SB442, codified as Business and Professions Code Section 7195, effective January 1 2018, doubles the safety standards for residential swimming pools. The law requires any new pool or spa, or any remodeling of an existing pool or spa, to include at least two of the seven drowning prevention safety features outlined below. Formerly, the law required only one of seven features.
Obligation on the part of the Owner, Agents and Home Inspector
The new law prevents the issuance of a building permit unless and until the two of seven features are properly installed and identified. Also, before a city can issue a final approval for the completion of any construction or remodeling of a residential property that includes a pool, the local building code officer will need to inspect the drowning prevention safety features required under this law.
This law, however, does not apply to any existing swimming pools or spas, and owners are not obligated to bring their old pools or spas in compliance with the new standards.
Further, this does not technically create any new disclosure obligation on the part of agents or owners. Though, with regard to home inspectors, it requires them to include within their inspection a noninvasive physical examination of the pool or spa for the purpose of identifying which of the seven drowning prevention safety features exist. This information must be included in their home inspection report.
7 Drowning Prevention Features
The seven drowning prevention safety features are:
(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).”