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Laws on Pools & Fences in New York State

swimming pool image by Wolfgang Peinelt from

Home improvements regarding recreation are popular with homeowners across the country. One common addition to homes is the highly revered swimming pool. Every city and state in the United States has its own set of regulations regarding swimming pools and fences. The New York State Department of State Swimming Pool Rules and Regulations can be found in the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code that is otherwise referred to as the "uniform code."

Definition and Barriers

According to the State of New York, a swimming pool is any structure intended for swimming activities that is designed to contain water more than 24 inches deep; this standard includes in-ground, above-ground and on-ground pools. All outdoor swimming pools must have a barrier that surrounds the entire swimming pool. Approved barrier types include a fence, wall, building wall or combination of the three. The barrier must be at least four feet high, or 48 inches, and the space between the ground and the barrier must not be greater than four inches. There are also other specifications regarding the types of materials that comprise the barrier (such as chain link and stone).


While a pool is being installed, it must be enclosed by a temporary enclosure, or fenced in. The fence can either be a temporary or a permanent structure. Regardless of which it is, fences also have regulatory rules and standards. For instance, all fences must be at least four feet tall. If the fence is a permanent structure, it must be completed within 90 days after the date on the building permit that was issued for the construction of the swimming pool. The 90-day limit can be extended by the local code enforcement official if there is good cause such as, for example, the postponement of construction due to the weather.

Pool Alarms

All swimming pools that have been installed as of December, 2006 must be equipped with a pool alarm. Alarms for the pool must be capable of detecting a child that enters the water, classified by the ASTM F2208 standard, and the alarm must be operational without the assistance of any person. The entering of a swimming pool from any point or surface must be detected by an approved pool alarm. Also, acceptable pool alarms can not be located on a person.

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