Community Development

Swimming Pools

View the Drowning Prevention Brochure for important safety information benefitting the homeowner.

Permits Required

The California Building Code and Section 14.5 of the City of Fairfield Municipal Code states that no person, firm or corporation shall install any structure intended for swimming or recreational bathing that contains water over 18? in depth without first having obtained a building permit from the building official. Included are hot tubs, spas, portable spas & non-portable wading pools.

Spas And Hot Tubs

Spas and hot tubs, whether permanent or portable, are regulated under the provisions of the California Building Code, the California Electrical Code and the California Plumbing Code. An electrical permit is required when an electrical circuit servicing the spa or hot tub is installed. A plumbing permit is required to install a gas line if the spa or hot tub is heated by natural gas.

How To Apply For A Swimming Pool Permit

When applying for a building permit to install a swimming pool the applicant shall submit for approval:

  • Three (3) sets of plot plans showing the name & address of the owner of the property; the point of entry for the excavation; the distance from the pool excavation to the property lines and all structures on the property; location of the equipment pad and size and location of the gas line & meter if applicable; location of all easements; and the required safety feature method selected and signed by the owner.
  • Two (2) sets of a site-specific plans with engineering noting the specifications and steel schedule signed by a registered engineer.
  • Three (3) electrical load calculations based on Article 220-82 of the California Electrical Code are required if the existing electrical service is 125 amperes or less.
Setback Requirements

Gunite Pools:
Pools shall not be constructed in the front or side setback of the residential property. There shall be a distance of at least 4' between the pool excavation and any side or rear property line. A minimum of 5' is required between the pool excavation and any building foundation on the property.

Vinyl Liner Pool:
In addition to the setback requirements for gunite pools, a liner pool shall have a minimum clearance of 5' from any building foundation plus an additional foot of clearance for every foot of depth below a 5-foot depth.

A pre-site inspection of the property is required prior to the issuance of permits to verify the setback requirements.

Fiberglass One-Piece Swimming Pools:
One-piece swimming pools are installed according to the manufacturer's recommendations by installers approved by the manufacturer. Homeowners or contractors not approved by the manufacturer are not allowed to install fiberglass one-piece pools. Setbacks shall be the same as for vinyl liner pools.

Spas and Hot Tubs:
There are no written regulations that control the location of portable spas and hot tubs placed on the property; however, consideration should be given to the placement regarding the neighbor's property and the possible affects the spa or hot tub could have on the neighbor's privacy.

Electrical Setback Requirements

Overhead electrical conductors create a safety hazard if they are incorrectly installed adjacent to swimming pools. Section 680-8 of the California Electric Code and Table 6-1 of the PG&E Service Requirement Green Book regulates the installation of overhead conductors.

Telephone lines and cable television systems may pass over a pool if a 101 vertical clearance is maintained above the swimming pool.

Swimming Pool Heating

Swimming pools that are heated by gas heaters must conform to provisions of the California Plumbing Code, California Mechanical Code and the 2005 California Energy Efficiency Standards Section 114.

The gas venting system shall terminate not less than 4' below or 4' horizontally from, nor less than 1' above a door or window and not less than 4' from a property line.

  • The heating system must be equipped with an on/off switch that turns the heater on and off without the need to relight the pilot light or change the thermostat setting.
  • A 36" minimum length of plumbing shall be installed between the filter and heater to allow for the possible addition of solar heating equipment.
  • Heated outdoor pools must be equipped with a manufactured pool cover (to reduce heat loss).
  • A time clock, which allows the circulation pump to run in the off peak electric demand period.
Plumbing Requirements

Plastic PVC, when used in the circulating system, must have a soil embedment depth of 12". Risers to the pool equipment may be plastic PVC and shall be painted with latex paint to provide protection from the sun. There cannot be a direct connection between any storm drain, drainage system, drywell or subsoil irrigation and any line connected to a swimming pool. Water supply and hose bibs within 25' of the pool shall have a backflow prevention device installed and be at least 12" above the pool deck.

Safety Glazing

Safety glazing is required when glazing in walls and fences are used as a barrier for indoor and outdoor swimming pools and spas when the bottom edge of the glazing is less than 60" above the pool side of the glazing and the glazing is within 5' of a swimming pool or spa water's edge.


