Pool Drowning Prevention Requirements

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2019 California Building Code, section 3109

Swimming pools or spas 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 (see below for enclosure requirements).
  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).

Additional Pool Notes

  1. “Non Climb” animal fencing is not an acceptable means of enclosing a pool unless it meets all CBC requirements.
  2. All suction outlets in new pools or modifications to existing pools shall be equipped with anti-entrapment grates per ANSI/APSP-16. CBC 3109.2 – 115928.5 Shall not allow passage of a 4” diameter sphere

Enclosure Requirements for Private Swimming Pools – Section 115923
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 above the ground.
    2. A minimum height of 60 inches.
    3. A maximum vertical clearance from the ground to the bottom of the enclosure of two inches.
    4. Gaps or voids, if any, do not allow passage of a sphere equal to or greater than four inches 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.
    6. Additional barrier guidelines:
      1. Closely spaced horizontal members: If the tops of horizontal members are less than 45 inches
        apart, then vertical member spacing shall not exceed 1 ¾ inches.
      2. Widely spaced horizontal members: If the tops of horizontal members are 45 inches apart or
        more, then vertical member spacing shall not exceed 4 inches.
      3. Diagonal members: Openings formed by diagonals shall not exceed 1 ¾ inches.

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