When it comes to fences, there are a lot of local, county and state pool fence codes.
There are many things to consider when choosing a fence to enclose your swimming pool. The most important issue to address is safety. Most municipal areas around the country have codes or regulations that are to be followed. These regulations vary from state to state and even county to county. It is your responsibility to check with your local building department or city hall to determine exactly what regulations you are required to meet. Once you get the details on your pool fence requirements you can go straight to our pool fences section and view the aluminum fence models designed just for pools.
Following are some of the more common and stringent pool code regulations with clarification of each provided by our fence professionals.
Code #1. The top of the barrier of the fence must be at least 48" above grade, measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool fence height for BOCA.
Code # 2. The maximum vertical clearance between grade and the bottom of the barrier shall be 2 inches measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool.
2a. This is determined by the fence installer.
pool codes clearance image
Code # 3. Openings in the barrier shall not allow passage of a 4-inch-diameter sphere. (self-explanatory)
pool fence spacing image
Note: Code 4 must be read closely due to its confusing nature -
Code # 4. Where the barrier is composed of horizontal and vertical members and the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is less than 45 inches, the horizontal members shall be located on the swimming pool side of the fence. Spacing between vertical members shall not exceed 1.75 inches in width.
4a. Most aluminum fencing is constructed in a way that does not allow the horizontal members to be on the swimming pool side of the fence because the vertical members are punched through the horizontal member (insert photo). This means that the horizontal member is actually on both sides of the swimming pool.
[So this code is saying that if there is less than 45 inches between the bottom horizontal rail and the next horizontal rail up, the spacing between the vertical members has to be 1.75 inches or less. Most standard styles of aluminum fencing have spacing of just under 4" between the vertical members so most standard styles of aluminum fencing don't meet this code
Code # 5. Where the barrier is composed of horizontal and vertical members and the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is 45 inches or more spacing between vertical members shall not exceed 4 inches.
5a. Since most aluminum fencing is spaced this way, this is a code that is very important and overlooked. Many people see requirement #1 and think all they need is a 48" high fence but this code says that if your spacing between vertical members is greater than 1.75", you need to have 45" or more between the bottom horizontal rail and next horizontal rail up. You must have a fence that is at least 54" high in order to meet this code using a 3 rail fence.
If you have some or all of these requirements, you most likely have requirements for your gates as well. Most gate requirements say that the gate must open outward away from the pool and that they be equipped with self closing hinges and a self latching device that can accommodate a locking device. The code goes into further detail about the location of the pool fence latch as well. Here is a common code regarding latches:
Code # 6. Where the release mechanism of the self-latching device is located less than 54 inches from the bottom of the aluminum gate, the release mechanism and openings shall comply with the following:
6a.The release mechanism shall be located on the pool side of the gate at least 3 inches below the top of the gate, and
6b.The gate and barrier shall have no opening greater than 0.5 inches within 18 inches of the release mechanism.
In order to meet these requirements, you have to have a special mesh plate made around your latch that is a foot and a half wide surrounding your latch. Luckily, there is a type of latch that can be installed 54 inches or higher onto your gate, even if your gate is only 48 inches tall. This latch is called the Magna Latch and most fence companies sell it. It has a built in locking device and is a great addition to your fence for child safety.
magnalatch pool safety image
Choosing the right fence to surround your swimming pool is a very important process. The proper aluminum pool fence will need to provide safety, meet regulations, and will also have to put the finishing touch on your landscape design. You should definitely check with your local building department to verify exactly what your codes are for installing a fence around a swimming pool. Be sure to do your homework regarding pool fence requirements in your area for many safe years of enjoyment from your pool. Once your pool fence codes are in hand you can call the most trusted and experienced name in the fence industry www.fence-depot.com.
We will be happy to put our 20 years of experience to work for you. Just call us toll free at 1-800-760-5170 . We will assist you in the selection, purchase, and installation processes.
Here are some links to other pool fence related articles and information.