Swimming Pools

General Information

A permit is required to install any structure intended for swimming, recreational bathing or human immersion that contains water over 18 inches deep. This includes in-ground, above ground, and on-ground swimming pools; hot tubs; portable and non-portable spas; and fixed in-place wading pools.

Due to the existence of landslide areas, earthquake fault areas, and flood areas in the City of Napa, a geotechnical report is required for proposed in-ground swimming pools.  As an alternative, plans may be submitted with a City of Napa Soils Report Waiver Request, completed and signed by a licensed design professional. 

Effective January 1, 2018, plans must show two “protection from drowning” elements.  See below for CA Health and Safety Code reference and excerpt.

Plan Submittal Requirements

Complete project submittals will be taken in for review and charged a plan review fee. Allow 21 business days for first review plan check comments. Incomplete submittal packages will not be taken in for review. 

Protection From Drowning

CA Health and Safety Code (Division 104, Part 10, Chapter 5) requires that two drowning prevention safety features be provided. 

Bill Text:

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE - HSC

DIVISION 104. PART 10. CHAPTER 5.

(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 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).

(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.)

115923

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.

(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.)