Swimming Pool Regulations for Homeowners

February 20, 2020

At the beginning of 2018, California lawmakers passed a new law regarding residential pool safety barriers. Known as SB-442, the law stipulates residential swimming pools must be enclosed and equipped with one or more life saving devices.

The law is designed to increase the safety in and around residential swimming pools. In California, drowning is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1-4, and the leading cause of hospitalizations with brain injuries caused by lack of oxygen, an obvious reason why lawmakers passed this policy.

The law outlines seven drowning prevention safety features: at least one of the seven safety features must be equipped on a new construction swimming pool, newly remodeled swimming pool, or pool at a home which is in the process of being sold. 

Is your pool SB-442 compliant? 

A home inspection is required for any home purchase. A home inspector will use the guidelines set forth in SB-442 to determine if the pool is equipped with at least one drowning prevention safety feature. Permits are also issued for new construction and newly remodeled pools.

An abbreviated list of the seven safety requirements is below. Use the California Legislative Information website to view the full list of requirements. 

In California, residential swimming pools must have:

  1. An enclosure that isolates the swimming pool or spa from the private single-family home.
  2. Removable mesh fencing and a gate that is self-closing and self-latching and can accommodate a key lockable device.
  3. An approved safety pool cover.
  4. Exit alarms on the private single-family home’s doors that provide direct access to the swimming pool or spa.
  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. 
  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.

Upgrade your pool safety barrier when your pool is being remodeled or repair work is being done.

Pools subjected to SB-442 include older pools undergoing a remodel, new construction pools, and any pool involved in the sale of a home. When a home inspection finds that a pool lacks proper safety barriers, owners will be required to update their pool prior to receiving a permit.

Once the safety barrier is installed, the home owner will receive the permit. 

If you have questions about pool safety or you are interested in a pool inspection, North American Home Services can help! We have completed thousands of home and pool inspections all over northern California. Our experts can assist you when it comes properly securing your pool.

related articles

How Energy Efficient Upgrades Can Save You Money


Residential electricity bills have increased by 15% over the last 10 years. As it becomes more expensive to power a…


A Guide to Roofing Material Options


Roofs are one of the most important structural elements of a home, as they offer protection from inclement weather, provide…


How Do You Detect And Prevent Household Mold?


Mold is a relatively common problem for many homeowners. Mold thrives in cool temperatures and dark spaces, a combination present…


our licensed, experienced inspectors
are here to help.

Termite Inspections Available