Is a Pool/Spa part of the Home Inspection?
Generally No...it is considered an "optional" component and must be asked for specifically. A pool/spa inspection is an important consideration during the home purchasing process. Its purpose is to provide a snapshot of the condition and functionality of a pool/spa at the present time. It will inform you and your client what is working and what is not, what is damaged and what is not, and what is safe and what is not. A pool inspection is typically not part of the home inspection process, as it is considered an “optional” component. This means you need to ask for it in addition to the home inspection! Other things that fall into this "optional" category include: out-buildings, septic systems, lawn irrigation systems, whole house vacuum systems.
The inspector’s task is to determine if the minimal standards of safety and functionality are met, as outlined in the TREC “Standards of Practice” – Section 535.233. Included in this inspection are the following key components:
- Functionality of Equipment/Components
- Construction Condition (Pipes, Surfaces, Components)
- Safety (Child-Proof Barriers, Electrical/Bonding, Surface/Drain/Component Hazards)
But you might be surprised by a few things. Did you know?
1. Not all Inspectors are Equally Qualified
Not all inspectors are qualified to conduct these “optional system” inspections, so it’s important to ask upfront if your inspector is “certified’ to inspect a specific optional system. A qualified pool inspector should be able to cite a specific pool inspection certification or education source and inform you when the certification began and is scheduled to expire. There is typically a 5-year certification window. One such source for pool/spa inspection training is the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF), which offers Certified Pool Inspector (CPI) and/or Certified Pool Operator (CPO) certifications.
That said, TREC does not require “certification” for any optional system inspection. Per the “Standards of Practice” (SOP), if an inspector feels he is qualified to inspect an optional system, it is incumbent upon him/her to know all of the rules and regulations governing that optional system. In my opinion, it is safe to say that an inspector who has formal pool inspection certification and is current in that certification is a better choice for the home buyer than an inspector without those credentials.
2. Current Standards ≠ Standards at Time of Construction
Local municipalities each define their own set of codes and regulations regarding initial pool/spa construction. These codes are often updated and/or changed over time. As such, not all pools, even in the same city/town will have the same construction or safety design. So, when an inspector points out a deficiency, he/she is referring to an existing condition, as compared to, “current” industry standards. I.e. – the deficiency noted may not have been a deficiency at the time of construction – but it is now. This does not mean that the deficiency must be corrected; merely that it exists. It is up to the new home buyer whether or not to correct the deficiency or not.
3. The Source of “Industry Standards” is the ISPSC
The “Industry Standards” come from the ™ (ISPSC™), published by the (ICC), which uses prescriptive and performance-related provisions to establish minimum safety requirements for public and residential pools, spas and hot tubs. ISPSC was developed with input from a wide range of industry experts, including the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP), and was finalized through the Code Council’s governmental consensus process.
(Source: International Code Council (ICC) -
4. Pool-Safety Information is Readily Available
Should you want to know more about specific pool/spa safety precautions, there are a few great sources just a click away:
a. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF)