Pool and Spa Inspection Standards

Below are the Standards of Practice that I follow for inspecting residential swimming pools and spas.



1. Inspections performed in accordance with these Standards:

  • provide the Client with additional objective information about the condition of inspected components at the time of inspection;
  • are conducted by an inspection generalist, not by a technical specialist;
  • are general and do not include or confirm conformity with
    1. building codes and other governmental laws and regulations,
    2. manufacturer's installation drawings,
    3. construction plans, drawings, and specifications;
  • do not provide a warranty or guarantee regarding the condition of the inspected swimming pool or spa;
  • do not identify and report all possible safety issues regarding the installation, operation, maintenance, and use of inspected swimming pools or spas.

2. These Standards apply only to swimming pools and spas located on property containing a one or two-family residential structure.

  • These Standards do not apply to swimming pools or spas used for commercial or competitive uses.

3. These Standards do not limit the Inspector from:

  • including other services or components in addition to those required in these Standards;
  • excluding components from the inspection if requested by the Client.


Inspection and Report

1. The Inspector shall inspect readily accessible, visually observable, installed components designated in these Standards.

2. The Inspector shall issue a written report that:

  1. identifies components that, in the professional judgement of the Inspector, are not functioning properly, significantly deficient, unsafe, or are near the end of their service lives;
  2. provides the reasoning or explanation as to the nature of the deficiencies reported in 2.1 that are not self-evident;
  3. recommends correction, further evaluation, or monitoring of components in 2.1;
  4. identifies components designated in these Standards that were present during the inspection but not inspected and the reason(s) why they were not inspected.


Swimming pool and spa inspection

1. The Inspector shall inspect:

  • the visible parts of interior finish materials;
  • the visible parts of decks, steps inside the swimming pool or spa shell, and coping;
  • the visible parts of pumps, motors, blowers, skimmers, filters, drains, heaters, automatic safety controls, gauges, visible piping and valves, conduit;
  • cross-connections in the piping system;
  • external bonding of the pump motors, blowers, heaters, and other components that are required to be bonded;
  • operation of readily-accessible lights, ground fault circuit interrupters, electrical components, and timer assemblies that are related to the pool or spa.

2. The Inspector shall describe:

  • type of swimming pool or spa;
  • interior finish materials;
  • type of filter, types of safety barriers;
  • type of cleaning system (if present);
  • energy source for heater (if present).

3. The Inspector shall operate the systems using normal operating controls.

4. The Inspector shall open readily openable access panels.

5. The Inspector is not required to:

  • test, operate, or evaluate components when weather conditions or other circumstances may cause equipment damage;
  • test, operate, or evaluate automatic safety controls and manual or automatic valves;
  • touch swimming pool or spa water to examine the structure, components, and features, including their composition and quality
  • test, operate, or evaluate electric resistance heaters;
  • determine structural integrity;
  • inspect any equipment of component that is shut down or is not responding to normal operating controls, including conditions caused by the absence of a required energy source such as electricity or gas;
  • inspect, test, or evaluate: low voltage or digital, computerized, or solid-state electronic controls, water chemistry or clarity, out-of-level conditions, presence or absence of bacteria or algae, backwash functions, aerators, automatic cleaning systems, automatic water fill systems, water treatment systems, chemical dispensers, thermostats, heating elements, heat exchangers, solar and other alternative energy heating systems, water features, covers and related components, accessories, leaks in shell, underground components, temporary safety barriers and alarms, stray voltage, and the interior of filters including cartridges;
  • inspect, test, operate, or evaluate diving and jump boards, slides, play equipment and similar components, and the suitability of the pool for the use of such components and for activities such as diving;
  • determine the adequacy of: system or component design, structural components, equipment or component compatibility, flow rates, high or low pressure conditions, filters, heaters, safety barriers and alarms, and entrapment prevention components.


General Limitations and Exclusions

1. General Limitations

  • Inspections performed in accordance with these Standards are not:
  1. numerically complete, and
  2. required to identify or to report concealed conditions, latent defects and consequential damages, and cosmetic issues.

2. General Exclusions

  • The Inspector is not required to determine:
  1. condition of components that are not installed or that are not visible and readily accessible;
  2. strength, adequacy, effectiveness, or efficiency of any component, including structural components;
  3. methods, materials, or costs of corrections;
  4. future conditions including, but not limited to, component failure and the life expectancy of components;
  5. the suitability of a swimming pool or spa or a component for any specialized use;
  6. the presence or absence of any environmental hazards including, but not limited to, toxins, allergen, carcinogens, electromagnetic radiation, noise, radioactive substances, and contaminants in soil, water, and air;
  7. the presence or absence of potentially hazardous or damaging plants and animals including, but not limited to, wood destroying organisms and diseases harmful to humans including molds and mold-like substances;
  8. operating costs of components;
  9. soil conditions relating to geotechnical or hydrologic specialties;
  10. causes of or reasons for the condition of the components in 2.1;
  11. the safety of using the swimming pool, spa or any component;
  12. the risks or benefits of adding new components and of modifying existing components;
  13. whether the swimming pool or spa or any component is free from leakage of any kind;
  14. whether any item, material, condition or component is subject to recall, controversy, litigation, products liability or other adverse claim or condition;
  15. the adequacy of operation, maintenance, and use of the swimming pool, spa, and of any component.
  • The Inspector is not required to
  1. perform any act or service contrary to law or regulation;
  2. perform architectural, engineering, or surveying services or to confirm or evaluate such services performed by others;
  3. perform any trade or any professional service other than as required in these Standards;
  4. offer or provide warranties or guarantees of any kind;
  5. perform any procedure or operation or enter any area that may, in the opinion of the Inspector, be dangerous to the Inspector or to other persons, or that may cause damage to the property or to components;
  6. move personal property, equipment, plants, soil, snow, ice, or debris;
  7. inspect installed decorative items;
  8. inspect component interiors that are not readily accessible, and
  9. dismantle any component, except as explicitly required by these Standards.