Building a pool in your backyard can be an exciting and creative home project, but the design must adhere to codes set by state and local regulations. Generally, pool decks should be at least 4 feet wide, but requirements might be more or less stringent in your area. You should consult your local building code office to confirm the rules that apply to your situation.
Pool Deck Width
In many areas, both public and private pools are required to have a complete deck surrounding all sides that is at least 4 feet wide. No objects should obstruct the deck, except for structural supports, diving boards, handrails and other equipment related to the pool. Many codes require a walkway of 42 inches where those obstructions are. Measure the width of the deck from the edge of the pool's lip. There should not be any unpaved surfaces, including planters and flower beds, within 4 feet.
Pool Deck Requirements
The deck must consist of slip-resistant and non-abrasive material. Concrete or similar material is usually appropriate. A slippery surface, even if it is 4 feet or wider, might not be acceptable. The deck must be flush with the top of the pool wall. if you have a raised deck installed within 4 feet of the pool, it will need to be lowered to adhere to regulations. Codes might also require a declining slope of a quarter inch per foot of deck for drainage and safety.
Most backyard pools require a 4-foot-wide deck, but certain types of pools might not have these requirements. Plunge pools, lazy rivers, temporary training pools and wave pools can be exceptions to the rule. Spas require a deck of 4 feet, but only around 50 percent or more of the perimeter. Above-ground spa decks must be at the ground level. If a pool and spa are located next to each other, there should be a deck width of 6 feet between them. You might be able to get approval to cover the deck with artificial material by contacting local code enforcement.
Additional regulations for residential pools vary by region. Some areas have restrictions for diving boards based on pool depth or might not allow diving boards at all. Steps for entry and exit are often required at both the shallow and deep ends of the pool, along with handrails. Additional design requirements, including slope, drainage and materials are also regulated by local building codes.