Pool Barrier Codes in the US: From Generic to State-Specific

Pool FencePool fencing is a basic requirement for pool ownership. It increases safety and keeps you covered by your insurance. In fact, many companies will only provide coverage when there is a fence. Good thing it is not a big deal whether your pool fencing is DIY or not, because what matters is it follows the standards.

In the US, there are state-by-state pool fencing regulations present in any of the following:

  • Statutory codes
  • Administrative codes
  • Building codes
  • Zoning ordinances

International Codes: General Point of Reference

The Section 3109 of International Building Code and Appendix G of International Residential Codes serve as a reference for state regulations on pool fencing. Both have similar content for detailed guidelines on pool fences.

Enumerated below are among those similarities.

Barrier Height

It must be a minimum of 4 feet high from the exterior side, and the bottom of the fence must not exceed 2 inches above the ground.


Openings in barriers must not be more than 4-inch in diameter sphere, while those without must have no protrusions.

Horizontal and Vertical Members

Tops of horizontal members with less than 45-inch gaps must be on the pool side of the fence. It must also have a 1.75-inch or less space between vertical members and within decorative cutouts. If more than 45 inches apart, the gap between vertical members must be 4-inch or less. Within cutouts, spacing must not be more than 1.75 inches. The same applies to diagonal openings. For gates, it must have a lock, open outwards and are self-closing and self-latching.

State lawmakers often adopt international construction codes for the detailed guidelines they provide. These tend to get amended too, especially when there is a need for localized fencing rules. That’s why pool owners must verify that their fencing meet all the local requirements.

The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals has similar model barrier codes for swimming pools, hot tubs and spas at home.