Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

June 22, 2013

Pool owners get fence warnings

Staff reports
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — In the past week, four homeowners have received notices from the city warning them that their swimming pools are not compliant with building code.

In every case, the pool is of the inflatable variety.

Building inspectors are seeing more inflatable swimming pools across the city. Relatively inexpensive, and easy to set up and take down, they seem like a very practical alternative to the conventional, and costlier, permanent above-ground pool.

In the eyes of the law, however, inflatable pools are above-ground pools — and they’re subject to certain safety regulations, according to Chief Building Inspector Jason Dool.

New York State building code requires fencing around swimming pools that are between 2 and 4 feet in height, and fencing of all inflatable pools more than 2 feet high since their walls are not rigid.

Also, the fencing is supposed to be at least 4 feet (48 inches) high, with no openings larger than 4 inches, and with a gate that is both self-closing and self-latching.

In addition, owners are supposed to get a building permit from the city before installing a pool. Inflatable pool owners should get a permit prior to setting up the pool the first time, and hang onto it, Dool said. Permit renewal is not required each time the pool is deflated and re-inflated.

Despite their temporary nature, inflatable swimming pools are considered structures and thus are subject to building code. Most people are surprised to learn that, Dool said.

The point of the fencing or “barrier” requirement is to prevent small children from entering or falling into deep water while the pool is unattended. According to Dool, inflatable or hard plastic “kiddie” pools, which are less than 24 inches high, don’t have to be fenced.

For more information about requirements for swimming pools, call the building inspection department at 439-6754.