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Swimming Pools and the NYS Building Code

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As summer and the hot days approach the installation of new swimming pools and opening of existing pools begins. As pools are installed and opened we should also give our attention to pool safety particularly where children are concerned.

The NYS Building Code has a large number of requirements for pools which are directed towards child safety and drowning prevention. The initial issue is that any pool, hot tub, spa, whirlpool or other structure intended for swimming or recreational bathing which has a design water depth of more than 24 inches requires a building permit for installation. This includes the inflatable pools which are put up in the spring and taken down in the fall.

The primary concern with pools is the barrier requirements. All pools or other structures intended for swimming or recreational use are required to have a barrier at least 48 inches above grade and this barrier must be rigid. Above ground pools which sit at least 48 inches above the adjacent grade may meet this barrier requirement; however the inflatable pools do not meet this requirement even if they are 48 inches deep as the walls of the pool are not rigid. In ground pools are required to be fully fenced with a minimum fence height of 48 inches. In addition all access areas to the pool must be secured, ladders to above ground pools must either be foldable or removable to prevent access to the pool and all gates through fences for in ground pools must be self closing and have child proof latches. If a house is part of the pool barrier all doors with direct access to the pool must be alarmed.

In addition to the above barrier requirements, in December 2006, New York State adopted a new rule which required that all new pool installations or pools which undergo significant repairs must be equipped with a pool alarm which meets the standards of ASTM 2208. Some of the requirements of this standard are a remote alarm location (in the house) the alarm requires a manual reset and cannot be adjusted or turned off. Based on the local prices I have seen this alarms cost between $100 and $200 or more.

There are a number of other specific requirements for the installation of pools and we have a pool information package at the Building Department which is available for anyone to pickup. Also I am always available to answer questions and help with the requirements for pool installations. The Building Department can be contacted at 542-4574.

Please, if you plan to open or install a new pool contact the Building Department and ask for information and hopefully we can keep this a safe summer in regards to pools.