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2018’s New Rules For Pool Safety

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New Rules For Pool Safety

Backyard Swimming Pool in Rancho Santa Fe

Backyard Swimming Pool in Rancho Santa Fe

Summer is winding down, but because of our warm weather here is San Diego, many home owners will continue to use their swimming pools and spas into the fall and even the winter season.  In January 2018, the state issued a new set of laws and regulations requiring home inspectors, when hired to perform a home inspection, to inspect a pool’s safety with an eye toward preventing child drownings.  The new rules require home inspectors to make sure to determine that there are at least 2 of 7 required safety features present and to report out on the findings.

The information below comes directly from a BPG Inspection Services Report, and is provided for information purposes only. Laws and regulations may be subject to revisions. You should consult with a pool safety expert, home inspector and your insurance company to examine your pool and/or to answer any specific questions you may have.

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“As of January 1st, 2018, California Senate Bill 442 requires that all home inspectors report what barrier safety features are provided for.  SB 442 calls for 2 of the 7 barrier safety systems be in place and functional.  All barrier safety systems are to conform to the performance standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

Here are the seven ( 7 ) barrier safety features, of which the seller is required to provide two of the seven:


The first barrier safety feature is referring to the gate access for the pool.


  1. Any access gates are to open away from the swimming pool/toward the front yard, and are to be self-closing and latching. The latching device is to be placed no lower than 54 inches above the ground.
  2. The gate is to be a minimum of a 60 inch high.
  3. A maximum vertical clearance from the ground to the bottom of the gate is 2 inches.
  4. Gaps or voids, if any, do not allow passage of a sphere equal to or greater than four inches in diameter.
  5. The outside surface of the gate is to be free of protrusions, cavities, or other physical characteristics that would serve as handholds or footholds that could enable a child below the age of five years to climb over.

The second barrier safety feature is:

A removable mesh fencing around the pool. It must be 48 inches high, not climbable, gate is to self close and latch and swing outward away from the pool. It is to have a latch locking device. The latch is to be no less than 54 inches from the ground. There is to be only a 1 inch clearance between the mesh and the surface.

The third barrier safety feature is:

An Approved Safety pool cover. This means a manually operated or power operated safety pool cover that meets all of the performance standards of (ASTM)

The fourth barrier safety feature is:

Exit alarms on all of the doors and windows that provide access to the swimming pool or spa. This alarm may be an audible alarm or a verbal warning. Such as a repeating notification that “ the door to the pool is open “

The fifth barrier safety feature is:

A self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54” above the floor on all of the doors providing access to the pool.

The sixth barrier safety feature is:

  1. An alarm that, when placed in a swimming pool or spa, will sound upon detection of accidental or unauthorized entrance in to the water. The alarm shall meet ASTM standards for residential alarms which include, surface motion, pressure, sonar, laser, and infrared type alarms.
  2. A swimming pool 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, This is not a qualifying safety alarm.

The seventh barrier safety feature is:

This is a catch all written in the law. They put this in if there is a needed safety feature that will be added and approved in the future.”

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If you have a swimming pool, are planning to install one, or are considering buying a home with a swimming pool or spa, be sure to ask your swimming pool company, a home inspector and your insurance company about these new safety rules.  There are pool inspectors who can be consulted as well.  If you need a home or pool inspector, we can supply some recommendations.

Enjoy your pool time – and please BE SAFE!

-Kevin & Diane