This month’s question comes from George in Los Angeles:
“Hi Kari, with summer on the way, what can you suggest I look at regarding pool gates and railings at my buildings?”
Hi George! Thank you for such a great question! There are many safety and code enforcement points to look at, but let me give you a few tips as an overview:
Tip 1: Pool gates must close automatically
All doors providing direct access to the swimming pool shall be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 60 inches above the ground, and can accommodate a key lockable device.
Tip 2: Gate must open and close in direction of walkway
Any access gates through the enclosure must open away from the swimming pool.
Tip 3: Two inches maximum gap at bottom of gate and railings from ground
Gaps or voids, if any, must have a maximum vertical clearance, from the ground to the bottom of the enclosure, of two inches.
Tip 4: Maximum gap between vertical rails
Code enforcement requires that no greater than a maximum of four inches of space exist between vertical railings. Gaps or voids, if any, must not allow passage of a sphere equal to or greater than four inches in diameter.
Tip 5: Enclosure
Your building’s pool must have a fence, which completely surrounds the pool, and have a minimum height of 60 inches. The enclosure must be built without handholds or footholds so a child cannot climb over it.
Pool fences should also allow visibility from all angles, from outside of the pool area perimeter, to help avoid unnecessary accidents.
Tip 6: Gate maintenance
Keep your gates and railings well-painted and protected from rust, and regularly inspect for rust and cracking. Pool gates that are not well maintained pose a terrible hazard. The metal becomes rusted and cracks in sharp pieces, creating a dangerous cut hazard because the chemicals used in maintaining the pool (chlorine and acids) can cause heavy wear and tear on metal. Fences and metal surfaces should be touched up at least twice a year to avoid rusting and metal disintegration.
Tip 7: Stay informed
For the latest information on California swimming pool requirements, follow the California Department of Public Heath at: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/environhealth/water/Pages/CaliforniaPublicSwimmingPoolRequirements.aspx