For a public pool proposed for an apartment complex located in the state of California, is an architect or engineer required for the project as a whole?  There is on site plumbing and electrical, pool equipment,  anchorage of equipment, drinking fountains, wrought iron fencing, an accessible lift and the pool shell itself.  How much of this project can be designed by a swimming pool contractor and what elements are required to be designed by a licensed design professional?  Thanks for your opinions and comments.

Richard S Graves, C.B.O.

Certified Building Official

Interwest Consulting Group

Original Post

In California, for small-to-medium projects, most bona-fide pool contractors undertake all of this work on a design-build basis, to include provision of the structural engineering of the pool itself (the major structural element), and the associated plumbing/electrical work (accessory/necessary features to make the pool equipment functional).  When the BO determines that ancillary features such as surrounding walls/fences also require the signature/seal of a licensed professional, the pool contractor arranges for and incorporates those services as part of the pool contract.   I haven't had experience with newer requirements, i.e. lifts, but have no reason to believe pool contractors are not also incorporating that aspect into their design-build contracts. 


On larger commercial projects, the pool, other walls/fences, and the more significant mechanical work are more often designed by the project's Architect of Record and/or Engineers of Record, and are then implemented by contractors.  With respect to ADA/lifts/etc. for any larger project, it would also be wise to have an accessibility consultant involved as a belt and suspenders (since BO's may or may not know what is required, and are not a safe harbor in any event).

I too concurr with Hil, however what does Atherton's code say with regards to this or are they accepting CBC verbatium?


Section 104 & 105 of CBC allow the determination to be made by the CBO.


It is also not mentioned as to the location of the pool relative to existing footings or other site features and how many stories the apartments are.


Risk management suggests erroring on the side of caution with regards to the potential for future accidents arsing given the attraction of this feature to residents and guests. Not you typical backyard pool.

@ADA_guy:This project is not located in Atherton.  It's one of those areas that I believe is not adequately addressed in California law.  Thanks to all who responded.

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