As of January 1st, the updated version of the Swimming Pool Safety Act enacted into law by SB 442 went into effect in California. This new act increases the requirements for safety devices on residential pools and spas in California, and applies when a permit is issued for a new or remodeled swimming pool and spa, as well as existing pools that are part of the sale of a home. In order to clarify some of the questions surrounding this new law, we have put together a short primer of the most important things you’ll need to know.
Anyone who is pulling a permit to build or remodel a pool or spa in the state of California, and any pool that’s part of a home for sale.
While planning and designing a new pool, the builder will need to be aware of the new requirements for safety devices and discuss the options with the homeowner. While different building departments will likely handle the permitting and approval process differently, it is most likely that the safety devices will need to be present for the final inspection of the finished pool. Having a list of the permitted devices to give to homeowners will help them prepare for the inspection, and to ensure that their pool is fully compliant.
In order to reach older, existing pools instead of only new ones, SB 442 requires that whenever there is an inspection of a property in connection with the transfer of that property, the inspection must also include the swimming pool or spa. This inspection is to be a noninvasive on whether or not the pool or spa has been equipped with two of the seven required safety devices, and this information will be included in the home inspection report.
This does not mean that the home inspector will be inspecting the pool structure, equipment, plumbing, electrical, or any other critical areas best left to a specialist. Failure to meet the requirements for safety devices will also not interfere with the sale of the home in any way, as the report will simply inform potential buyers that their pool does not currently have the required safety devices. The law simply requires the inspector to disclose whether or not two safety devices exist and are operating.
As part a part of the update to the Swimming Pool Safety Act, SB 442 clarified that this law is effective throughout California. It also, however, specified that the standard of 2 safety devices is not to be exceeded by any municipality, meaning that pool builders can be certain of the law no matter where they are working.
This act will work to reduce the number of children who either lose their lives or are seriously injured by unintentional drowning in residential swimming pools. Drowning in any body of water is the second leading cause of death for children from ages 1-4, and while parental supervision is the best prevention, ensuring that all residential pools have adequate safety measures will help keep preventable tragedies from happening. Swimming pools are an essential part of a healthy, active lifestyle for many families, and by preventing drownings we can all work together to keep pools safe, open, and accessible.