or the National Water Safety Month websites, can provide valuable tips and information on how to keep your pool safe and secure.
  16. Think about finishing touches. Stone, concrete, ceramic, and glass tile can all be used to make your pool stand out that much more. Discuss decking, coping, and border options with your builder and see what’s right for you.
  17. Put fun on the list. Pool ownership is fun! When you’ve made all the construction decisions and the pool is almost ready to be started by a NPC Certified Start-up Technician, start gathering those extras. Toys, games, more swimsuits, and patio furniture are all accessories that will enhance your new swimming pool owner lifestyle.
  18. Plan your first pool party! Show off your new pool, you deserve it! All your hard work and research has paid off and it’s time to celebrate with family and friends. Plan that first pool party and enjoy yourself in style!

 


 

Did You Know?

Water Safety

A huge part of being a pool owner is providing a safe environment for outdoor fun. There are plenty of resources to take advantage of when promoting safety. For pool professionals, it’s important to practice water safety and remain knowledgeable of helpful resources to share with customers. Materials are available for download the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) here. Using the right equipment for safety is critical and should not be taken lightly. The proven correct equipment will not only reassure the customer, but could very well save lives. Public pools have been given special attention in regards to safety through the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool Safety Act (P & SS Act). This act determines the legal requirements for public pools and names ways to inspect regulation compliance.

In May we celebrated National Water Safety Month, but water safety is extremely important all year long. There are so many resources available to stay up to date on the latest safety tips and ideas and the National Water Safety Month website is available year round. You can find essential safety tips, resources that will help educate the public about water safety, proclamations of your business’s dedication to water safety, and ways to help spread the word through events and education all at www.nationalwatersafetymonth.org.

 


 

NPC News

NPConline.org

NPC membership definitely has its benefits and the NPC website at NPConline.org is no exception. Are you taking advantage of these key website resources?

  • Find a Professional. Online users are able to locate you and your business through a specialized catalogue of NPC member professionals. You are able search by service/builder, applicator, or manufacturer/distributor, and then by location. Customers are also able to narrow their search by using the Certified Start-up Technician directory.
  • Technical Resources, including:
  • Ask a technical professional—available for both consumers and professionals—about any issue you are having with your pool.
  • NPC Research Projects that bring scientific method to the development of industry standards.
  • Calendar of Events for NPC and the whole of the pool and spa industry.
  • Information on becoming and maintaining certification as a Start-up Technician.
  • A Technical Library full of valuable information about common issues had and methods used by the industry.
  • Membership information. Sign in and update your profile as needed and put your business on display for the public looking for a professional to hire. NPConline.org is a credible, go-to source for all aspects of pool plastering and you and your company are a part of it.
  • The NPC Scholarship Fund. The Rey Perales Memorial Scholarship Fund provides your employees and their children a chance to win funds for school. Ways to become more involved are located under About Us on the NPC website.
  • The NPC Research Foundation. NPC has been key in the development of industry standards and at the forefront of cutting edge research through studies such as the Cal Poly evaporation study. Information on these efforts are also under the About Us section of the website.
  • Opportunities to take even more advantage of NPConline.org. Last, but certainly not least, there are ways to feature you and your business across the whole of the website and put a visual of your services and own website on display for all users to click on at any given moment of exploring NPC resources.

Being an NPC member means that you care about industry standards and completing jobs the right and safe way. NPC provides the above benefits to members so that you can hold your membership with pride. NPC strives to positively impact a customer’s decision to go with your company by maintaining an impeccable reputation and providing valuable information.

 


 

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Contact NPC at mail@npconline.org or 847-416-7272.

Interested in advertising? Access our Media Guide.

 

© National Plasterers Council
1000 N. Rand Road, Suite 214, Wauconda, IL 60084 USA
Telephone: 847-416-7272, Secure Fax : 847-526-3993
Email: mail@npconline.org