Owning a pool is on almost everyone’s wish list. Pools can offer hours of enjoyment, but they also come with great responsibility. The greatest of these responsibilities is ensuring the safety of those who come into contact with the pool.
With this in mind, there are certain safety regulations that must be followed regarding pool fences.
These 10 regulations are required whether you build your own pool or hire a fencing contractor:
Build 48 to 60 Inches Tall. While some states allow for a four-foot fence, several require five. With this in mind building a five foot or higher fence is optimal. This is high enough to prevent very small children from climbing over.
Bottom Gap No More than Four Inches. The wall on the farthest end of the pool needs to be no greater than four inches from the ground. For areas with a movable ground, such as dirt, pebbles or grass, the gap should be reduced to no higher than two inches. Animals and kids love to dig and you don’t want them to dig their way under the fence.
Small Openings. Your fence should not have any openings in it that are larger than four inches in diameter. Smaller is always more preferable. A fencing contractor will be able to help you find the correct gap sizing. The idea is to make the gap small enough where a young child’s head won’t fit through and get caught and most adult hands won’t fit.
Inside Rails. If your fence has both vertical and horizontal rails, the horizontal rails should be located inside the fence to prevent easy access. Horizontal rails are often much easier to remove. The vertical ones are normally embedded in the ground.
Vertical Rails. When placing the vertical rails, they should not be placed more than 1-3/4 inch apart. A fencing contractor will use this measurement when determining how many rails are needed to build the fence. You don’t want someone to be able to slip between the rails.
Chain Link Fencing. The squares in the mesh of a chain link fence need to be no larger than 1-1/4 inches in size. This can be increased to 1-3/4 inches if there are slats placed at both the top and bottom, but choosing smaller size is more preferable. For lattice fencing, the maximum size of any gaps is 1-3/4 inches.
Gates and Locks. Access gates to the pool should be hung to swing outward, away from the pool. They also need to be self-closing and have a latch that automatically sets in place when the gate closes. Talk with your fencing contractor about any concerns you have about the gate latching automatically.
Choice of Placement. If you have a pool that is completely above ground, you may choose to place your fence on the pool, rather than on the ground. In-ground pools need fences built on the ground. In most cases, a fence built on the ground is better as it gives a greater distance between the fence and pool should someone get inside the fence.
Self-Latching Gates. In addition to the self-latching gate for pool access, if there are any other gates in the fence, they should not only be self-latching but also have controlling switches placed three inches from the top of the gate. There should be no openings greater than a half an inch anywhere within a foot and a half of the latch. You don’t want the latch to be close enough for an adult to reach through and open the gate.
If Your House Is Part of the Fencing. When one side of the fencing barrier is your home, any door that offers direct access to the pool needs to have an audible alarm attached. This alarm must be set to activate whenever those doors are opened. This may seem annoying to many, but if you have kids or pets, it could make all the difference should they become curious and open the door.