swimming pool safety act Los Angeles California

The Swimming Pool Safety Act SB 442 | 2018

marc mazza Home Inspection Leave a Comment

2018 | The Swimming Pool Safety Act SB 442 broken down

As of January 1, 2018, in an effort to bolster the current law which has been untouched for over 20 years and to amend Sections 115922 and 115925 of the Health and Safety Code, the Pool Safety Act or SB 442 was signed into law. Henceforth, how home inspectors inspecting home for sale, conduct their evaluation on homes which possess swimming pools, spas, hot tubs or ponds has forever changed.

The BPC defines the transfer of real estate in this manner;

(e) “Transfer” is a transfer by sale, exchange, installment land sales contract, as defined in Section 2985 of the Civil Code, lease with an option to purchase, any other option to purchase, or ground lease coupled with improvements, of real property or residential stock cooperative, improved with or consisting of not less than one nor more than four dwelling units.

California Pool Fence LawLos Angeles swimming pool barrier code

For many , this bill slipped right under most peoples radar perhaps except for the home inspectors who are members of specific California home inspection associations who keep their members apprised of the always changing home inspection landscape such as Creia for example.  

For those others home inspectors who may not belong to any associations or organizations likely have no idea that this law in fact, exists. Its safe to assume that these inspectors for all intent and purposes are likely breaking this law without even knowing it.

Not to mention, failing to protect the home buyer’s family or others who may wander onto the property. For home inspectors there is no learning period. As a matter of fact, the bill was passed and home inspectors are expected to know it and implement it into their inspection protocol immediately.

Getting Cozy With California Building Code

First thing we as home inspectors need to understand are the codes which make up the building standards by which this law was created. For the most part, there are many codes and standards in effect even within the Los Angeles County.

First of all we have the ICC codes which are the building codes both for residential and commercial. Secondly we have state laws which are more or less codes in and of themselves, such as the Health and Safety Code of California.

Local Code and Standards

In addition to the state laws and codes we have local codes and standards. For example, Los Angeles County Code of Ordinances and the COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS to name a couple. These make be local jurisdictionally controlled codes or standards but they may in fact supersede the state or even the nation building codes or standards.

After a close look at all of the building standards we see that they really are similar when compared to one another. For the most part, they all derive from the building code as stipulated by the International Code Council. California will then take the ICC codes and adopt them as their own.

Afterwhich, the local jurisdictions such as Los Angeles County will take the California building code and make it “fit” their requirements by adapting and then modifying the code. The local jurisdictions can change the code to make it more stringent however, they can never make it less stringent.


What types of bodies of water are covered under SB 442?

swimming pool safety los angeles

There’s much confusion as to what exactly constitutes a swimming pool, especially in the home inspection world. Let me clear that up for you. Here is how the Health and Safety Code defines a swimming pool.

Health and Safety Code 115921

“Swimming pool” or “pool” means any structure intended for swimming or recreational bathing that contains water over 18 inches deep. “Swimming pool” includes in-ground and aboveground structures and includes, but is not limited to, hot tubs, spas, portable spas, and nonportable wading pools.”

As a matter of fact, one could argue that even a pond, (HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE -115921) up to or over 18” of water can even become a hazard to small children. Not only is it common sense and i’m no lawyer, but i’d be willing to bet that in a court of law it wouldn’t be difficult to prove that this too can be a deadly hazard.  

Let’s look at this nugget of information here…  

Los Angeles County Code of Ordinances Title 11. Health And Safety Division 2. General Hazards Chapter 11.51. Barriers For Swimming Pools, Spas And Hot Tubs
11.50.010. Fence or other enclosure—Required when…

“Every person who shall own or be in possession of any premises on which there is situated a swimming pool, fish pond or other outside body of water created by artificial means, designed or used for swimming or other immersion purposes by men, women or children, any portion of which is two feet deep or more, and the surface area of the water in which does not exceed 10,000 square feet, shall erect and maintain on such lot or premises, and completely surrounding such body of water, lot or premises, a fence, wall or other structure, which fence, wall or other structure complies with the provisions of this chapter.”

2018 | The Need For Swimming Pool Protection and Changeswimming pool safety

The bill, SB 442, is intended to reduce the number of annual deaths and or near drownings here in California. The leading cause of hospitalization between the years 2010 – 2015 of children from ages 1 to 4 is asphyxiation caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain.

With every single drowning in this age group, five more will suffer irreversible, permanent brain injury from near drowning experiences.  Aside from having a significant impact on families both emotional and financial, there are costs associated with long term care imposed onto the state.

In light of these staggering statistics, we can obviously see the important of redefining the current law and make it even that much more stringent.

The reasoning behind the two safety devices as opposed to the one singular device is simple; the likelihood of one device failing is possible, but to have two devices fail simultaneously is obvious less likely, although possible as well.  Furthermore, the potential for having a device like the door alarms within the residence being placed into the “off” mode or being removed altogether is more likely than not. I see this all the time in the field.

A FEW TERMS and DEFINITIONS | International Swimming Pool and Spa Code

With every code or law there are a series of definitions which will attempt to clarity meanings of various components which make up the law, parts of the law or parts of the parts, within the law… whew.

“SHALL.”  The term, when used in the code, is construed as mandatory.

Swimming Pool

PUBLIC SWIMMING POOL (Public Pool).

A pool, other than a residential pool, that is intended to be used for swimming or bathing and is operated by an owner, lessee, operator, licensee, or concessionaire, regardless of whether a fee is charged for use. Public pools shall be further classified and defined as follows:

RESIDENTIAL SWIMMING POOL (Residential Pool).

A pool intended for use which is accessory to a residential setting and available only to the household and its guests. All other pools shall be considered public pools for purposes of this code.

RESIDENTIAL SWIMMING POOL TYPES IV.

Swimming pools suitable for the installation of diving equipment by type.

RESIDENTIAL SWIMMING POOL TYPE O.

A non diving residential pool.

Spa

A product intended for the immersion of persons in temperature-controlled water circulated in a closed system, and not intended to be drained and filled with each use. A spa usually includes a filter, a heater (electric, solar, or gas), a pump or pumps, and a control, and may also include other equipment, such as lights, blowers, and water-sanitizing equipment.

PERMANENT RESIDENTIAL SPA.

A spa, intended for use that is accessory to a residential setting and available to the household and its guests and where the water heating and water-circulating equipment is not an integral part of the product. The spa is intended as a permanent plumbing fixture and not intended to be moved.

PORTABLE RESIDENTIAL SPA.

A spa intended for use that is accessory to a residential setting and available to the household and its guests and where it is either self contained or non self-contained.

PUBLIC SPA.

A spa other than a permanent residential spa or portable residential spa which is intended to be used for bathing and is operated by an owner, licensee, concessionaire, regardless of whether a fee is charged for use.

SELF-CONTAINED SPA.

A factory-built spa in which all control, water heating and water-circulating equipment is an integral part of the product. Self-contained spas may be permanently wired or cord connected.

NON SELF-CONTAINED SPA.

A factory-built spa in which the water heating and circulating equipment is not an integral part of the product. Non self-contained spas may employ separate components such as an individual filter, pump, heater and controls, or they may employ assembled combinations of various components.

Studio city home inspectionThe Home Inspectors Role

The bill specifically address the requirement that during the sale of real property or transfer of real property. For this, we’ll need to switch gears and head over to the California Business and Professions Code 7195-7199 which states very clearly in freshly amended fashion.

