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The 2012 International Residential Code, Appendix G, defines a swimming pool as “any structure intended for swimming, recreational bathing or wading that contains water over 24 inches deep. This includes in- ground, above ground and on-ground pools.”
The IRC further controls the design of barriers for residential swimming pools. These design controls are intended to provide protection against potential drownings and near-drownings by restricting access to swimming pools.
Appendix G (IRC) and Section 3109 (IBC)
The standards below apply to residential swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs.
Outdoor swimming pools (including in-ground, above-ground or on-ground pools, and hot tubs/spas) must be completely surrounded by a barrier or fence that meets that following standards:
If a dwelling wall serves as part of the pool barrier, one of the following safety measures must be taken:
When a barrier mounted on top of an above-ground pool or the pool itself are used as barriers, the ladder or steps used to access the pool must be secured, locked, or removed to prevent access when the pool is not in use; the removal of the ladder/steps should not create any opening that would allow the passage of a sphere 4 inches in diameter. Alternatively, the ladder/steps must be surround by a barrier that meets the requirements outlined above.
Walls that surround indoor pools should comply with the standards for pool enclosures that incorporate a dwelling wall as part of the barrier.
Pool barriers should be located so that permanent structures, equipment, or similar objects cannot be used to climb the fence.
Spas or hot tubs with a safety cover that complies with ASTM F1346 are exempt from the barrier requirements described above.
PLEASE READ THIS LIST OF DETAILED DESIGN CONTROLS IN IT’S ENTIRITY AS THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THE PRESCRIPTIVE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE SWIMMING POOL BARRIER. It should also be noted that a Final Inspection by the Rutherford County Building Codes Department for compliance of the barrier requirements MUST be completed prior to the swimming pool being used.
What do I need to do prior to obtaining my Building Permit?
In order to verify that your swimming pool will not encroach your septic tanks, lines or designated duplicate area, you will need to provide a copy of the design layout of your Subsurface Sewage Disposal System (septic system). If you do not have a copy of this form, please visit the Tennessee Department of Environmental and Conservation office (Room 215 of our office building). A Zoning Compliance Form will also need to be obtained from the Rutherford County Planning and Engineering Department (Room 200 of our office building) prior to permit issuance. You will be asked to locate the proposed location of the swimming pool on grid paper, this drawing does not have to be to scale but the dimensions, etc. must be accurate. The building inspector will use all of the above mentioned paperwork to complete you Final Pool Inspection, in order to avoid unnecessary delays in permit issuance or completing the inspection, it is advised that you take the time to take measurements and know the exact location of your pool prior to coming down to our office to obtain your permit.
Issuance of the Building Permit
To issue a Building Permit for a residential swimming pool permit the Property Owner must sign a Swimming Pool Barrier and Alarm Agreement and have it notarized (can be completed at Building Codes Office when permit is issued if homeowner is obtaining the permit him/herself). This form ensures that you, as the property owner, understand all the barrier design controls required prior to the Final Inspection. In addition to the Building Permit fee there is a fully refundable deposit of $100 due at the time of permit issuance. This deposit will be fully refunded to the recipient upon completion of the Final Inspection within 6 months from the date of permit issuance. This should not, however, be misinterpreted as having 6 months to call for your Final Inspection. As mentioned above, the swimming pool cannot be used until all the Barrier requirements have been met and a Final Inspection has been completed and passed. It is the responsibility of the Property Owner/permit holder to call for the Final Inspection. If a Final Inspection is not requested and the 6-month time period expires, this does not relieve you of the requirements of the Barrier Agreement you signed. If a Final Inspection is not requested, the permit will become null and void and the swimming pool will be deemed an illegal structure.