As I always say and practice, check with the municipal building office for exact pool fence regulations. There can be aspects of the code that are tweaked or interpreted a certain way and you need to know that. I find it helpful to bring in a sketch (pictures too) and explain what you intend to do. Do this early on and you can plan for the fence location and design right from the beginning of your project.
Pictured here is an area of pool fencing recently installed on a project of mine. There is a change in levels created by a stone wall. At this height change point the fence installer used a long post to make the transition.
The decorative aluminum fence ended on the top level and the vinyl coated chainlink fence picked-up at the lower level. Everything should meet pool fence regulations…so we thought.
The inspector pointed out 2 issues needing attention:
- An extension of the upper level fence is required where the height transition occurs. This is to discourage a person from being able to use the top of the stone wall as a height advantage to climb over the fence. Hmmm…good point!
- The spacing between pickets on the decorative fence was over 4″ at two points. The normal sections of this manufactured fence have consistent 4″ spacing. This short section was cut to fit this narrow space and the end result was a 4 1/2″ space at one end, and a 4 1/4″ space at the other. Hmmm…a bit of a stickler, wouldn’t you say?
- For the extension piece in the height transition area the fence installer used a top rail secured at an angle with additional chainlink mesh. This “angled” top rail solution is very strong by design.
- For the fractional spacing issues on the decorative picket fence, a piece of chainlink mesh was attached.
Note: I don’t think there is a better color choice than black for a fence that you wish less noticed in the landscape.
Other Pool Fence Regulations To Be Aware Of
Fortunately these issues were easy to fix and the inspector appreciated the fact we had made the effort in every other regard to “get it right”. This goes back to my point about visiting the town construction office at the early planning stage and discuss your intentions – priceless in terms of saving time and minimizing hassles.
Here are a few other pool fence regulations that are part of the BOCA (Building Officials and Code Administrators) pool safety codes.
- The pool fence must be at least 48″ high.
- If there are vertical pickets and horizontal rails, the distance between the horizontal rails can not be greater than 45″.
- The space between the ground and the fence can not be greater than 4″.
- Gates that are part of the pool fence enclosure must open out, away from the pool.
- Gates that are part of the pool fence enclosure must be self-closing and latching.
- All pool gate latches should be at least 54″ from the ground.
Sometimes these pool fence regulations are a matter of interpretation depending on the circumstance. Have you ever had “a difference” of interpretation with an inspector? How did that turn out? Let us know in the comments. We can all learn from these experiences.