Los Angeles home inspectors are generalists as described in the BPC 7195 code.  As a generalist and not a specialist, as described in the BPC 7195, (a) (1) “Home inspection” is a noninvasive, physical examination, performed for a fee in connection with a transfer, as defined in subdivision (e), of real property, of the mechanical, electrical, or plumbing systems or the structural and essential components of a residential dwelling… the home inspector can thus visually inspect the building without having to perform any special tests or inspect without specialized training. And for those of you who may be wondering about the “little things” within a home… the BPC 7195 (b)  address those as well; “Style or aesthetics shall not be considered in determining whether a system, structure, or component is defective”. So essentially, if your wondering whether or not the wall paper peeling is “no big deal”, of course, it may not be addressed in your inspection.

Which brings up a great point. In many cases, for me, as a home inspector and also a moisture intrusion expert, there are instances where esthetic concerns crossover and are in fact directly related to other more serious conditions. For example I may find moisture stains on the baseboard of a wall, but to determine the root cause, moisture intrusion testing or  / and experience is necessary for a definitive answer. So essentially, it comes down to the inspectors knowledge and experience of all things that is “construction related”. IMO.

It’s worth mentioning that the role of the home inspector is a generalist (BPC code 7195) and the inspection is essentially non invasive. Read our blog post on how we break down the BPC code 7195.

What is a California Home Inspector?

BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE – BPC

DIVISION 3. PROFESSIONS AND VOCATIONS GENERALLY [5000 – 9998.11]

CHAPTER 9.3. Home Inspectors [7195 – 7199]

7195. 

For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:

(a) (1) “Home inspection” is a noninvasive, physical examination, performed for a fee in connection with a transfer, as defined in subdivision (e), of real property, of the mechanical, electrical, or plumbing systems or the structural and essential components of a residential dwelling of one to four units designed to identify material defects in those systems, structures, and components. “Home inspection” includes any consultation regarding the property that is represented to be a home inspection or any confusingly similar term.

(2) In connection with the transfer, as defined in subdivision (e), of real property with a swimming pool or spa, an appropriate inspection shall include a noninvasive physical examination of the pool or spa and dwelling for the purpose of identifying 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.

(3) “Home inspection,” if requested by the client, may include an inspection of energy efficiency. Energy efficiency items to be inspected may include the following:

(A) A noninvasive inspection of insulation R-values in attics, roofs, walls, floors, and ducts.

(B) The number of window glass panes and frame types.

(C) The heating and cooling equipment and water heating systems.

(D) The age and fuel type of major appliances.

(E) The exhaust and cooling fans.

(F) The type of thermostat and other systems.

(G) The general integrity and potential leakage areas of walls, window areas, doors, and duct systems.

(H) The solar control efficiency of existing windows.

(b) A “material defect” is a condition that significantly affects the value, desirability, habitability, or safety of the dwelling. Style or aesthetics shall not be considered in determining whether a system, structure, or component is defective.

(c) A “home inspection report” is a written report prepared for a fee and issued after a home inspection. The report clearly describes and identifies the inspected systems, structures, or components of the dwelling, any material defects identified, and any recommendations regarding the conditions observed or recommendations for evaluation by appropriate persons. 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.

(d) A “home inspector” is any individual who performs a home inspection.

(e) “Transfer” is a transfer by sale, exchange, installment land sales contract, as defined in Section 2985 of the Civil Code, lease with an option to purchase, any other option to purchase, or ground lease coupled with improvements, of real property or residential stock cooperative, improved with or consisting of not less than one nor more than four dwelling units.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 670, Sec. 3. (SB 442) Effective January 1, 2018.)

7196.

It is the duty of a home inspector who is not licensed as a general contractor, structural pest control operator, or architect, or registered as a professional engineer to conduct a home inspection with the degree of care that a reasonably prudent home inspector would exercise.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 338, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1997.)

7196.1.  

(a) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to allow home inspectors who are not registered engineers to perform any analysis of the systems, components, or structural integrity of a dwelling that would constitute the practice of civil, electrical, or mechanical engineering, or to exempt a home inspector from Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 5500), Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 6700), Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 7000), or Chapter 14 (commencing with Section 8500) of Division 3.

(b) This chapter does not apply to a registered engineer, licensed land surveyor, or licensed architect acting pursuant to his or her professional registration or license, nor does it affect the obligations of a real estate licensee or transferor under Article 1.5 (commencing with Section 1102) of Chapter 2 of Title 4 of Part 3 of Division 2 of, or Article 2 (commencing with Section 2079) of Chapter 3 of Title 6 of Part 4 of Division 3 of, the Civil Code.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 338, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1997.)

7197.

(a) It is an unfair business practice for a home inspector, a company that employs the inspector, or a company that is controlled by a company that also has a financial interest in a company employing a home inspector, to do any of the following:

(1) To perform or offer to perform, for an additional fee, any repairs to a structure on which the inspector, or the inspector’s company, has prepared a home inspection report in the past 12 months.

(2) Inspect for a fee any property in which the inspector, or the inspector’s company, has any financial interest or any interest in the transfer of the property.

(3) To offer or deliver any compensation, inducement, or reward to the owner of the inspected property, the broker, or agent, for the referral of any business to the inspector or the inspection company.

(4) Accept an engagement to make an inspection or to prepare a report in which the employment itself or the fee payable for the inspection is contingent upon the conclusions in the report, pre established findings, or the close of escrow.

(b) A home protection company that is affiliated with or that retains the home inspector does not violate this section if it performs repairs pursuant to claims made under the home protection contract.

(c) This section shall not affect the ability of a structural pest control operator to perform repairs pursuant to Section 8505 as a result of a structural pest control inspection.

(d) Paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) shall not affect the ability of a roofing contractor who holds a C-39 license, as defined in Section 832.39 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations, to perform repairs pursuant to the contractor’s inspection of a roof for the specific purpose of providing a roof certification if all of the following conditions are met:

(1) Different employees perform the home inspection and the roof inspection.

(2) The roof inspection is ordered prior to, or at the same time as, the home inspection, or the roof inspection is completed before the commencement of the home inspection.

(3) The consumer is provided a consumer disclosure before he or she authorizes the home inspection that includes all of the following:

(A) The same company that performs the roof inspection and roof repairs will perform the home inspection on the same property.

(B) Any repairs that are authorized by the consumer are for the repairs identified in the roofing contractor’s roof inspection report and no repairs identified in the home inspection are authorized or allowed as specified in the roof inspection.

(C) The consumer has the right to seek a second opinion.

(4) For purposes of this subdivision, “roof certification” means a written statement by a licensed C-39 Roofing Contractor who has performed a roof inspection, made any necessary repairs, and warrants that the roof is free of leaks at the time that the certification is issued and should perform as designed for the specified term of the certification.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 508, Sec. 1. (AB 1357) Effective January 1, 2018.)

7198.

Contractual provisions that purport to waive the duty owed pursuant to Section 7196, or limit the liability of the home inspector to the cost of the home inspection report, are contrary to public policy and invalid.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 338, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1997.)

7199.

The time for commencement of a legal action for breach of duty arising from a home inspection report shall not exceed four years from the date of the inspection.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 338, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1997.)

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE – HSC

ARTICLE 2.5. The Swimming Pool Safety Act [115920 – 115929]
115920.

This act shall be known and may be cited as the Swimming Pool Safety Act.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 925, Sec. 3.5. Effective January 1, 1997.)

115921.

