The American authorities have strict rules and regulation concerning installation of screen pool enclosure. There are federal laws, however, states and local authorities are also enforcing additional rules and regulations.
In general, all these mainly revolve around user safety, as you can see from the state, county and country codes. The U.S. authorities’ work closely with various organizations to ensure proper enforcement of these laws are actually implemented. These include:
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- American Red Cross
- National Safe Kids Campaign
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Association of Pool & Spa Professional.
Aim of the article:
To introduce swimming pool enclosure kits manufacturers and pool users on the basic laws that govern the use of screen pool enclosures.
It provides a summary, with useful links to the various sources of the laws and requirements. Again, as you read this article, remember the local authority or state requirement may be stricter than the standard constructions codes and regulations.
Here is a complete PDF of new pool enclosure rules in the U.S. You can read this at your own time. Again, there are those counties and states that have enforced even more rules and regulations.
A summary of screen pool enclosure rules and regulations
Definition of terms
In any swimming pool fence regulation document the following two terms are commonly used:
Swimming pool – according to the State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, this is a structure, tank or chamber filled with water for swimming, recreational bathing, wading or diving.
Pool enclosure – a structure that is built around the swimming pool to create a barrier between the water and external environment. This can be in the form of a wooden pool fence, wire mesh, solid wood or polycarbonate sheet.
In the U.S., it is a requirement that – A swimming pool or any section that contains water must be enclosed by a subsection. Whether it is an aboveground or belowground section.
Specific requirements for a screen pool enclosure
Enclosing the entire swimming pool area
Swimming pool fence regulations state that, the entire area around the swimming pool should be enclosed with a fence of at least 4 feet high.
Alternatively the pool should be covered completely with a screen pool enclosure. The choice of materials must conform to the ASTM safety standards for swimming pool.
This is clearly outlined in the ASTM F15, ASTM F1346 and ASTM F2208 standards, amongst others. Both aluminum and polycarbonate sheets used in the construction process must conform to the ASTM standards.
Openings on the swimming pool enclosure
Any opening on the screen pool enclosure must not exceed 4 inches in diameter. This restriction mainly applies for the wall barriers.
Polycarbonate swimming pool screen enclosures may be constructed with ventilation systems, but, are mainly fitted on the top section of the enclosure.
This is never a major concern if you opt for polycarbonate enclosures – they completely cover the pool thus, no opening.
Pool enclosure gates
All gates should have a self-locking mechanism. At times, this is referred to as self-latching or self-closing. Apparently, swimming pool enclosure kits manufacturers have adopted the childproof locking technology.
The lock should be about 5 to 4 inches from either sides of the gate (bottom or top). Again, the gate should open outward from the swimming pool.
Minimum distance from the swimming pool to the enclosure wall
There should an allowance of not less hat 20 inches from the edge of swimming pool water to the wall of the pool enclosure. That is, the distance between the edges of the swimming pool to the retractable rails.
Swimming pool alarms
This is not a requirement for those with the polycarbonate swimming pool covers. However, for those without must be fitted with an alarm, according to the ASTM F2208 regulations. This is mainly for safety measure.
Pool screen enclosures with lockable doors guarantee safety and prevents unauthorized personnel from accessing the swimming pool area.
Consideration for above ground swimming pools
At times, one may wish to mount an enclosure on top of the pool structure. When mounted on top of the pool structure, the space between the top of the pool structure and bottom section must not exceed 4 inches.
Swimming pool screen enclosure attached to main house
For swimming pools that are accessible from the main house, all doors and windows must be locked at all times. They should act as a barrier.
Screen pool enclosures that no one can climb on
You should have a “non-climbable zone”. That is, there must be no handles on the enclosure surface that kids can grip. Again, any decorations around the swimming pool such as shrubs, pots or barbeque should be at least 90 cm from the wall of the pool enclosure.
There must be no horizontal climbable bars on any section of the pool enclosure. Any reinforcements must be done from the interior section of the pool enclosure.
Pool enclosure ventilation system
The ventilation systems should be located on the highest side of the screen pool enclosure – upper most section. It should have a locking mechanism too.
Follow recommended maintenance procedures
There should be a regular maintenance process. This is to ensure all screws, bolts and fasteners are tight and in good working condition. This is a sure way of preventing any faults that may compromise on safety and security of pool enclosures.
The bottom line
These rules and regulations are revised from time to time just like the building codes in various states in the U.S.A. Normally, as the swimming pool owner, you may not know about these changes, however, your contractor should. This why you need to hire a qualified and fully licensed contractor.
As you might have realized, all regulations mainly focus on safety and unauthorized access to swimming pool. The United States is really committed to reducing the number of kids who drown in swimming pools every year.
When you ignore these safety measures, you will definitely be prosecuted by the state. This will be an assumption that, you are deliberately trying to risk other people’s lives.
For a fact, buying quality screen pool enclosure is not enough, you need to hire trained and qualified technicians who understand what the law requires.