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  1. #1
    Tony Escamilla's Avatar
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    Default Pool Code Question

    Can anyone tell me what the pool code was in 1994 regarding fencing? When did the fencing become required? A code section would really help. Thanks.

    Tony Escamilla
    Villa Home Inspections
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Pool Code Question

    I think you would need to know what was required in your specific area.

    I would not worry so much as what it was in 1994, as you can't grandfather a safety item.

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 08-21-2009 at 04:14 PM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
    Tony Escamilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pool Code Question

    Sorry, I should have mentioned that I'm in California.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Pool Code Question

    Code or no code if you inspect a home with a pool and it does not have a safety fence or meet up with current standards for fencing, you'd best to write it up.

    After a child falls in and drowns because of deficiencies or lack of in a fence its not going to really matter what was code or not code.

    JMHO

    rick


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Pool Code Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I think you would need to know what was required in your specific area.

    I would not worry so much as what it was in 1994, as you can't grandfather a safety item.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Escamilla View Post
    Sorry, I should have mentioned that I'm in California.

    Scott meant your city and county, things like that were basically locally adopted back then.

    Also as Scott said ... it does not matter, a child can drown in a 1994 built pool with no barrier just as quickly as in a 2009 pool with no barrier.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
    Tony Escamilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pool Code Question

    This was actually a code specific inspection so I needed the actual code. Here's what I found: The 1988 UBC is the first mention of pool fencing requirements.

    Of course I'm going to make a big deal about it and I always hand out the CPSC pool safety recommendations along with my report, regardless of the code.

    Thanks all.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Pool Code Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Escamilla View Post
    This was actually a code specific inspection so I needed the actual code.
    Tony,

    IF you are doing a "code specific inspection" on an older home, then you will need to call the city (or county) the home is in and find out what codes were applicable *at that time* and NOT rely on any code you find just because it has a "mention" of it.

    And that applies to ALL applicable codes.

    There is NO WAY *I* would do a "code specific inspection" on an older home without having the grubby little code books in my hands and reviewing them FIRST (before the inspection), while at the inspection, then after the inspection while writing the report, AND all that time would be charge to the job.

    Taking on a code specific inspection without the codes in hand is not only risky and foolish, it is unprofessional as well. That may sound blunt, but it IS correct.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
    Tony Escamilla's Avatar
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    Talking Re: Pool Code Question

    Jerry,

    What I didn't mention on my original post is that besides being the owner of an inspection company, I am also a code enforcement officer for a local municipality. When I said code specific inspection, I meant a municipal housing inspection. So it's neither risky nor foolish and quite professional when I'm acting in the capacity of a code officer. And I do happen to have all those grubby little code books They're quite cool to look up old codes. I wish we could catalog and search for the changes and additions easier though.

    The pool in question was built in 1994 when the fencing was clearly required (in this city). Though when I inspected it recently, there was no fencing, so I am requiring it to be installed. As a home inspector, I cant require it, but strongly recommend it. As a code officer, I can require it. One of the perks of the job

    Oh, and if anyone is wondering, there is no conflict in me owning a home inspection business and working as a code officer. I have an agreement with my city that neither me or any of my employees can do business in this city.

    Thanks for the info everyone. As usual, I knew I could get good answers here.

    Tony


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Pool Code Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Escamilla View Post
    I am also a code enforcement officer for a local municipality. When I said code specific inspection, I meant a municipal housing inspection. So it's neither risky nor foolish and quite professional when I'm acting in the capacity of a code officer.
    Ahhh ... THAT little fact changes EVERYTHING.

    And I do happen to have all those grubby little code books They're quite cool to look up old codes.
    I agree, which is why I have as many old code books as I have, and why I would like many more.

    I wish we could catalog and search for the changes and additions easier though.
    That can be done ... what kind of budget do you have in mind ...

    As a code officer, I can require it. One of the perks of the job
    Agreed. When I do code inspections there are trades offs to be made over doing home inspections or construction consulting: as a plus, the code inspector "requires" the non-conforming items to be corrected; as a negative, the code inspector cannot go out beyond the strict limits of the code where a home inspector or consultant is free to go.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Pool Code Question

    There is probably a State code for pool barriers. If you found it in the UBC it was probably more in the direction of a public pool and not a private pool. The requirements in the IRC are in the appendices so if a municipality didn't adopt the appendices then there is not a code that covers them...unless a specific ordinance was adopted.

    I do know that the great State of Texas has had swimming pool barriers as a requirement under the Health and Safety code since 1993...or even before but that is the earliest I can find easily!

    I'm sure California had something in place before Texas ever thought about it!


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Pool Code Question

    Do you adopt the CBC or UBC in that jurisdiction?


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Pool Code Question

    tony,
    i believe the health and safety code provisions for pool barriers was enforced at that time. it was a little more restricted than the provisions for the 1991 ubc. check with the jurisdiction. if they are finally getting around to building a barrier it shall comply with current regs.chapter 31B 2007 CALIF BLDG CODE.no grandfathering clause.