As used in this article the following terms have the following meanings:

As used in this article the following terms have the following meanings:

(a) “Swimming pool” or “pool”

Any structure intended for swimming or recreational bathing that contains water over 18 inches deep. “Swimming pool” includes in-ground and aboveground structures and includes, but is not limited to, hot tubs, spas, portable spas, and nonportable wading pools.

(b) “Public swimming pool

Means a swimming pool operated for the use of the general public with or without charge, or for the use of the members and guests of a private club. Public swimming pool does not include a swimming pool located on the grounds of a private single-family home.

(c) “Enclosure”

A fence, wall, or other barrier that isolates a swimming pool from access to the home.

(d) “Approved pool safety cover

Manually or power-operated safety pool cover that meets all of the performance standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), in compliance with standard F1346-91.

(e) “Exit alarms

A devices that make audible, continuous alarm sounds when any door or window, that permits access from the residence to the pool area that is without any intervening enclosure, is opened or is left ajar. Exit alarms may be battery operated or may be connected to the electrical wiring of the building.

(f) “ANSI/APSP performance standard

A standard that is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and published by the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP).

(g) “Suction outlet” means a fitting or fixture typically located at the bottom or on the sides of a swimming pool that conducts water to a recirculating pump.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 679, Sec. 1. (AB 2114) Effective January 1, 2013.)

115922.

(a) Except as provided in Section 115925, 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:

(b) Before the issuance of a final approval for the completion of permitted 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.

(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).

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 670, Sec. 4. (SB 442) Effective January 1, 2018.)

115923.

An enclosure shall have all of the following characteristics:santa clarita pool barrier code

An enclosure shall have all of the following characteristics:

(a)  Any access gates through the enclosure open away from the swimming pool, and are self-closing with a self-latching device placed no lower than 60 inches above the ground.

(b)  A minimum height of 60 inches.

(c)  A maximum vertical clearance from the ground to the bottom of the enclosure of two inches.

(d)  Gaps or voids, if any, do not allow passage of a sphere equal to or greater than four inches in diameter.

(e)  An outside surface 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.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 925, Sec. 3.5. Effective January 1, 1997.)

115924.

(a) Any person entering into an agreement to build a swimming pool or spa, or to engage in permitted work on a pool or spa covered by this article, shall give the consumer notice of the requirements of this article.

(a) Any person entering into an agreement to build a swimming pool or spa, or to engage in permitted work on a pool or spa covered by this article, shall give the consumer notice of the requirements of this article.

(b) Pursuant to existing law, the Department of Health Services shall have available on the department’s Web site, commencing January 1, 2007, approved pool safety information available for consumers to download. Pool contractors are encouraged to share this information with consumers regarding the potential dangers a pool or spa poses to toddlers. Additionally, pool contractors may provide the consumer with swimming pool safety materials produced from organizations such as the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, Drowning Prevention Foundation, California Coalition for Children’s Safety & Health, Safe Kids Worldwide, Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, or the American Academy of Pediatrics.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 478, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2007.)

115925.

The requirements of this article DO NOT apply to any of the following:

(a) Public swimming pools.

(b) Hot tubs or spas with locking safety covers that comply with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM F1346).

(c) An apartment complex, or any residential setting other than a single-family home.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 670, Sec. 5. (SB 442) Effective January 1, 2018.)

115926.

This article does not apply to any facility regulated by the State Department of Social Services even if the facility is also used as the private residence of the operator. Pool safety in those facilities shall be regulated pursuant to regulations adopted therefore by the State Department of Social Services.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 925, Sec. 3.5. Effective January 1, 1997.)

115927.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, this article shall not be subject to further modification or interpretation by any regulatory agency of the state, this authority being reserved exclusively to local jurisdictions, as provided for in subdivision (e) of Section 115922 and subdivision (c) of Section 115924.

(Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 925, Sec. 3.5. Effective January 1, 1997.)

115928. 

Whenever a building permit is issued for the construction of a new swimming pool or spa, the pool or spa shall meet all of the following requirements:

(a) (1) The suction outlets of the pool or spa for which the permit is issued shall be equipped to provide circulation throughout the pool or spa as prescribed in paragraphs (2) and (3).

(2) The swimming pool or spa shall either have at least two circulation suction outlets per pump that shall be hydraulically balanced and symmetrically plumbed through one or more “T” fittings, and that are separated by a distance of at least three feet in any dimension between the suction outlets, or be designed to use alternatives to suction outlets, including, but not limited to, skimmers or perimeter overflow systems to conduct water to the recirculation pump.

(3) The circulation system shall have the capacity to provide a complete turnover of pool water, as specified in Section 3124B of Chapter 31B of the California Building Standards Code (Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations).

(b) Suction outlets shall be covered with anti-entrapment grates, as specified in the ANSI/APSP-16 performance standard or successor standard designated by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, that cannot be removed except with the use of tools. Slots or openings in the grates or similar protective devices shall be of a shape, area, and arrangement that would prevent physical entrapment and would not pose any suction hazard to bathers.

(c) Any backup safety system that an owner of a new swimming pool or spa may choose to install in addition to the requirements set forth in subdivisions (a) and (b) shall meet the standards as published in the document, “Guidelines for Entrapment Hazards: Making Pools and Spas Safer,” Publication Number 363, March 2005, United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 679, Sec. 2. (AB 2114) Effective January 1, 2013.)

115928.5.

Whenever a building permit is issued for the remodel or modification of an existing swimming pool, toddler pool, or spa, the permit shall require that the suction outlet or suction outlets of the existing swimming pool, toddler pool, or spa be upgraded so as to be equipped with anti-entrapment grates, as specified in the ANSI/APSP-16 performance standard or a successor standard designated by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 679, Sec. 3. (AB 2114) Effective January 1, 2013.)

115929. 

(a)  The Legislature encourages a private entity, in consultation with the Epidemiology and Prevention for Injury Control Branch of the department, to produce an informative brochure or booklet, for consumer use, explaining the child drowning hazards of, possible safety measures for, and appropriate drowning hazard prevention measures for, home swimming pools and spas, and to donate the document to the department.

(b)  The Legislature encourages the private entity to use existing documents from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission on pool safety.

(c)  If a private entity produces the document described in subdivisions (a) and (b) and donates it to the department, the department shall review and approve the brochure or booklet.

(d)  Upon approval of the document by the department, the document shall become the property of the state and a part of the public domain. The department shall place the document on its Web site in a format that is readily available for downloading and for publication. The department shall review the document in a timely and prudent fashion and shall complete the review within 18 months of receipt of the document from a private entity.

(Added by Stats. 2003, Ch. 422, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2004.)

The bill SB 442

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE – HSC

ARTICLE 2.5. The Swimming Pool Safety Act [115920 – 115929]

(a) Except as provided in Section 115925, 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) 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 F 2286 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).

Los Angeles Swimming Pool Barrier Protection Flaws

On its face, the bill appears to cover the most important aspects of child safety, however, it is not without in my opinion flaws.

The one serious flaw this law has in my opinion is the fact that there are no requirements to cure. In other words, once a home inspector discovers that there are fewer than 2 of the 7 types of safety features during his / her inspection, there is nothing which requires the home to be improved. Thus, leaving the issue to be worked out between the buying and selling parties. And in some cases, this may never take place. How does this help you ask? It will not.

