Building codes for pool fences were adopted by state and local jurisdictions from voluntary codes devised by a building association known as BOCA, which stands for Building Officials and Code Administrators. This organization was later adopted into a later one called the ICC (International Code Council), but the term BOCA codes remains in standard use.
Because the BOCA pool fence codes are used by local government agencies, compliance is mandatory. Each state or locality may enforce slightly different variations of the code. Aluminum is the material of choice for pool fencing because of its resistance to corrosion and lower conductivity of electricity. A steel pool fence may act as a lighting rod, which is not a wise addition to a pool area.
Why are BOCA codes important when building an aluminum pool fence?
One important reason is that if local or regional BOCA pool fence codes are not followed, your pool fence will need to be replaced. If that is not incentive enough, the reason that the BOCA codes were designed and adopted was to protect children from accidental drowning. The BOCA codes attempt to prevent children from going over, under, or around pool fences.
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (cpsc.gov), three hundred children under the age of five die each year from accidental drownings, while two thousand are rushed to emergency rooms after being submerged under water.
What do the BOCA codes recommend for aluminum pool fences?
BOCA code recommendations that are mandated by state and local regulations include:
- Pool fencing should be at least forty eight inches high, measured from ground level, and any gap between the fence bottom and the ground shouldn't be greater than two inches. The ground level should be finished, such as concrete, so no variations occur at any place along the fence's perimeter.
- Vertical fence rails should not be greater than four inches apart. This prevents small children from slipping between the rails.
- If a middle horizontal rail is present, it should be placed at least forty five inches above the bottom rail. This minimizes a child's ability to climb over a pool fence.
- Pool fence gates should swing outward, away from the pool, and should be self closing and latching. Latches should be at least fifty four inches from ground level.
These codes are the minimum standards for aluminum pool fence construction. Local codes may be more stringent, and should be consulted when applying for a building permit.