///Suction Outlet Fitting Assemblies (SOFA)

Suction Outlet Fitting Assemblies (SOFA)

Recent changes to the American National Standard for Suction Outlet Fitting Assemblies (SOFA) for Use in Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs, ANSI/APSP/ICC-16 2017, have resulted in new testing procedures to determine the maximum allowable flow rate through the SOFA. VGBA 2017 fittings are listed to the current standard.

What changed in the updated standard?

  • Testing procedures to determine maximum flow rate are now dependent on various factors, including pipe size, sump depth and dimensions, sump port/pipe location, and minimum length of pipe from the sump before any reduction. Fittings listed to the updated standard have a different maximum flow rating for each pipe size tested.
  • Any fitting manufactured after May 24, 2021 is listed to the updated standard and will have different maximum flow ratings than previously manufactured fittings, even if the model number is identical.
  • VGBA 2017 fittings will have a manufacture date after May 24, 2021 embossed on the cover.
  • VGBA 2017 listed fittings will have VGBA 2017 embossed on the cover.
  • Fittings tested to a prior version of the standard (VGB 2008 fittings) will have ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 (2007, 2008a, or 2009b), ANSI/APSP-16 2011, or VGB 2008 embossed on the cover.
  • Determine whether the product is listed to VGBA 2017 or VGB 2008.
  • Refer to manufacturer documentation to determine flow rate.
    • For VGBA 2017 products, use the VGBA 2017 Certified Documentation for flow rate and installation instructions. Factors like pipe size and length, sump depth, and pipe orientation must be considered to determine maximum flow rate.
    • For VGB 2008 products, use the VGB 2008 Certified Documentation for flow rate and installation instructions. The maximum flow rate will be embossed on the cover.
  • In most cases, yes. Without a review or inspections to evaluate existing pipe size, sump depth, and pipe orientation, it is impossible to determine the maximum flow rating for a VGBA 2017 cover, even if the model number is identical to the existing VGB 2008 cover.
  • This includes replacements if an aquatic venue is being replastered, for broken covers, and for replacements of covers that have exceeded their life expectancy.
  • No. VGB 2008 covers are still compliant, even for new installations. If the existing covers are sized appropriately for the system, in good repair, and have not exceeded their life expectancy, there is no requirement to replace them with VGBA 2017 covers.
  • SNHD Aquatic Facility Regulations section 2-502.5(A) requires that all submerged suction outlets are listed to ANSI/APSP-16 2011, or successor standard.
  • Section 2-502.5(H) of the Regulations requires flow velocities to meet ANSI/APSP-16 2011, or successor standard, based on 100% design flow through the fittings.
  • Determine the model number for the existing and replacement covers and whether they are VGB 2008 or VGBA 2017 listed.
  • Consult manufacturer documentation to determine maximum flow rating for your application.
  • Look at the scenarios below to determine if a remodel application and review is required.
  • Work with a pool contractor licensed in Nevada to make application and conduct the work.
    • Contractors should consult the SOFA Remodel Procedures prior to application.

Replacement Scenarios

A remodel is not required

  • If an existing VGB 2008 cover is being replaced with an identical VBG 2008 cover (identical model number, flow rating, etc.).

A substantially similar replacement is required

  • If an existing VGB 2008 cover is being replaced with a different model VGB 2008 cover and all of the following conditions are met:
    • The size of the cover has not changed (i.e., 8” round to 8” round, 9” x 9” to 9” x 9”, etc.);
    • Flow rating of the replacement cover is greater than or equal to rating of the existing cover; and
    • There are no new sump requirements with the replacement cover.

A remodel is required

  • If an existing VGB 2008 cover is being replaced with a different model VGB 2008 cover, and any of the following conditions exist:
    • The size of the cover has changed (e.g., 8” round to 9” x 9”, etc.);
    • Flow rating of the replacement cover is less than the existing cover; or
    • The replacement cover has different sump requirements (e.g., sumpless to 3’ sump).
  • If an existing VGB 2008 cover is being replaced with any VGBA 2017 cover.

*If a specific scenario is not listed, please contact your inspector for further clarification.

SOFA Remodel Procedures

Selecting a replacement cover

  • Measure sump depth, pipe diameter and length, and pipe orientation of the existing system.
    • Examples of required dimensions can be found in Figure 5 from ANSI/APSP/ICC-16 2017:
  • Select a replacement cover that is approved for installation with the existing plumbing and sump configurations.
  • Select a replacement cover with a flow rating that exceeds the maximum system flow rate for the pump, not the desired operating flow rate.
    • To determine maximum system flow rate, the pump must be run at the highest speed (maximum RPM) with the lowest operating resistance/TDH (clean filter, all flow going through main drain, etc.).
    • Determine system TDH using working vacuum and pressure gauges on the pump.
    • Plot system TDH against manufacturer pump curve.
  • If a VGB 2008 cover is selected, it may be installed over any pipe size unless otherwise noted. Refer to VGB 2008 Certified Documentation for maximum flow rating and installation instructions.
  • If a VGBA 2017 cover is selected, it must be installed with the specific plumbing and sump configurations approved. Refer to VGBA 2017 Certified Documentation for maximum flow rating and installation instructions.

*Note: Refer to manufacturer documentation
for specific installation requirements.

Remodel Process

  • An appropriately licensed Nevada pool contractor may make application using the Non-substantial Alteration application. Applications can be submitted to aquatic@snhd.org.
  • Inspections will be required to determine that the replacement cover is appropriate for use on the system.
  • No aquatic venue is permitted to operate after remodel work has started until written approval from SNHD has been granted.

Additional Considerations

  • Depending on existing field conditions (quantity of drains, pipe size, pipe orientation, sump configuration, etc.), locating an approvable replacement fitting for the application may be difficult. Consult with SOFA suppliers and manufacturers to determine the best solution for your application.
  • If selecting a replacement SOFA with a maximum flow rating that exceeds the maximum system flow rate for the pump is difficult, changing pump may be an option to achieve compliance.
  • SOFAs listed to the ANSI/APSP/ICC-16 standard are federally regulated products. SNHD cannot approve any deviations from certified manufacturer installation instructions.
  • Manufacturers must specifically approve a blockable SOFA for use on a single drain system. If the proposed replacement for a single drain system has only been approved for use on a dual/split drain system, additional work may be required to obtain compliance.

Contact Information

(702) 759-0572

333 N. Rancho Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89106


Updated on: February 10, 2022

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