This bill does not address perimeter fencing

Another concern we have is that the bill does not address perimeter fencing. This is boundary fencing or property line fencing which separates the adjacent yards from the swimming pool area. It does address, however, gates. Are you kidding me? I understand that there is a requirement for a barrier which isolates the swimming pool, but out of sheer common sense one would imagine that a boundary fence would have made it onto this bill.

One more item we feel was left out of this law is the need for window alarms. Despite the law requiring alarms on all doors leading to the pool area it does not in fact include windows which may be left open.

The majority of every standard for the state of California or locally, Los Angeles, has some talk of perimeter barrier fencing. The standards for perimeter fencing are stiff as they should be, and there are many, trust me. These barrier fencing codes will get down to the nitty gritty and will explain exactly how a fence should be constructed to help in reducing fatalities associated with swimming pools within California and even here in Los Angeles.

Stevenson ranch home inspectorsCity Of Santa Clarita’s Pool Barrier and Enclosure Policy

The difference between a barrier and an Enclosure in the city of Santa Clarita can be found here. Or, you can read out explanation of this policy here.

“Whenever a building permit is issued for construction of a new swimming pool, spa, or hot tub, or for the remodel of an existing pool, spa, or hot tub at a private, single-family home, it shall be equipped with both an approved BARRIER to provide protection to neighboring properties and the public way, as well as an approved ENCLOSURE to provide protection to the occupants of the home. It is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain these safety features.”

City of Santa Clarita’s definition of barriers and enclosures.

Barrier Fencing: Provide a barrier between the pool and all adjacent properties and the public way to meet the specifications shown in the Barrier Fence Diagram…”

Enclosure Fencing: The pool shall be isolated from access to the home by an approved fence or wall that meets all the requirements for a pool barrier with the exception the fence height to be 60 inches min. and the release mechanisms placed 60 inches min. above the ground; or… “

You can read more about Santa Clarita’s requirements for swimming pools here.

HOW CODES AND STANDARDS DIFFER FROM ONE ANOTHER

I find it interesting how many different variations of the same code or law may exists within a city, county or even the state. Essentially all standards and codes say similar things as most of these standards derive from the same International Building code (ICC). Some as previously mentioned adapt a building code and make it their own by “stiffening up” the requirements.

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE – HSC

ARTICLE 2.5. The Swimming Pool Safety Act [115920 – 115929]
115921.  “Swimming pool” or “pool” means any structure intended for swimming or recreational bathing that contains water over 18 inches deep. “Swimming pool” includes in-ground and aboveground structures and includes, but is not limited to, hot tubs, spas, portable spas, and non portable wading pools.

 

Los Angeles County Code of Ordinances Title 11. Health And Safety Division 2. General Hazards Chapter 11.51. Barriers For Swimming Pools, Spas And Hot Tubs

  • 11.51.010. Definitions:

“Every person who shall own or be in possession of any premises on which there is situated a swimming pool, fish pond or other outside body of water created by artificial means, designed or used for swimming or other immersion purposes by men, women or children, any portion of which is two feet deep or more, and the surface area of the water in which does not exceed 10,000 square feet, shall erect and maintain on such lot or premises, and completely surrounding such body of water, lot or premises, a fence, wall or other structure, which fence, wall or other structure…”

And more from the same standard…
  • 11.51.020. Definitions:

“Swimming pool” is any structure intended for swimming or recreational bathing that contains water over 24 inches (610 mm) deep. This includes inground, above-ground and on-ground swimming and fixed-in-place wading pools.

As you can see, these are two standards essentially address the same topic. Although they both describe and acknowledge a body of water, they do it in similar but not identical ways. In the end, however, they will both arrive to similar conclusions with variations.

OKAY… LET’S BREAK SB 442 DOWN

So what we’d like to do here in this section is hopefully provide an understanding of the different versions of the same standard from various sources. Many of which will in some manner, address the same topic with subtle variations. Furthermore, we will in our words, describe what a home inspector may want to inspect, with every point of the bill SB 442.

(1) ENCLOSURE

An enclosure that meets the requirements of Section 115923

SB 442 (1) An enclosure that meets the requirements of Section 115923 and isolates the swimming pool or spa from the private single-family home.

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE – HSC

ARTICLE 2.5. The Swimming Pool Safety Act [115920 – 115929]

(1) An enclosure that meets the requirements of Section 115923 and isolates the swimming pool or spa from the private single-family home.

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE DEFINITION:

“ENCLOSURE” means a fence, wall or other barrier that isolates a swimming pool from access to the home.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY CODE DEFINITION:

“Barrier” is a fence, wall, building wall, or a combination thereof, which completely surrounds the swimming pool and obstructs access to the swimming pool. “Dwelling unit” shall have the same meaning as that term is defined in Title 26 (Building Code) of the Los Angeles County Code.

All doors or gates shall be of such size as to completely fill any opening in the fence or wall. The owner or person in possession of the premises on which such swimming pool exists shall keep such doors and gates closed and securely latched at all times when such swimming pool is not in use.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY CODE § 11.50.010.

Baby Fence, Fence or other enclosure—Required when…  

“Every person who shall own or be in possession of any premises on which there is situated a swimming pool, fish pond or other outside body of water created by artificial means, designed or used for swimming or other immersion purposes by men, women or children, any portion of which is two feet deep or more, and the surface area of the water in which does not exceed 10,000 square feet, shall erect and maintain on such lot or premises, and completely surrounding such body of water, lot or premises, a fence, wall or other structure, which fence, wall or other structure complies with the provisions of this chapter.”

CALIFORNIA BUILDING CODE SECTION :

Residential swimming pools shall be completely enclosed by a barrier complying with Sections 3109.4.1 through 3109.4.3.

2017 CALIFORNIA RESIDENTIAL CODE AV100.1

ENCLOSURE means a fence, wall or other barrier that isolates a swimming pool from access to the home.  AV100.3 The pool shall be isolated from access to a home by an enclosure that meets the requirements of Section

AV100.2(1) The pool shall be isolated from access to a home by an enclosure that meets the requirements of Section AV100.3.

International Swimming Pool and Spa Code

International Swimming Pool and Spa Code Section 305 | Barrier Requirements

“BARRIER” A permanent fence, wall, building wall, or combination thereof that completely surrounds the aquatic vessel and obstructs the access to the vessel. Permanent shall mean “not being able to be removed, lifted, or relocated without the use of a tool.

305.1 General.

The provisions of this section shall apply to the design of barriers for aquatic vessels. These design controls are intended to provide protection against the potential drowning and near drowning by restricting access to such vessels. These requirements provide an integrated level of protection against potential drowning through the use of physical barriers and warning devices.

Exceptions:

  1. Spas and hot tubs with a lockable safety cover that complies with ASTM F 1346.
  2. Swimming pools with a powered safety cover that complies with ASTM F 1346.

los angeles home inspectors

HOME INSPECTORS ROLE:

Based on the intent of section HSC 115922-3, gates are what’s being described here and not perimeter fencing. Although you may think of barrier as “everything above” including perimeter fencing, this is not the case with SB 442.

The home inspectors role as a “generalist” and not a specialists is to conduct a visual inspection of the gates to ensure that they self close AND latch.

  • When I test gates it’s always from a 12” opening. Why is this? I do this because small children will likely only open the gate to 12” and 12” is more than enough for a small child to crawl through.
  • The gate should open outward.
  • The gate should be no less than 60” in height.
  • There should be no less than 2” between the ground to the gate.
  • The gate should have openings no greater than 4”.
  • There should be no way to climb on the gate. This includes openings, protrusions from the gate material or footholds which a child under 5 years of age could crawl over.