  13. #13
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    Thumbs up Re: Pool Code Question

    Tony,

    You may have found the necessary info, but just in case, this would be the 'CA Health & Safety Code' info that your jurisdiction should have adopted:

    SWIMMING POOL SAFETY REQUIREMENTS
    "The Swimming Pool Safety Act," Section 115920 California Health & Safety Code, dealing with child safety around swimming pools commenced January 1, 1998. A recent amendment to this legislation became effective on January 1, 2007. Any permit application for the construction of new and remodeled swimming pools will be subject to this new state law.
    What is required?
    New and remodeled swimming pools, toddler pools and spas must be isolated from the home by one of the following seven methods:
    1) Enclosure – An approved fence, wall, or barrier serving as an enclosure that separates the pool from the house; or,
    2) Removable Mesh Fencing - The pool shall incorporate removable mesh pool fencing that meets American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Specifications F 2286 standards in conjunction with a gate that is self-closing and self-latching and can accommodate a key-lockable device; or,
    3) Safety Cover – The pool shall be equipped with an approved safety pool cover that meets all requirements of the ASTM Specifications F 1346; or,
    4) Exit Alarms –The residence shall be equipped with exit alarms on those doors providing direct access to the pool; or,
    5) Self-Closing, Self-Latching Doors - All doors providing direct access from the home to the swimming pool shall be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor; or,
    6) Swimming Pool Alarms - Swimming pool alarms that, when placed in pools, will sound upon detection of accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water. These pool alarms shall meet and be independently certified to the ASTM Standard F 2208 "Standards Specification for Pool Alarms" which includes surface motion, pressure, sonar, laser, and infrared type alarms.
    Swimming pool alarms shall not include swimming protection alarm devices designed for individual use, such as an alarm attached to a child that sounds when the child exceeds a certain distance or becomes submerged in water; or,
    7) Other Means of Protection - Other means of protection, if the degree of protection afforded is equal to or greater than that afforded by any of the devices set forth above, and have been independently verified by an approved testing laboratory as meeting standards for those
    devices established by the ASTM or the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
    Note: Per most city zoning code sections, a five-foot fence with self-latching gates that swing out away from enclosure shall surround all pools.
    What are the requirements for an enclosure?
    Enclosures are intended to keep children from entering the pool area and must meet the following minimum construction requirements:
    1) Enclosures must be at least 5' (five feet) high.
    2) The maximum gap between the bottom of the enclosure and the ground must not exceed 2" (two inches).
    3) Gaps or voids in the enclosure must be less than 4" (four inches).
    4) The enclosure shall be free of handholds or footholds that could allow a child below the age of five to climb into the pool area.
    5) Enclosure access gates must open away from the pool area, be equipped with a self closing and self latching device with a release mechanism placed not lower than 60" (sixty inches) above the ground.
    What about hot tubs and spas?
    Hot tubs or spas that have a locking safety cover that complies with the American Society for Testing Materials-Emergency Performance Specifications (ASTM-ES 13-89) are exempt from these requirements.
    Key Definitions
    A. "Swimming pool" or "pool" means any structure intended for swimming or recreational bathing that contains water over 18 inches deep. "Swimming pool" includes in-ground and above-ground structures and includes, but is not limited to, hot tubs, spas, portable spas, and non-portable wading pools.
    B. "Enclosure" means a fence, wall, or other barrier that isolates a swimming pool from access to the home.
    C. "Approved safety pool cover" means a manually or power-operated safety pool cover that meets all of the performance standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), in compliance with standard F1346-91.
    D. "Exit alarms" means devices that make audible, continuous alarm sounds when any door or window that permits access from the residence to the pool area that is without any intervening enclosure, is opened or is left ajar. Exit alarms may be battery operated or may be connected to the electrical wiring of the building.

    Hope this helps,

    Steve Lottatore


  14. #14
    erika krieger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pool Code Question

    Attention New York based inspectors: New York's pool barrier requirements date to the 80's, and INCLUDE retroactive provisions. Current regs can be found in the Residential Code, Appendix G for new and renovated pools, and in the Property Maintenance Code for retroactive- NYS versions of course. Additionally, since 2006, new or substantially renovated pools are required to install a pool alarm.


  15. #15
    Tony Escamilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pool Code Question

    Thanks everyone for the information. I love this site. You folks have such a wealth of knowledge. I found the code in question, that was adopted in my jurisdiction. It was the 1988 UBC. I required them to install a new barrier to todays requirements since the removed the old one all together. Ha ha. I love my job(s).

    Thanks again all.


  16. #16
    Tony Escamilla's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Pool Code Question

    PS, Jerry, I'm in the process of scanning all the grubby little books I can get my hands on through my jurisidiction. Maybe we can help each other?


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Pool Code Question

    Tony,

    Sounds good.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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