Swimming pool regulations change
by Sarah Fay Campbell
Because of changes to the state building code, all swimming pools in the state of Georgia have to be fenced in if they are at least 2 feet deep.
That means many of the smaller, above-ground pools must have fences around them. And not just any fence.
Under a new ordinance passed Tuesday by the Coweta County Board of Commissioners, chain-link fencing is no longer considered acceptable for a pool fence. Neither is anything considered lattice.
Fences must be 48 inches tall.
The new rules don’t apply to existing pools, only new ones.
They also will apply to smaller pools that are disassembled and stored during the winter, and put back up in the warmer months.
Earlier this year, the state of Georgia adopted the section of the 2012 International Building Code regulating swimming pools and spas. The new code defines pools as those used for recreational bathing that are more than 2 feet deep. Previously, Coweta County ordinance only regulated pools 4 feet deep or deeper.
The building code allows the use of chain link and lattice fencing. It also allows the side walls of an above-ground pool to be used as part of the 48-inch high barrier.
But Coweta County’s ordinance requires the fence or barrier must be at least 3 feet away from the pool.
Outdoor hot tubs are also considered swimming pools under the international building code. They can be covered, with a heavy, lockable cover, in lieu of being fenced. The cover must be able to support the weight of a 50-pound child and a 225-pound adult.
The changes to the fencing rules are intended to reduce the ability of children to climb the fence and get into a pool.
Under the building code, if a fence has “horizontal members” and the horizontal members are less than 45 inches apart, the space between the vertical slats must be one and three-quarters inches or less. If the horizontal members are more than 45 inches apart, the vertical slats can be 4 inches apart.
As with most of Coweta County’s other ordinances, enforcement will be based on complaints.
“If a pool pops up and the neighbor is concerned about it not having a barrier” they can file a complaint with code enforcement, said Coweta County Administrator Michael Fouts.
“Calls are placed to code enforcement and we send our officer out to see if there is a violation,” Fouts said. If there is one, “we try to work with them to come into compliance. Because a lot of people aren’t going to understand or may not be aware of the change,” Fouts said.
While chain link fencing is considered one of the cheaper fencing materials, other options, such as pre-made aluminum fencing panels, aren’t much more expensive, according to Fouts.