We feel it prudent to add to this list. Although not on the list of SB 442’s requirements, still these Los Angeles County requirements should be at least taken into consideration during home inspections.

According to the California Building Code
  • In accordance with the California Building Code Volume 2, the release mechanism of the self-latching device is not to be located less than 54 inches from the bottom of the door or gate, and the release mechanism shall be located on the pool side of the door or gate at least 3 inches below the top of the door or gate. The door or gate and barrier shall have no opening greater than 1/2 inch within 18 inches of the release mechanism.
According to the Building code Manual – County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works Building and Safety

Here’s a couple of gate types or doors which every Los Angeles home inspector should be aware of during the course of a home inspection. Even though these standards do not meet the requirements of the SB 442 bill, we still feel them to be important enough of a safety concern to add them here.

  • Home access gates shall be self-closing and self-latching.
  • Pedestrian gates shall open or swing away from the pool
  • Man doors through the garage
  • Doors from the home to the pool yard
  • The release mechanism of the self-latching device shall not be located less than 60 inches from the bottom of the gate. (This is different from the bill itself at 54″).

 

The following doors and gates are prohibited as part of the pool enclosure due to intrinsic problems with self-closing or self-latching devices:

  • Double doors or pairs of gates.
  • Doors or gates wider than 4 feet.
  • Driveway gates.
  • Overhead garage doors.

Remember, it’s the job of the home inspector to protect the client. Although these prohibited standards are local standards and not the words of the SB 442 bill, they still however, require attention would you agree?

(2) Removable Mesh Fencing

SB 442 (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.

The ASTM F2286 standards, which sets the standard by which the mesh fencing is to be tested requires that the fencing be tested every 5 feet under a specific vertical load to ensure the fence doesn’t collapse under force.

In addition to that test there is also an impact test. This test will test whether or not the interior of the fence can withstand a lateral impact of 50 + pounds and is also tested at every 5 feet of the mesh fencing. Afterwhich, the fence is inspected for damage as a result of the tests and that the latch remained engaged.

2017 CALIFORNIA RESIDENTIAL CODE AV100.1(2)  The pool shall incorporate removable mesh pool 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.

HOME INSPECTORS ROLE:

Mesh fending is a removable fence barrier which is an acceptable method of safety against drowning according to the new bill. That said, it is worth noting that the fence is not without flaws. What flaws do you ask? Well the most obvious is the fact that fence is “removable” for starters. Secondly, the fence depending on the fabric may over long periods of time wear, deteriorate or otherwise succumb to the elements.

This condition in and of itself may adversely affect the fences ability to withstand the testing it was designed to resist when manufactured. Personally, I have been able on a number of inspections, push a finger through an old mesh barrier.

As home inspectors it’s not our job to predict the future failure of a product such as this. Although we may make mention based on personal or professional experiences, we are to note the current conditions of mesh barriers.

In accordance with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

  • Mesh fences should be a minimum of 48” in height.
  • The distance between vertical support poles should be designed to hinder a child’s ability to climb the fence.
  • The removable vertical support posts should extend a minimum of 3 inches below grade.
  • The support posts should be spaced no greater than 40 inches apart.
  • The bottom of the mesh barrier should not be more than 1 inch above the deck or installed surface.
  • Gates should open out from the pool and should be self-closing and self-latching.
  • When the release mechanism of the self-latching device on the gate is less than 54 inches from the bottom of the gate, the release mechanism for the gate should be at least 3 inches below the top of the gate on the side facing the pool.
  • The gate and barrier should have no opening greater than 1/2 inch within 18 inches of the latch release mechanism.

(3) An approved Safety Pool Cover

As defined in subdivision (d) of Section 115921.

SB 442 (3) An approved safety pool cover, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 115921.

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE – HSC

ARTICLE 2.5. The Swimming Pool Safety Act [115920 – 115929]

(3) An approved safety pool cover, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 115921.

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE DEFINITION:

“Approved safety pool cover” means a manually or power-operated safety pool cover that meets all of the performance standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), in compliance with standard F1346-91.

2017 CALIFORNIA RESIDENTIAL CODE AV100.1  

APPROVED SAFETY POOL COVER means a manually or power-operated safety pool cover that meets all of the performance standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), in compliance with Standard F1346-91.  AV100.2(3) The pool shall be equipped with an approved safety pool cover that meets all requirements of ASTM Specifications F1346.

Definitions according to the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code

  • COVER. A device that covers, protects, or spa, or hot tub. See safety cover.
  • SAFETY COVER.  A barrier intended to be completely removed before entry of users for swimming pools, spas, hot tubs or wading pools, attendant appurtenances and/or anchoring mechanisms that will, when properly labeled, installed, used, and maintained in accordance with the manufacturers published instructions. These covers are either a power or manual type.
  • POWER SAFETY COVER.  A pool cover that is placed over the water area, and is opened and closed with a motorized mechanism activated by a control switch.

Approved spa or pool covers must undergo a rigorous testing in accordance with American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), in compliance with standard F1346-91.

Some of the ASTM requirement include but not limited to;

  • A static load test which supports up to 485 pounds.
  • The cover is designed so that a child cannot gain access through the side of the cover between the pool or spa and the cover.
  • ASTMs drainage test requires the cover be able to drain water from the covers top and keep it from collecting on the surface.

HOME INSPECTORS ROLE:  

Most all home inspectors do not have the ASTM, in compliance with standard F1346-91. So how then do home inspectors inspect a pool or spa cover without possessing this document?  

Well, the easy answer is to go out and buy this standard and inspect by this standard. That said, however, I think based on the BPC 7195 code, inspecting to this standard as a “generalist” may in fact be going too far. We break down this law here.

  • Is there an adequate locking mechanism which prevents removing or operating a cover?
  • Are there any openings within the cover and the pool or spa body which a child may pass through?
  • Does the cover hold water?
  • Verify whether or not the cover possess a label from ASTM Specification F1346

(4) Exit alarms

Exit alarms on the private single-family home doors

SB 442 (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.”

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE – HSC

ARTICLE 2.5. The Swimming Pool Safety Act [115920 – 115929]

(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.”

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE DEFINITION:

115921 (e) “Exit alarms” means devices that make audible, continuous alarm sounds when any door or window, that permits access from the residence to the pool area that is without any intervening enclosure, is opened or is left ajar. Exit alarms may be battery operated or may be connected to the electrical wiring of the building.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY CODE DEFINITION:

11.51.030.  An alarm installed on all doors with direct access to the pool. The alarm shall sound continuously for a minimum of 30 seconds within seven seconds after the door and its screen, if present, are opened, and be capable of providing a sound pressure level of not less than 85 dBA when measured indoors at 10 feet (3048 mm).

The pool alarm shall automatically reset under all conditions. The alarm system shall be equipped with a manual means, such as a touchpad or switch, to temporarily deactivate the alarm for a single opening. Such deactivation shall last no longer than 15 seconds. The deactivation switch shall be located at least 54 inches (1372 mm) above the threshold of the door.

2017 CALIFORNIA RESIDENTIAL CODE: AV100.1

Exit alarms means devices that make audible, continuous alarm sounds when any door or window that permits access from the residence to the pool area, that is without any intervening enclosure, is opened or is left ajar. Exit alarms may be battery operated or may be connected to the electrical wiring of the building.The residence shall be equipped with exit alarms on those doors providing direct access to the pool. AV100.2(4)  The residence shall be equipped with exit alarms on those doors providing direct access to the pool.

