Do I Need a Pool Fence? Know the Requirements

Pool Fence Requirements

It’s starting to get hot, and we’re all stuck indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic shelter-in-place orders.

If you’ve got kids, you’re really feeling the strain.

For many people, an in-ground or above-ground pool can be a great way to pass the time over the summer.

However, it’s important to consider the safety precautions of owning a pool before you decide to install one in your backyard.

International Swimming Pool and Spa Code

While every state, county, and city will vary on their pool regulations, normally they are based on the International Building Code (IBC) International Swimming and Spa Code which is updated every three years.

The IBC recommends that outdoor swimming pools and spas should be surrounded by a barrier which:

  • Is at least 4 feet tall
  • Has a 2- to 4-inch or less clearance (depending on hard or soft ground surface) from the bottom of the fence to the ground
  • Does not allow a 4” diameter sphere to pass through any openings
  • Is not easily climbable
  • Is self-closing, self-latching, and lockable

While these regulations are not law, many states and cities follow the recommendations.

When you want to be sure you’ve made the best effort to keep your pool safe, check with the IBC.

Illinois Pool Fence Requirements

According to the Illinois Private Swimming Pool Enclosure Act, “new outdoor swimming pools on private residential property must be enclosed by a fence, wall, or other effective permanent barrier of 42 inches [3.5 feet] or greater height.

Check with your county or city ordinances to make sure that they do not have more restrictive guidelines for pool fence requirements.

Additionally, check with your county or city to see if they specify between in-ground and above-ground pools.

Iowa Pool Fence Requirements

In Iowa, the minimum requirements for residential pool fences is a recommendation to install barriers to prevent children from getting into the pool accidentally without parental supervision.

According to Iowa’s Swimming Pools and Spas Public Health regulations, “[all] swimming pools shall be enclosed by a fence, wall, building, or combination thereof not less than 4 ft high. The enclosure shall be constructed of durable materials.”

However, as with Illinois, you should also check with your specific city to find out if you need a fence around your pool as their ordinances may differ from Iowa’s state requirements.

Iowa pool fences must:

  • Be 4 feet tall or greater
  • Be non-climbable by a toddler
  • Have self-closing/self-latching locking gates
  • Not allow a 4” sphere to pass through the barrier (like a ball)

Why Are Pool Fences Important?

Pool fences are important and required in most places because they work to prevent tragic accidents from happening.

When a fence or other barrier is in place around a pool, there is a reduced chance that a child may end up accidentally falling into a pool.

Because of this, pool fences also provide you with some protection against any accidents happening on your property.

Plus, they protect you from violating state or local law.

Have Questions About Your Pool Fence?

The law can be confusing. That’s why VanDerGinst Law is here to help.

We are happy to answer your questions about pool fences or direct you to the right resources to learn more.

Please contact us for more information. 

The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.