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San Ramon LogoPool and Spa Fencing Requirements


Appendix Chapter 4 2001 UNIFORM BUILDING CODE


419.1 Scope. The provisions of this section apply to the design and construction of barriers for swimming pools located on the premises of Group R, Division 3 Occupancies.

419.2 Standards of Quality. In addition to the other requirements of this code, safety covers for pools and spas shall meet the requirements for pool and spa safety covers as listed below. The standard listed below is a recognized standard. (See Section 3504.)

  1. ASTM F 1346, Standard Performance Specification for Safety Covers and Labeling Requirement for All Covers for Swimming Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs

For the purpose of this section, certain terms, words and phrases are defined as follows:

  • ABOVEGROUND/ON-GROUND POOL. See definition of "swimming pool."

  • APPROVED SAFETY POOL COVER means a manually or power-operated safety pool cover that meets all of the performance standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), in compliance with Standard F 1346-91. 

  • BARRIER is a fence, wall, building wall or combination thereof that completely surrounds the swimming pool and obstructs access to the swimming pool.

  • ENCLOSURE means a fence, wall or other barrier that isolates a swimming pool from access to the home.

  • EXIT ALARMS means devices that make audible, continuous alarm sounds when any door or window that permits access from the residence to the pool area, that is without any intervening enclosure, is opened or is left ajar. Exit alarms may be battery operated or may be connected to the electrical wiring of the building.

  • GRADE is the underlying surface, such as earth or a walking surface.

  • HOT TUB. See definition of "spa, nonself-contained" and "spa, self-contained."

  • IN-GROUND POOL. See definition of "swimming pool."

  • SEPARATION FENCE is a barrier that separates all doors of a dwelling unit with direct access to a swimming pool from the swimming pool.

  • SPA, NONSELF-CONTAINED, is a hydromassage pool or tub for recreational or therapeutic use, not located in health-care facilities, designed for immersion of users and usually having a filter, heater and motor-driven blower. It may be installed indoors or outdoors, on the ground or on a supporting structure, or in the ground or in a supporting structure. A nonself-contained spa is intended for recreational bathing and contains water over 24 inches (610 mm) deep.

  • SPA, SELF-CONTAINED, is a continuous-duty appliance in which all control, water-heating and water-circulating equipment is an integral part of the product, located entirely under the spa skirt. A self-contained spa is intended for recreational bathing and contains water over 24 inches (610 mm) deep.

  • SWIMMING POOL PUBLIC means a swimming pool operated for the use of the general public with or without charge, or for the use of the members and guests of a private club. Public swimming pool does not include a swimming pool located on the grounds of a private single-family home.

  • SWIMMING POOL or POOL means any structure intended for swimming or recreational bathing that contains water over 18 inches (457 mm) deep. "Swimming pool" includes in-ground, and above-ground structures and includes, but is not limited to, hot tubs, spas, portable spas and nonportable wading pools.

  • SWIMMING POOL, INDOOR, is a swimming pool that is totally contained within a residential structure and surrounded on all four sides by walls of said structure.

  • SWIMMING POOL, OUTDOOR, is any swimming pool that is not an indoor pool.


421.1 Outdoor Swimming Pool. An outdoor swimming pool shall be provided with a barrier that shall be installed, inspected and approved prior to plastering or filling with water. The barrier shall comply with the following:

1.  The top of the barrier shall be at least 60 inches (1524 mm) above grade measured on the side of the barrier that 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 that faces away from the swimming pool. The maximum vertical clearance at the bottom of the barrier may be increased to 4 inches (102 mm) when grade is a solid surface such as a concrete deck, or when the barrier is mounted on the top of the aboveground pool structure. When barriers have horizontal members spaced less than 45 inches (1143 mm) apart, the horizontal members shall be placed on the poolside of the barrier. Any decorative design work on the side away from the swimming pool, such as protrusions, indentations or cutouts, which render the barrier easily climbable, is prohibited.

2.  Openings in the barrier shall not allow passage of a 1 3/4-inch-diameter (44.5 mm) sphere.


1. When vertical spacing between such openings is 45 inches (1143 mm) or more, the opening size may be increased such that the passage of a 4-inch-diameter (102 mm) sphere is not allowed.

2. For fencing composed of vertical and horizontal members, the spacing between vertical members may be increased up to 4 inches (102 mm) when the distance between the tops of horizontal members is 45 inches (1143 mm) or more.

3. Chain link fences used as the barrier shall not be less than 11 gauge.

4. Access gates shall comply with the requirements of Items 1 through 3. Pedestrian access gates shall be self-closing and have a self-latching device. Where the release mechanism of the self-latching device is located less than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the bottom of the gate, (1) the release mechanism shall be located on the pool side of the barrier at least 3 inches (76 mm) below the top of the gate, and (2) the gate and barrier shall have no opening greater than 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) within 18 inches (457 mm) of the release mechanism. Pedestrian gates shall swing away from the pool. Any gates other than pedestrian access gates shall be equipped with lockable hardware or padlocks and shall remain locked at all times when not in use.

5. Where a wall of a Group R, Division 3 Occupancy dwelling unit serves as part of the barrier and contains door openings between the dwelling unit and the outdoor swimming pool that provide direct access to the pool, a separation fence meeting the requirements of Items 1, 2, 3 and 4 of Section 421.1 shall be provided.

EXCEPTION: When approved by the building official, one of the following may be used:

1. Self-closing and self-latching devices installed on all doors with direct access to the pool with the release mechanism located a minimum of 54 inches (1372 mm) above the floor.

2. An alarm installed on all doors with direct access to the pool. The alarm shall sound continuously for a minimum of 30 seconds within seven seconds after the door and its screen, if present, are opened, and be capable of providing a sound pressure level of not less than 85 dBA when measured indoors at 10 feet (3048 mm). The alarm shall automatically reset under all conditions. The alarm system shall be equipped with a manual means, such as a touchpad or switch, to temporarily deactivate the alarm for a single opening. Such deactivation shall last no longer than 15 seconds. The deactivation switch shall be located at least 54 inches (1372 mm) above the threshold of the door.

3. Other means of protection may be acceptable so long as the degree of protection afforded is not less than that afforded by any of the devices described above.

6. Where an aboveground 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, then (1) the ladder or steps shall be capable of being secured, locked or removed to prevent access or (2) the ladder or steps shall be surrounded by a barrier that meets the requirements of Items 1 through 5. When the ladder or steps are secured, locked or removed, any opening created shall be protected by a barrier complying with Items 1 through 5.

421.2 Indoor Swimming Pool. For an indoor swimming pool protection shall comply with the requirements of Section 421.1 Item 5.

421.3 Spas and Hot Tubs. For a nonself-contained and selfcontained spa or hot tub, protection shall comply with the requirements of Section 421.1.

EXCEPTION: A self-contained spa or hot tub equipped with listed safety cover shall be exempt from the requirements Section 421.1.

As revised by Assembly Bill 3305, includes definitions from CBC 3150 B (Division II - Private Swimming Pools)



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