HOME INSPECTORS ROLE:

It should be noted that the Health and Safety Code as mentioned above speaks of alarms that work on “(every) any door or window” that permits access to a pool area, however, the SB 442 law does not.

In light of this, I suggest the home inspector look for alarms which are required on all doors and windows throughout the home.

(5) Self-closing, self-latching devices on the private single-family home doors

SB 442 (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.

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE – HSC

ARTICLE 2.5. The Swimming Pool Safety Act [115920 – 115929]

(5) A Self-Closing, Self-Latching Door Device

A self closing and latching door 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.

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE DEFINITION:

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.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY CODE DEFINITION:11.50.100.

Gates and doors—Self-closing devices required.  All gates or doors opening through the fence or structure protecting a swimming pool, as required by this chapter, shall be equipped with self-closing and self-latching devices not less than four feet above grade, capable of keeping such gate or door securely closed at all times when not in actual use.

2017 CALIFORNIA RESIDENTIAL CODE: AV100.2(5)

All doors providing direct access from the home to the swimming pool shall be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches (1372 mm) above the floor.

HOME INSPECTORS ROLE:

As home inspectors we should check that all doors which allow access into the area where a swimming pool is located. These doors should possess a self closing and self latching device with a release mechanism located no less than 54” from the floor.

(6) Other Alarms

SB 442 (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.

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE – HSC

ARTICLE 2.5. The Swimming Pool Safety Act [115920 – 115929]

(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.

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE DEFINITION:

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.

2017 CALIFORNIA RESIDENTIAL CODE: AV100.2(6)

Swimming pool alarms that, when placed in pools, will sound upon detection of accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water. These pool alarms shall meet and be independently certified to the ASTM Standard F2208 “Standards Specification for Pool Alarms,” which includes surface motion, pressure, sonar, laser and infrared type alarms. For purposes of this article, “swimming pool alarms” shall not include swimming protection alarm devices designed for individual use, such as an alarm attached to a child that sounds when the child exceeds a certain distance or becomes submerged in water.

HOME INSPECTORS ROLE:

As home inspectors inspecting all of the various pool alarms whether they be a surface alarm present, subsurface alarm or perimeter alarm. With the many different pool alarms comes a need to:

  • Test all of or any of these pool alarms
  • verify their operation according to the ASTM Standard F2208.

There are many different limitation as inspectors we are faced with when testing systems such as this. When faced with such limitations home inspectors should always move to suggest the seller of the home provide proof that the system operates in accordance with the manufacturer’s and ASTM specifications.

(7) Other means of protection

SB 442 (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)

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE – HSC

ARTICLE 2.5. The Swimming Pool Safety Act [115920 – 115929]

(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).

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE DEFINITION:

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).

(b) Before the issuance of a final approval for the completion of permitted 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. (Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 670, Sec. 4. (SB 442) Effective January 1, 2018.)

2017 CALIFORNIA RESIDENTIAL CODE: AV100.2(7)  

Other means of protection, if the degree of protection afforded is equal to or greater than that afforded by any of the devices set forth in Items 1–4, and have been independently verified by an approved testing laboratory as meeting standards for those devices established by the ASTM or the American Society of Testing Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

HOME INSPECTORS ROLE:

As a home inspector you should look for other means of protection against drownings. The protections can come in multiple forms different than what was mentioned above, however, these other forms of protection must exceed the minimum requirements and standards set forth in SB 442.

Violation deemed misdemeanor

LOS ANGELES COUNTY CODE

11.50.130.   Any person owning, maintaining, operating or in possession of a pond or pool, as defined in this chapter, and who is in violation of this Division 2, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and may be arrested and taken immediately before the magistrate by the sheriff or released after giving his written promise to appear before the magistrate as provided in Ordinance 6723.

What About Swimming pools in Adjacent Yards?

In the event that you may be asking yourself… “what about pools located in adjacent yards”? Well, we too asked that question after reading SB 442.

There is a need for home inspectors to go the extra distance to locate concerns which may cause injury to the client or others and comment on this. Swimming pools in adjacent yards should be no exception.

When a new pool is constructed, the home where the pool is located must conform to the building codes, the local state ordinances and SB 442. Home inspectors are in my opinion obligated to comment on the fact that there may be fencing on the side of the home where a home inspection is being conducted, that is short or non conforming. What does this look like?

  • The barrier is too short on the subject property’s side
  • Chain link that is non conforming, is installed as a barrier
  • A foothold is located against or on the barrier which either decreases the overall height of the pool barrier or allows for an easily climbable surface
  • Abuting walls or objects may also decrease the barriers overall height

In many cases, when certain cities or counties adopt the International Building Code they can makes changes or add to the standards. As previously mentioned, these entities can make the code stronger but never weaker.  After reading through some of these standards you will notice similarities between them all.

Los Angeles County Code of Ordinances Title 11. Health And Safety
Division 2. General Hazards Chapter 11.51. Barriers For Swimming Pools, Spas And Hot Tubs §11.51.030
Outdoor Swimming Pool.
An outdoor swimming pool shall be provided with a barrier that shall be installed, and inspected and approved by the building official prior to plastering or filling with water.

The barrier shall comply with the following:

  1. The top of the barrier shall be at least 60 inches (1524 mm) above grade measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool.

EXCEPTION: Separation Fences (as defined herein) shall be at least 48 inches (1219 mm) above grade measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool.

  1. The maximum vertical clearance between grade and the bottom of the barrier shall be 2 inches (51 mm) measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool. The maximum vertical clearance at the bottom of the barrier may be increased to 4 inches (102 mm) when grade is a solid surface such as a concrete deck, or when the barrier is mounted on the top of the above-ground pool structure. When barriers have horizontal members spaced less than 45 inches (1143 mm) apart, the horizontal members shall be placed on the pool side of the barrier. Any decorative design work on the side away from the swimming pool, such as protrusions, indentations or cutouts, which render the barrier easily climbable, is prohibited.
Openings in the barrier 
  1. Openings in the barrier shall not allow passage of a 1-3/4 inch diameter (44 mm) sphere.

EXCEPTIONS:

  1. When vertical spacing between such openings is 45 inches (1143 mm) or more, the opening size may be increased such that the passage of a 4-inch-diameter (102 mm) sphere is not allowed.
  2. For fencing composed of vertical and horizontal members, the spacing between vertical members may be increased up to 4 inches (102 mm) when the distance between the tops of horizontal members is 45 inches (1143 mm) or more.
Chain link fences

Chainlink fences used as the barrier shall not be less than 11 gage. We feel it prudent to note that the local Los Angeles County has a few standards of their own for chain link fencing as a pool barrier.

Pedestrian walkway access gates

Pedestrian access gates shall comply with the requirements of Items 1 through Pedestrian walkway access gates shall be self-closing and have a self-latching device. Where the release mechanism of the self-latching device is located less than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the bottom of the gate, (a) the release mechanism shall be located on the pool side of the barrier at least 3 inches (76 mm) below the top of the gate, and (b) the gate and barrier shall have no opening greater than 1/2 inch (13 mm) within 18 inches (457 mm) of the release mechanism. Pedestrian walkway access gates shall swing away from the pool. Any gates other than pedestrian walkway access gates shall be equipped with lockable hardware or padlocks and shall remain locked at all times when not in use.

