Swimming Pool Regulations for Homeowners

February 20, 2020

At the beginning of 2018, a new law went into effect concerning the safety barriers around swimming pools and hot tubs.  SB 442 amends Section 7195 of the Business and Professions Code as well as Sections 115922 and 115925 of the Health and Safety Code.

Accidental drowning is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1-4 in California.

The focus of this action is to increase the safety barriers around swimming pools since accidental drowning is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1-4 in California, and the leading cause of hospitalizations with brain injuries caused by lack of oxygen.

The requirements are an increase to commonly found barriers and sets the standard going forward to systematically improve the safety barriers of all pools in the State as time goes by. The new law sets the standard that 2 of 7 defined barrier systems must be in place for all swimming pools and hot tubs which do not have a locking cover. 

Is your Pool SB No.442 Compliant? 

With regards to conducting a home inspection on a home that also has a pool or hot tub, it is required that the home inspector report on the presence or lack thereof, of 2 the qualifying safety barriers.

An abbreviated list of requirements for the 7 barriers is below.  (The entire definition of each barrier can be found on the California Department of Public Health website.)  Please keep in mind that these requirements are intended for hot tubs that do not have locking covers, as well.

  1. An enclosure that meets the requirements of Section 115923 and isolates the swimming pool or spa from the private single-family home.
  2. Removable mesh fencing that meets American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Specifications F2286 standards in conjunction with a gate that is self-closing and self-latching and can accommodate a key lockable device.
  3. An approved safety pool cover, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 115921.
  4. Exit alarms on the private single-family home’s doors that provide direct access to the swimming pool or spa. The exit alarm may cause either an alarm noise or a verbal warning, such as a repeating notification that “the door to the pool is open.”
  5. A self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor on the private single-family home’s doors providing direct access to the swimming pool or spa.
  6. An alarm that, when placed in a swimming pool or spa, will sound upon detection of accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water. The alarm shall meet and be independently certified to the ASTM Standard F2208 “Standard Safety Specification for Residential Pool Alarms,” which includes surface motion, pressure, sonar, laser, and infrared type alarms. A swimming protection alarm feature designed for individual use, including an alarm attached to a child that sounds when the child exceeds a certain distance or becomes submerged in water, is not a qualifying drowning prevention safety feature.
  7. Other means of protection, if the degree of protection afforded is equal to or greater than that afforded by any of the features set forth above and has been independently verified by an approved testing laboratory as meeting standards for those features established by the ASTM or the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Upgrade Your Pool Safety Barrier When Your Pool is Being Remodeled or Repair Work is Being Done.

Swimming poof with fense
A swimming pool behind a safety fence

The requirement to upgrade the pool safety barrier(s) is at the time the pool is having remodel or repair work conducted which requires a permit. The permitting process will initiate the requirement to upgrade an older pool or to ensure a new pool is in compliance.

As a swimming pool or hot tub owner please remember children are curious. Often they are without fear or concern and can jump, climb or fall into any pool, large fountain or hot tub. To help avoid a horrible tragedy, please review the safety measures you have around your pool or hot tub.

North American Home Services has been providing home and termite inspection services to the greater Sacramento region for over 10 years. We have completed thousands of inspections on residential and commercial buildings in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Yolo and Solano counties. We specialize in communities such as Sacramento, Elk Grove, Folsom, Roseville, Citrus Heights, and Granite Bay. Our home inspectors are highly regarded and qualified. Each is certified through the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors and remains current on all aspects related to providing the best home inspection services.

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