Swimming Pool Blog

California Pool Laws: Vol 1 - Pool Safety

 California Pool Pool Safety Act Requirements

by Rob Cox, February 7, 2018

California Pool Safety Act Requirements


The title of the post should give away my intention to write successive volumes related to legislation in California. Today we look at updates to the California Pool Safety Act. Later on, we'll return with Vol. II, to cover laws surrounding energy standards; a lengthy piece about pool heaters, pumps and pipes. As summer draws near, I will post Vol. III of California Pool Laws, a close look at water conservation and pools.

The California Swimming Pool Safety Act was recently updated and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on October 11, 2017. The main requirement is that residential pools must now have at least two (2) pool safety features installed; not just one as previously required.

The new law SB 442, involves not just newly constructed or reconstructed pools, but All backyard pools (not public pools). Enforcement for existing pools is managed by the permit process and local building code inspectors, and by your local home inspector employed when selling a home. Both are now required to certify that pools in California have two of the approved safety devices installed.

What safety devices are required for pools in California? Currently there are seven (7) approved safety features. Every pool now needs at least two of them

SEC. 4.

 Section 115922 of the California Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

 (a) When a building permit is issued for the construction of a new swimming pool or spa or the remodeling of an existing swimming pool or spa at a private single-family home, the respective swimming pool or spa shall be equipped with at least two of the following seven drowning prevention safety features:
(1) Permanent fencing, a 5 ft. tall perimeter pool fence or enclosure that meets requirements of Section 115923, to isolate the swimming pool or spa from the home.
(2) Removable mesh fencing that meets ASTM Specifications and F2286 standards with a gate that is self-closing and self-latching and can accommodate a key lockable device.
(3) An approved safety pool cover or automatic cover that meets ASTM Specifications F1346, as described in 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.
(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) A pool 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 (Safety Turtle) an alarm attached to a child that sounds when the child 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 ASME.
(b) Before the issuance of a final approval for the completion of permitted (pool) construction or remodeling work, the local building code official shall inspect the drowning safety prevention features required by this section and, if no violations are found, shall give final approval.
(c) A “home inspection report” is a written report prepared for a fee and issued after a home (and pool) inspection. In a dwelling with a pool or spa, the report shall identify which, if any, of the seven drowning prevention safety features listed in subdivision (a) of Section 115922 of the Health and Safety Code the pool or spa is equipped with and shall specifically state if the pool or spa has fewer than two of the listed drowning prevention safety features.


Essentially, if you are planning to sell your home, or do any extensive pool renovations that require a permit, you will need at least two of the pool safety devices mentioned above. And of course, all new pool construction must display two approved safety devices, or risk failing the final pool inspection.

To comply with the revised California Pool Safety Act, install these $50 Pool Door Alarms (#4 above), and a self-closing, self-latching device (#5 above) on the back doors that lead to the pool area.

An even easier way is to install our Door Alarms (#4 above) on each back door that leads to the pool, and place a PoolGuard or Pooleye Pool Alarm (#6 above) on the edge of the pool to detect sub-surface motion in the water.

If you really want to make the pool safer however, and not just comply - nothing beats a 4-sided pool perimeter fence (#1 above) with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Mesh pool fencing is also compliant as a 4-sided fence however; oftentimes you can accomplish the same thing with a few 10 ft. sections of or our Mesh Pool Fence (#2 above).

Mesh Fence sections span one or two sides of the pool, and connect to other fences or barriers, as shown below. Mesh Pool Fencing is also called Removable pool fencing, as the sections can be easily removed for pool parties or other backyard events.



California has long been at the forefront of pool safety legislation, and is an issue that the state legislature takes very seriously. In addition to the new requirement for all pools to have two (2) pool safety features, California was the first to adopt the VGB act, requiring dual main drains and anti-entrapment covers.

Poolcenter.com has also been committed to the idea that pools can be made safe, with a combination of sensible products and vigilant practices. Nothing beats Active Adult Supervision, but it's not always enough. California's new direction confirms that additional Layers of Protection are a worthwhile investment, to keep kids safe.

After the bill was signed, California State Senator Josh Newman commented “Requiring an additional safety feature on residential pools will significantly reduce incidents of drowning and drowning-related injuries. I commend and thank Governor Brown for signing this bill.”


Next time, in Volume II of California Pool Laws, we'll look at the golden state's efforts to conserve energy, followed up by efforts to conserve water in Volume III!



- Rob