In-ground pools can be a whole lot of fun and they are very popular in Texas, however, if you want to have a pool, Texas State law also requires that you install a secured fence around it. The most numerous and serious pool accidents happen to occur in the State of Texas (according to the CDC), so there are laws in place to protect yourself, both physically and legally, as well as others.
You might not know this, but if you don’t have a fence, you can be heavily fined or held liable for negligence if a child from the neighborhood falls in and gets hurt, even if they never had permission to use your pool in the first place. Since this isn’t really a choice or up for debate, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty on pool fencing requirements in and near Austin Texas, and what options that leave us.
The fencing around your pool must be 48 inches in height or taller. Horizontal slats or rails that can be climbed are prohibited. Although vertical slats or bars are permitted the gaps must prevent a ball with a 4 inch diameter from passing through them. Likewise, gaps at the bottom of the fence can be no taller than 4 inches. Other restrictions include chain link fences that children could easily climb over. Putting chain link fencing up around a pool as a primary barrier is illegal. There are still several options that are aesthetically pleasing that will also fulfill state law requirements, such as wood privacy fences and ornamental iron fences. Some people desire a more stylish look with these fences and have achieved that with horizontal slatted wood fencing. In your creative searching, be aware that decorative openings in any direction must be less than 1 ¾ inches and all fence attachments need to be on the inside of the fence, closest to the pool.
Pool Gate Requirements
Of course, you can’t have a fence without a gate and you can’t have a gate without laws! A gate that gives access to a swimming pool in the State of Texas must be at least 48 inches tall. The pool gate must be self-closing and self-latching, as well as lockable. You may secure the gate by using a padlock, a keypad entry, a card-operated lock or a combination lock. The gate latch must also be a minimum height of 54 inches off the ground. The gate must swing outward, away from the pool to make it more difficult for a small child to open it with the self-closing hinges.
Using a Wall From Your House
One way to spare yourself part of the expense of a swimming pool fence is to use a wall of your house as one complete side of the fence. If you choose to do this, there are some requirements, of course. All doors leading to the swimming area must be self-closing and self-latching with a keyless bolting device, located between 36 and 48 inches off the ground – in addition, the door must also sound an alarm every time it opens. French doors require a deadbolt lock, while sliding doors require both a bar lock as well as a pin lock. Walls of a house serving as a pool barrier may not contain windows that open and allow access to the pool.
Above Ground Pool Fencing Requirements
You may have guessed that all these rules also apply to above ground pools. If you did, you’d be right. Some municipalities might make exceptions to certain types of pools, but in general in the State of Texas, the rules stay the same. You still need a complete fence and a gate with all the bells and whistles.
When you’re building a pool, it’s a good idea to consider all of the laws required when it comes to pool access. Make sure everything is in place to keep you and your family, and even the neighbor’s family, safe while everyone has fun and enjoys cooling off from the hot Texas sun. Abiding by the law is the best way to avoid getting fined and to protect yourself and others. We at Butler Contracting are prepared to assist anyone in Bastrop County and the surrounding area to help you find the best solutions to all of your pool fencing needs.