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Swimming Pool Enclosure Ordinance (SPEO)

The County of Santa Cruz requires that all new and modified residential (1 & 2 family dwellings – R-3 Occupancy) swimming pool enclosures meet the currently adopted code.  The residential Swimming Pool Enclosure Ordinance (SPEO) applies to swimming pools, spas and hot tubs located on the premises of R-3 Occupancy structures, and defines a swimming pool as: Any structure intended for swimming or recreational bathing that contains water over 18 inches deep.  This includes in-ground, above ground and on-ground swimming pools, and fixed-in-place pools.  The currently adopted code requirements, effective January 1, 2008, are in Santa Cruz County Code Section 12.10.216.   san jose, los gatos, saratoga, santa cruz, scotts valley, aptos, capitola, soquel, gilroy, campbell, santa clara

Any time a private residential property consisting of one or two family structure (R-3 Occupancy), and including a pool, spa, or hot tub is transferred from an owner to another, written certification of compliance with the Swimming Pool Enclosure Ordinance (SPEO) must be provided by the seller to the buyer.  Certification can be issued by a Certified Home Inspector or by a County building inspector with a building permit.  This requirement only applies to pool enclosures, not to entrapment avoidance devices. 

The Santa Cruz County Building Official allows a home inspector certified by the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA), the American Home Inspection Training Institute (AHIT) or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) to issue certification of SPEO compliance.  This inspection is a private transaction that does not involve the County or require a building permit, and certification may be issued the same day the inspection is performed.  No other individual, except a SCC building inspector may perform this inspection.

There are certain circumstances when a building permit for the swimming pool barrier is required.  They are:

  • To build a new swimming pool or pool barrier.
  • To rebuild a barrier surrounding your pool, spa or hot tub.
  • To address issues identified in a Swimming Pool Barrier Correction Notice issued by a County Building Inspector.
  • To request that a County Building Inspector certify your compliance with the SPEO.

No building permit is required to make the following minor changes to your pool safety features:

  • Installing code-compliant door alarms.
  • Changing the direction of the opening of a gate.
  • Moving a gate latch.
  • Installing (or removing) features to make your barrier non-climbable.
  • Installing features to reduce the size of opening in your barrier.

The Swimming Pool Enclosure Ordinance (SPEO) is required by the County of Santa Cruz, which is the unincorporated area of the county.  Not included in the county ordinance is the city of Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Capitola and Scotts Valley.   home inspection, home inspector, home, inspector, inspection, pool barrier inspection, chimney

Below are some helpful links to the County of Santa Cruz Planning Department

Applicability Questions & Compliance Checklist
Barrier & Gate Details
Site Plan A & B     -     Site Plan C & D

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