Building As a Barrier

Where a building wall of a Group R, Division 3 Occupancy dwelling unit serves as a part of the barrier and the building wall has door opening(s) which provide direct access to the swimming pool, a wall or fence (herein referred to as a separation fence) shall be provided so as to prevent direct access from the house to the swimming pool. The separation fence shall comply with the requirements of Items 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of this Section.

EXCEPTION: When approved by the building official, one of the following may be used instead of a separation fence:

  1. Self-closing and self-latching devices installed on all doors with direct access to the pool with the release mechanism located at a minimum of 54 inches (1372 mm) above the floor.
  2. An alarm installed on all doors with direct access to the pool. Where present, the alarm shall sound continuously for a minimum of 30 seconds within seven seconds after the door and its screen, if present, are opened, and be capable of providing a sound pressure level of not less than 85 dBA when measured indoors at 10 feet (3048 mm). This alarm shall automatically reset under all conditions. The alarm system shall be equipped with a manual means, such as a touchpad or switch, to temporarily deactivate the alarm for a single opening. Such deactivation shall last no longer than 15 seconds. The deactivation switch shall be located at least 54 inches (1372 mm) above the threshold of the door.
  3. Other means of protection may be acceptable so long as the degree of protection afforded is not less than that afforded by any of the devices described above.
  4. Where an above-ground pool structure is used as a barrier or where the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure, and the means of access is a ladder or steps, then (a) the ladder or steps shall be capable of being secured, locked or removed to prevent access or (b) the ladder or steps shall be surrounded by a separation fence which meets the requirements of Items 1 through 5 above. When the ladder or steps are secured, locked or removed, any opening created shall be protected by a separation fence complying with Items 1 through 6 above.
  5. Indoor Swimming Pool. For an indoor swimming pool, protection shall comply with the requirements of subsection (A)(6) of this section.
  6. Existing Fencing. If portions of the barrier are comprised of pre-existing fencing which complies with the provisions of Chapter 11.50 of this code, except as noted below, such pre-existing fencing need not comply with the provisions of this chapter. If a building wall of a Group R, Division 3 Occupancy dwelling unit serves as part of the barrier and the building wall has door opening(s) which provide direct access to the swimming pool, then the provisions of subsection (A)(6) of this section shall apply.
  7. Non-self-Contained and Self-Contained Spas. For outdoor and indoor spas, protection shall comply with the requirements of this section.

EXCEPTION: A lockable spa cover complying with ASTM F 1346, as determined by the building official, shall be provided in lieu of the separation fence required by subsection (A)(6) of this section.

California Building Code CBC

3109.4 Residential swimming pools

Residential swimming pools shall be completely enclosed by a barrier complying with Sections 3109.4.1 through 3109.4.3.

Exception: A swimming pool with a power safety cover or a spa with a safety cover complying with ASTM F1346 need not comply with this section.

3109.4.1 Barrier height and clearances

The top of the barrier shall be not less than 48 inches (1219 mm) above grade measured on the side of the barrier that faces away from the swimming pool. The vertical clearance between grade and the bottom of the barrier shall be not greater than 2 inches (51 mm) measured on the side of the barrier that faces away from the swimming pool. Where the top of the pool structure is above grade, the barrier is authorized to be at ground level or mounted on top of the pool structure, and the vertical clearance between the top of the pool structure and the bottom of the barrier shall be not greater than 4 inches (102 mm).

3109.4.1.1 Openings

Openings in the barrier shall not allow passage of a 4-inch-diameter (102 mm) sphere.

3109.4.1.2 Solid barrier surfaces

Solid barriers which do not have openings shall not contain indentations or protrusions except for normal construction tolerances and tooled masonry joints.

3109.4.1.3 Closely spaced horizontal members

Where the barrier is composed of horizontal and vertical members and the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is less than 45 inches (1143 mm), the horizontal members shall be located on the swimming pool side of the fence. Spacing between vertical members shall be not greater than 13/4 inches (44 mm) in width. Where there are decorative cutouts within vertical members, spacing within the cutouts shall be not greater than 13/4 inches (44 mm) in width.

3109.4.1.4 Widely spaced horizontal members

Where the barrier is composed of horizontal and vertical members and the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is 45 inches (1143 mm) or more, spacing between vertical members shall be not greater than 4 inches (102 mm). Where there are decorative cutouts within vertical members, spacing within the cutouts shall be not greater than 13/4 inches (44 mm) in width.

3109.4.1.5 Chain link dimensions

Mesh size for chain link fences shall be not greater than a 21/4-inch square (57 mm square) unless the fence is provided with slats fastened at the top or the bottom that reduce the openings to not more than 13/4 inches (44 mm).

3109.4.1.6 Diagonal members

Where the barrier is composed of diagonal members, the opening formed by the diagonal members shall be not greater than 13/4 inches (44 mm).

3109.4.1.7 Gates

Access doors or gates shall comply with the requirements of Sections 3109.4.1.1 through 3109.4.1.6 and shall be equipped to accommodate a locking device. Pedestrian access doors or gates shall open outward away from the pool and shall be self-closing and have a self-latching device. Doors or gates other than pedestrian access doors or gates shall have a self-latching device. Release mechanisms shall be in accordance with Sections 1010.1.9 and 1109.13. Where the release mechanism of the self-latching device is located less than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the bottom of the door or gate, the release mechanism shall be located on the pool side of the door or gate 3 inches (76 mm) or more, below the top of the door or gate, and the door or gate and barrier shall be without openings greater than 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) within 18 inches (457 mm) of the release mechanism.

3109.4.1.8 Dwelling wall as a barrier

Where a wall of a dwelling serves as part of the barrier, one of the following shall apply:

Doors with direct access to the pool through that wall shall be equipped with an alarm that produces an audible warning when the door or its screen, if present, are opened. The alarm shall be listed and labeled in accordance with UL 2017. In dwellings not required to be Accessible units, Type A units or Type B units, the deactivation switch shall be located 54 inches (1372 mm) or more above the threshold of the door. In dwellings required to be Accessible units, Type A units or Type B units, the deactivation switch shall be located not higher than 54 inches (1372 mm) and not less than 48 inches (1219 mm) above the threshold of the door.

The pool shall be equipped with a power safety cover that complies with ASTM F1346.

Other means of protection, such as self-closing doors with self-latching devices, which are approved, shall be accepted so long as the degree of protection afforded is not less than the protection afforded by Item 1 or 2 above.

3109.4.1.9 Pool structure as barrier

Where an above-ground pool structure is used as a barrier or where the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure, and the means of access is a ladder or steps, then the ladder or steps either shall be capable of being secured, locked or removed to prevent access, or the ladder or steps shall be surrounded by a barrier that meets the requirements of Sections 3109.4.1.1 through 3109.4.1.8. Where the ladder or steps are secured, locked or removed, any opening created shall not allow the passage of a 4-inch-diameter (102 mm) sphere.

SWIMMING POOL SAFETY ACT

2017 California Residential Building Code

AV100.1 Definitions.

As used in this division, the following terms have the following meanings:

ANSI/APSP PERFORMANCE STANDARD means a standard that is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and published by the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP).

APPROVED SAFETY POOL COVER means a manually or power-operated safety pool cover that meets all of the performance standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), in compliance with Standard F1346-91.

ENCLOSURE means a fence, wall or other barrier that isolates a swimming pool from access to the home.

EXIT ALARMS means devices that make audible, continuous alarm sounds when any door or window that permits access from the residence to the pool area, that is without any intervening enclosure, is opened or is left ajar. Exit alarms may be battery operated or may be connected to the electrical wiring of the building.