There are five (5) required inspections for a gunite swimming pool and two (2) required for a spa. The following is a list of swimming pool requirements:

  • A pre-site inspection to check setback requirements and to identify possible lot drainage and grading problems, and to determine the size of the electrical service.
  • A pre-gunite inspection to check the reinforcement steel placement, positioning of the equipment pad, the electrical bonding of the steel, burial depth of the piping (electrical conduit/circulation), pressure test of the circulation piping and the erection of a temporary fence. If a pool heater is used, a gas test is also conducted.
  • A pre-deck inspection to check deck steel bonding and deck drainage.
  • A pre-plaster inspection to check for the installation of a permanent fence and gate, the installation of the electrical circuits, the bonding of the electrical equipment, the installation of the selected barrier feature and the preparation of the gunite pool for the plastering.
  • A final inspection to determine if all work on the pool has been completed, the selected safety feature is in place; door alarms have been installed and if a pool heater is used, the installation of a pool cover.

A portable spa requires a rough electric inspection to check compliance with the California Electric Code and a final inspection to determine that all work is completed, the selected safety feature installed and the spa is operating correctly.

Encroachment Permits

Encroachment permits are required when a pool contractor is granted permission by the City of Fairfield Public Works Department to access a job site through a City owned or maintained fence or across City maintained landscaping.

Encroachment permits are obtained from the Public Works Department located on the third floor of City Hall. The refundable permit fee is $750.00.

Liability insurance in the amount of $300,000.00 with an insurance endorsement is required. When an encroachment permit is issued, the job site is inspected by the Public Works Department for traffic control, cleanliness and any existing damage to City facilities as a part of the pre-site inspection.

Upon completion of construction the site will be reinspected. The permittee will be responsible for repairing or replacing fences, landscaping, irrigation systems and sidewalks that were damaged during construction. Refunding of the permit bond depends upon the satisfactory completion of these repairs.

Barrier and Safety Features (2007 CBC sec.3109.4.4.2)

Hot tubs or spas with locking type covers complying with ASTM-ES 13-89 are exempt from the barrier and safety requirements section of the State Building Code.

  • Barrier Requirements:

    Residential pools shall be surrounded by an enclosure fence or a portion of a building wall not less than 60" nor greater than 72" in height. Openings, gaps or voids, if any shall not allow passage of a sphere equal to or greater than 4" in diameter with a maximum vertical clearance from the ground to the bottom of the enclosure of 2". The outside surface of the fence shall be free of protrusions, indentations or cutouts that would serve as handholds or footholds that could enable a child below the age of 5 years to climb. A temporary fence shall be installed during excavation. Any access gate shall open away from the pool area and be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device.

    In addition to the enclosure listed above, the swimming pool shall be equipped with at least one of the following safety features:

    The pool shall be isolated from access to the home by an enclosure that meets the requirements listed above.

    • The pool shall be equipped with a manually or power operated safety pool cover that meets all of the performance standards of ASTM F1346-91.
    • The residence shall be equipped with exit alarms that are audible and continuous on those doors that permit access from the residence to the pool area when the door is opened or left ajar.
    • The exit alarms may be battery operated or may be connected to the electrical wiring of the building.
    • All doors providing direct access from the home to the swimming pool shall be equipped with a self-closing, self latching device with a release mechanism no lower than 54" above the floor.
    • Other means of protection if the degree of protection afforded is equal to or greater than that afforded by any of the devices set forth in Items 1-4 inclusive, as determined by the building official.
  • Dual Drain Separation for Entrapment Avoidance:

    Single or multiple pump outlet circulation systems shall be provided with a minimum of 2 suction outlets spaced 3' apart that are piped so that water is drawn simultaneously through a vacuum relief protected line to the pump or pumps. Suction outlets that are less than 12 inches across shall be covered with anti-entrapment grates, as specified in the ASME/ANSI Standard A 112.19.8, that cannot be removed except with the use of tools.

Indoor Swimming Pools

Doors with direct access to an indoor swimming pool shall be equipped with an audible alarm.

When To Call For An Inspection

An inspection request recorder is available on a 24 hour basis by calling 707.428.7570. Requests received before 3:00 pm will be scheduled for the following day. All calls received after 3:00 pm will be scheduled for 2 business days later. Morning inspections are made between 8:00 am - 12:00 pm and afternoon inspections between 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm. The approved plans and the inspection card that is issued shall be on job site and available to the inspector at the time of inspection.

Contact Information

Community Development Department - Building Division
1000 Webster Street, 2nd Floor
Fairfield, California 94533

707.428.7451 General Information/Inspection Cancellation
707.428.7570 Building Division Inspection Request
707.428.7461 Community Development General Information