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A swimming pool fence is a type of fence placed around backyard swimming pools, to create a passive barrier to restrict the access of small children 0–5 years to the swimming pool. Swimming pool fences must have a self-closing and self-latching gate/s to be compliant to most countries' laws and codes.
Swimming pool fences are designed so that young children cannot climb over them or go through them. They are manufactured to strict standards to be sturdy, durable and non-climbable.
Most countries design, manufacture and install swimming pool fences to the International Code Councils (ICC) guidelines.
Main Types of Swimming Pool Fencing
Swimming pool fences are manufactured in several different types, using a variety of materials.
- Vinyl/PVC Fencing
Pool Fence Laws
Countries, states and municipalities within countries have different laws regarding swimming pool fencing laws, ranging from no laws at all to very strict laws and inspection programmes.
Starting from 2010 all states and territories in Australia are in various stages of reviewing their swimming pool fencing laws, requiring swimming pools to be registered with a state body and the implementation of a timed swimming pool barrier inspection program. All swimming pool barrier fencing must comply with Australian Standard for the Swimming Pool Fencing (AS1936).. Although some states and territories have particular laws and regulations, there are some stipulations that need to be abided by right across the nation. These include ensuring the pool fencing is 1200mm high, with a gap of 100mm or less at the bottom or between the panels. There should be no climbable objects within a metre of the pool fencing, and gates should be built so that they swing away from the pool, with a child safety lock secured to the other side.
The Queensland state of Australia has very strict laws by world standards. On 1 December 2010 legislation was implemented that will see all swimming pool barriers in the state inspected and issued with a compliance certificate by 30 November 2015.
The new laws require that swimming pools be surrounded by a four-sided compliant barrier (using the home as one side of the barrier was outlawed) with a minimum height of 1200 mm (48 inches) from permanent ground level and have non-climbable zones of 900 mm (36 inches) in a 180 degree arc measured from the top of the barrier. For non-climbable zones to be compliant there must not be any objects that are more that 10 mm (0.5 inch) in depth and width in the non-climbable zone. Gates are to be self-closing, self latching and not able to be sprung open when force is applied to the bottom of the gate.
The new pool safety laws require that all properties leased or sold must have a swimming pool compliance certificate. Short term accommodation providers and shared swimming pools must be inspected every two years.
All swimming pools in Queensland are required to be registered with the Pool Safety Council. Licensed private swimming pool inspectors inspect swimming pool barriers and issue pool safety compliance certificates.
In 2013 there were 326,000 registered swimming pools in Queensland and 796 active private inspectors.
New South Wales
New South Wales is the only Australian state or territory to require that infinity or drop edge pools have fencing greater than the standard 1200mm height requirement.
The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals has developed a model barrier code for residential swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs; this code has been approved by the American National Standards Institute.
The International Code Council (I.C.C.),outlined strong safety standards for swimming pool fences. In an effort to eliminate or reduce the accidental drowning of children, these standards have been recognized by many communities throughout the world.
In 2006, 283 children under the age of five drowned in swimming pools in the United States.
The I.C.C. pool safety standards specify that:
- The fence must be a minimum of 48 inches tall
- The middle horizontal rail must be at least 45 inches above the bottom horizontal rail
- The spacing between pickets must be less than 4 inches.
- The space between the bottom horizontal rail and the ground must be less than 2 inches.
- The gate(s) must be self-closing and self-latching.
- The gate(s) need to open outward (away from the pool area).
- The operating mechanism of the latch must be at least 54 inches from the bottom of the gate or it shall be on the pool side of the gate at least 3 inches below the top AND shall not have any opening greater than 1/2 inch within 18 inches of the release mechanism.
France was the first European country to introduce swimming pool barrier compliance regulations, applying from 1 May 2004. Failure to comply can result in a €45,000 fine. Spain publicly reported that they would soon follow suit.
Canada, The United Kingdom, New Zealand and South Africa also have swimming pool fencing laws.
- QLD Pool Safety Regulations & Laws Pool Safety Inspections. Retrieved on 2013-11-07.
- Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine
- 36-1681 - Pool enclosures; requirements; exceptions; enforcement