PUBLIC SWIMMING POOL means a swimming pool operated for the use of the general public with or without charge, or for the use of the members and guests of a private club. Public swimming pool does not include a swimming pool located on the grounds of a private single-family home.

SUCTION OUTLET means a fitting or fixture typically located at the bottom or on the sides of a swimming pool that conducts water to a recirculating pump.

SWIMMING POOL or  POOL means any structure intended for swimming or recreational bathing that contains water over 18 inches (457 mm) deep. Swimming pool includes inground and above-ground structures and includes, but is not limited to, hot tubs, spas, portable spas and nonportable wading

  1. The pool shall be isolated from access to a home by an enclosure that meets the requirements of Section AV100.3.
  2. The pool shall incorporate removable mesh pool 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. The pool shall be equipped with an approved safety pool cover that meets all requirements of ASTM Specifications F1346.
  4. The residence shall be equipped with exit alarms on those doors providing direct access to the pool.
  5. All doors providing direct access from the home to the swimming pool shall be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches (1372 mm) above the floor.
  6. Swimming pool alarms that, when placed in pools, will sound upon detection of accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water. These pool alarms shall meet and be independently certified to the ASTM Standard F2208 “Standards Specification for Pool Alarms,” which includes surface motion, pressure, sonar, laser and infrared type alarms. For purposes of this article, “swimming pool alarms” shall not include swimming protection alarm devices designed for individual use, such as an alarm attached to a child that sounds when the child exceeds a certain distance or becomes submerged in water.
  7. Other means of protection, if the degree of protection afforded is equal to or greater than that afforded by any of the devices set forth in Items 1–4, and have been independently verified by an approved testing laboratory as meeting standards for those devices established by the ASTM or the American Society of Testing Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

AV100.3 Enclosure; required characteristics. An enclosure shall have all of the following characteristics:

  1. Any access gates through the enclosure open away from the swimming pool and are self-closing with a self-latching device placed no lower than 60 inches (1524 mm) above the ground.
  2. A minimum height of 60 inches (1524 mm).
  3. A maximum vertical clearance from the ground to the bottom of the enclosure of 2 inches (51 mm).
  4. Gaps or voids, if any, do not allow passage of a sphere equal to or greater than 4 inches (102 mm) in diameter.
  5. An outside surface 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.

AV100.5 Exempt facilities. The requirements of this article shall not apply to any of the following:

  1. Public swimming pools.
  2. Hot tubs or spas with locking safety covers that comply with the American Society for Testing Materials Emergency
  3. Performance Specification (ASTM ES13-89).
  4. Any pool within the jurisdiction of any political subdivision that adopts an ordinance for swimming pool safety that includes requirements that are at least as stringent as this division.
  5. An apartment complex or any residential setting other than a single-family home.

Los Angeles County Code of Ordinances Title 11. Health And Safety Division 2. General Hazards Chapter 11.51. Barriers For Swimming Pools, Spas And Hot Tubs

  • 11.50.040. Fence or other enclosure—Design requirements  

Of course, the fence, wall or other structure required by this chapter shall be not less than five feet high, measured from the existing surface to the top of the fence or wall on the side of the fence or wall opposite the side towards the pool, with no openings except doors or gates, with an area greater than 50 square inches, except that a rectangular opening having no horizontal dimension exceeding four inches may have a greater area.

Los Angeles County Code of Ordinances Title 11. Health And Safety Division 2. General Hazards Chapter 11.51. Barriers For Swimming Pools, Spas And Hot Tubs

  • 11.50.050. Wood fences

Wood fences shall have posts not less than three inches by three inches, spaced not over 10 feet on centers, and embedded at least 18 inches into the ground. Posts, other than redwood, shall be treated with a preservative. Fencing shall be at least one-half inch in thickness, and fastened securely to at least two rails not less than two inches by three inches in cross-section.

BUILDING CODE MANUAL COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS BUILDING AND SAFETY DIVISION

Solid Wood.

  • Redwood or pressure treated posts shall be no less than 3 inches by 3 inches, set no more than 10 feet apart, and embedded at least 18 inches in the ground.
  • The vertical boards at least 1/2-inch thick shall be placed side-by-side without any gaps or spaces.
  • The vertical boards shall be securely fastened to no less than two horizontal rails that are at least 2 inches by 3 inches in cross section.
  • The horizontal rails shall be located on the pool side of the fence and more than 48 inches apart.

Los Angeles County Code of Ordinances Title 11. Health And Safety Division 2. General Hazards Chapter 11.51. Barriers For Swimming Pools, Spas And Hot Tubs

  • 11.50.060. Wire fences  

First of all, wire fences shall be constructed of wire mesh of not less than 11 gauge galvanized-steel wire supported on one and one-fourth inch diameter galvanized pipe spaced not over 10 feet on centers. Secondly, posts shall be embedded at least 12 inches into concrete fill, in holes not less than six inches in diameter and 18 inches in depth.

BUILDING CODE MANUAL COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS BUILDING AND SAFETY DIVISION

Chain Link.

  • The wire for the chain link shall not be less than 11-gauge.
  • The posts shall be galvanized pipe at least 1-1/4 inch in diameter and
  • spaced not more than 10 feet apart.
  • The posts shall be set not less than 12 inches into concrete. The concrete
  • shall be poured into a hole minimum 6 inches in diameter and minimum 18
  • inches deep.
  • Openings in the chain link shall not be greater than 1-3/4 inches measured
  • horizontally

Los Angeles County Code of Ordinances Title 11. Health And Safety Division 2. General Hazards Chapter 11.51. Barriers For Swimming Pools, Spas And Hot Tubs

  • 11.50.070. Masonry fences  

For the most part, masonry fences shall be supported on a foundation of concrete extending not less than 12 inches below grade, not less than 12 inches in width, and not less than six inches in thickness. Wall steel, when required, shall be embedded 16 diameters into the footing.

BUILDING CODE MANUAL COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS BUILDING AND SAFETY DIVISION

Masonry/Concrete.

  • Masonry fences shall be supported on a foundation of concrete extending not
  • less than 12 inches below grade, not less than 12 inches in width, and not
  • less than six inches in thickness.
  • Reinforcing steel located in the masonry wall, when required, shall be
  • embedded 16 diameters into the footing.

Los Angeles County Code of Ordinances Title 11. Health And Safety Division 2. General Hazards Chapter 11.51. Barriers For Swimming Pools, Spas And Hot Tubs

  • 11.50.080. Fence—Alternate type authorized when  

If the county engineer finds that any other type of construction has resulted in, or will result in, a fence in all respects the equivalent in strength and durability to a fence constructed as provided in Sections 11.50.050, 11.50.060 or 11.50.070, such type of construction may be used.

BUILDING CODE MANUAL COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS BUILDING AND SAFETY DIVISION

Wrought Iron.

  • When the vertical members are spaced 1-3/4 inches maximum, then the horizontal members shall be located on the inside face of the fence, or
  • The distance between the tops of horizontal members shall not be less than 45 inches.
Summary
The Swimming Pool Safety Act  SB 442 broken down | 2018
Article Name
The Swimming Pool Safety Act SB 442 broken down | 2018
Description
This article covers the Swimming Pool Safety Act SB 442 and broken down into simple terms.
Author
Publisher Name
Mazza Inspection Group
Publisher Logo

Share this Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *