Florida Building Code SECTION 454 Swimming pools and bathing places
(The updated version of this is in SWIMMING POOLS AND BATHING PLACES – FLORIDA BUILDING CODE 6TH EDITION (2017))
4188.8.131.52 Outdoor swimming pools.
Outdoor swimming pools shall be provided with a barrier complying with Sections 4184.108.40.206.1 through 4220.127.116.11.14.
The top of the barrier shall be at least 48 inches (1219 mm) above grade measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool.
The maximum vertical clearance between grade and the bottom of the barrier shall be 2 inches (51 mm) measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool. Where the top of the pool structure is above grade the barrier may be at ground level or mounted on top of the pool structure. Where the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure, the maximum vertical clearance between the top of the pool structure and the bottom of the barrier shall be 4 inches (102 mm).
The barrier may not have any gaps, openings, indentations, protrusions, or structural components that could allow a young child to crawl under, squeeze through, or climb over the barrier as herein described below. One end of a removable child barrier shall not be removable without the aid of tools. Openings in any barrier shall not allow passage of a 4-inch-diameter (102 mm) sphere.
Solid barriers which do not have openings shall not contain indentations or protrusions except for normal construction tolerances and tooled masonry joints.
Where the barrier is composed of horizontal and vertical members and the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is less than 45 inches (1143 mm), the horizontal members shall be located on the swimming pool side of the fence. Spacing between vertical members shall not exceed 13/4 inches (44 mm) in width. Where there are decorative cutouts within vertical members, spacing within the cutouts shall not exceed 13/4 inches (44 mm) in width.
Where the barrier is composed of horizontal and vertical members and the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is 45 inches (1143 mm) or more, spacing between vertical members shall not exceed 4 inches (102 mm). Where there are decorative cutouts within vertical members, spacing within the cutouts shall not exceed 13/4 inches (44 mm) in width.
Maximum mesh size for chain link fences shall be a 21/4-inch (57 mm) square unless the fence is provided with slats fastened at the top or bottom which reduce the openings to no more than 13/4 inches (44 mm).
Where the barrier is composed of diagonal members, the maximum opening formed by the diagonal members shall be no more than 13/4 inches (44 mm).
Access gates, when provided, shall be self-closing and shall comply with the requirements of Sections 418.104.22.168.1 through 422.214.171.124.7 and shall be equipped with a self-latching locking device located on the pool side of the gate. Where the device release is located no less than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the bottom of the gate, the device release mechanism may be located on either side of the gate and so placed that it cannot be reached by a young child over the top or through any opening or gap from the outside. Gates that provide access to the swimming pool must open outward away from the pool. The gates and barrier shall have no opening greater than 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) within 18 inches (457 mm) of the release mechanism.
Where a wall of a dwelling serves as part of the barrier, one of the following shall apply:
- All doors and windows providing direct access from the home to the pool shall be equipped with an exit alarm complying with UL 2017 that has a minimum sound pressure rating of 85 dBA at 10 feet (3048 mm). Any deactivation switch shall be located at least 54 inches (1372 mm) above the threshold of the access. Separate alarms are not required for each door or window if sensors wired to a central alarm sound when contact is broken at any opening.
- Screened or protected windows having a bottom sill height of 48 inches (1219 mm) or more measured from the interior finished floor at the pool access level.
- Windows facing the pool on floor above the first story.
- Screened or protected pass-through kitchen windows 42 inches (1067 mm) or higher with a counter beneath.
- All doors providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device with positive mechanical latching/locking installed a minimum of 54 inches (1372 mm) above the threshold, which is approved by the authority having jurisdiction.
Where an above-ground pool structure is used as a barrier or where the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure, and the means of access is a ladder or steps, the ladder or steps either shall be capable of being secured, locked or removed to prevent access, or the ladder or steps shall be surrounded by a barrier which meets the requirements of Sections 4126.96.36.199.1 through 4188.8.131.52.9 and Sections 4184.108.40.206.12 through 4220.127.116.11.14. When the ladder or steps are secured, locked or removed, any opening created shall not allow the passage of a 4-inch-diameter (102 mm) sphere.
Standard screen enclosures which meet the requirements of Section 454.2.17 may be utilized as part of or all of the “barrier” and shall be considered a “nondwelling” wall. Removable child barriers shall have one end of the barrier nonremovable without the aid of tools.
The barrier must be placed around the perimeter of the pool and must be separate from any fence, wall, or other enclosure surrounding the yard unless the fence, wall, or other enclosure or portion thereof is situated on the perimeter of the pool, is being used as part of the barrier, and meets the barrier requirements of this section.
Removable child barriers must be placed sufficiently away from the water’s edge to prevent a young child or medically frail elderly person who may manage to penetrate the barrier from immediately falling into the water. Sufficiently away from the water’s edge shall mean no less than 20 inches (508 mm) from the barrier to the water’s edge. Dwelling or nondwelling walls including screen enclosures, when used as part or all of the barrier and meeting the other barrier requirements, may be as close to the water’s edge as permitted by this code.
A wall of a dwelling may serve as part of the barrier if it does not contain any door
or window that opens to provide direct access from the home to the swimming pool.