Regulations regarding pool safety can vary by state. Take the time to find out what regulations apply in the areas in which you inspect.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is general and will not prepare inspectors to perform pool/spa inspections. Those wishing to provide these services should get adequate training!

From the US Consumer Product Safety commission


  • Fences should be located where permanent structures cannot be used to climb them.
  • Fences should be a minimum of 4 feet high (some jurisdictions require 5 feet).
  • If the home exterior walls serve as a barrier, doors that open into the pool area should:
    •  be self-closing;
    • have self-latching devices or locks installed that are out of the reach of children; and
    • should have alarms installed. (SEE MORE BELOW)
  • Gaps between components like balusters and bottom rails should be less than 4 inches.
  • If the space between the tops of top and bottom rails is less than 45 inches, they should be located on the pool side of the fence.
  • Chain link fences mesh should not exceed 1.25 inches (measured parallel to strands, not diagonally).
  • The maximum opening in a lattice fence should be 1.75 inches (measured diagonally).
  • The barrier should not be constructed in a way that makes it climbable.


  • Should be self-closing and self-latching.
  • Should open away from the pool.
  • When the gate release mechanism is less than 54 inches above the walkway, it should be located on the pool side of the gate, at least 3 inches down from the top.
  • The gate and barrier should have no opening greater than 1/2-inch within an 18-inch radius of the release mechanism.

Home Doors Serving as Pool Access Barriers

  • The alarm should be LOUD and unique (not like the doorbell, smoke detectors, or phone).
  • It should sound within 7 seconds of door being opened and last for at least 30 seconds.
  • It should have a means (touchpad, switch, etc.) for re-set to allow adults to pass through the door without setting off the alarm. the re-set means should be at least 54 inches above the floor.

Potential Safety Issues

  • Anti-entrapment drain
  • Cover: function and condition
  • Ladders
  • Electrical clearances
  • life ring w/rope
  • Accessory pole

Mechanical/Heating Equipment

  • Control systems
  • Automatic sanitation
  • Heating system
  • Electrical system
  • Pump and plumbing
  • Filters

Pool Components

  • Deck
  • Vessel

Above-ground Pools

  • Must have a barrier compliant with the above.
  • Access (ladders, stairs, etc.) must be secured in a manner that will deny children access.