General Overview of Pool Safety Codes

The information contained on this page is intended as a general overview of pool safety codes and may not apply to you. It is vital that before ordering, you check your local laws and regulations as they may vary from the Building Officials and Code Administrators (B.O.C.A.) standards. We cannot be responsible if the fence you order does not meet your local codes.

Pool Fence Minimum Requirements

All swimming pools shall be enclosed within a fence or other barrier, at least four feet high, which can only be entered by bathers through self-closing and positive self-latching doors or gates. The knob or handle controlling the latch shall be at least 40 inches above grade. The gate or door shall be locked and access to pool prevented when the pool is not supervised. For existing swimming pool fences, no opening shall exceed four inches.

All swimming pools, including wading pools, shall be provided with an enclosure, which shall comply with the following:

  • Shall be at least four feet in height and have a maximum vertical clearance to grade of two inches.
  • Where a picket-type fence is provided, horizontal openings between pickets shall not exceed 4 inches
  • Where a chain-link fence is provided, the openings between links shall not exceed 3/8 inches.
  • Enclosure shall be constructed so as not to provide openings, handholds or footholds accessible from the exterior side of the enclosure that can be used to climb the fence.
  • Pickets and chain-link twists shall extend above the upper horizontal bar.
  • Such enclosure shall have railings and posts within the enclosure, which shall be capable of resisting a minimum lateral load of 150 pounds applied midway between posts and at top of posts, respectively. Enclosures, fence material or fabric shall be capable of withstanding a concentrated lateral load of 50 pounds applied anywhere between supports on an area 12 inches square, without failure or permanent deformation.
  • Gates provided in the enclosure should open out from the pool. Gates must be self-closing and self-latching, with the latch handle located within the enclosure. The latch must at least 40 inches above grade, or be secured by a padlock or similar device which requires a key, electric opener or integral combination
  • A wall of a multiple dwelling is permitted to serve as part of the enclosure, provided that there is no direct access from the dwelling to the pool.

Pool Fencing Can Prevent Child Drownings

Many of the 330 children under five years of age who drown each year in backyard pools could be saved if homeowners completely fenced in the pool and installed self-closing and self-latching devices on gates.

The U.S. Consumer Project Safety Commission (CPSC) said child drowning’s are the second leading cause of accidental death around the home to children under five years of age.

A CPSC survey of home pool drowning’s and near-drowning’s in parts of three states revealed that most of these drowning’s occurred in a pool owned by the child’s family. For every drowning there are eleven near drowning incidents, according to government statistics; many of which result in totally disabling brain damage. Almost half the children involved in the accidents were last seen in the house, presumably safe from harm, prior to being found in the pool. In three of every four of these accidents, the children were seen five minutes or less before being “missed” and subsequently discovered in the pool. While there is no substitute for supervision of children, a barrier designed to prevent them from reaching the pool, even from the house, could have prevented many of these accidents.

Other Considerations

CPSC said that many communities do have, codes or regulations that require fences around residential pools, but may allow the house to serve as one side of the barrier However, a fence completely surrounding the pool is better, Fences should be a minimum of four feet high, although fences feet or higher are preferable.

If the home serves as one side of the barrier, all doors leading to the pool should be self-closing and have self-latching devices beyond the reach of children to prevent them from opening the door and gaining access to the pool.