The Pool Owner’s Guide to Fences and Gates

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As we previously mentioned in our Buyer’s Guide for Residential Iron Fences, there are certain state and federal regulations if you’re a landowner with a pool on your property, whether your pool is on residential or commercial land. In the State of Texas, it’s required for pool owners to install and maintain a fence and gate around their pool to prevent accidental drowning. The City of Houston also has its own codes that regulate pool fences.

Houston pool owners can learn the law of the land by reading Texas’ Health and Safety Code, Title 9, Chapter 757, and Chapter 43 of Houston, Texas’ Code of Ordinances. But as you can tell by the titles, these codes and laws are riddled with legal language that is bound to give most readers a headache.

To make your life easier, we’ve outlined the state and city laws you should know in language you can understand.

 

Texas State Regulations for Pool Fences & Gates

 

Texas regulations related to pool safety and enclosures make up nineteen pages of Texas Health and Safety Code. A large chunk of these regulations cover doors and windows around a pool area, but for the sake of this guide, we will only stick to regulations that apply to fences and gates.

The following regulations apply to “pool(s) owned, controlled, or maintained by the owner of a multiunit rental complex or by a property owner’s association”. So if you live in the State of Texas and you own an apartment complex with a pool or you live in a neighborhood with an HOA and have a pool in your yard, the following regulations apply to you.

 

Texas’ Pool Fence Regulations

 

The following regulations apply to pool yard enclosures, which include but aren’t limited to fences.

 

  1. You must have an enclosure that is at least 4 feet tall around your yard or pool area.
  2. There cannot be an opening larger than 4 inches under your yard’s enclosure.
  3. A spherical object with a diameter of 4 inches cannot be able to pass through any openings in your yard’s enclosure. In other words, there cannot be a gap larger than 4 inches in any area of your fence.
  4. Chain link fence cannot be used as a pool enclosure.
  5. Your yard enclosure cannot have features on or around it that make it easy to climb.

 

 

Texas’ Pool Gate Regulations

 

  1. Gates built into your pool enclosure must be self-closing and self-latching.
  2. Gates must be able to lock with either a padlock or built-in lock.
  3. Gates must open outward from your pool.
  4. In most cases, gate latches must be 60 inches from the ground. Latches can be 42 inches from the ground if the gate can only be opened with a key, card, or combination.

 

In Texas, HOAs and property owners are responsible for complying with these laws and could be fined up to $5,000 or be held accountable if the above requirements aren’t met.

 

Houston’s Ordinance Codes for Pool Fences

 

Houston’s ordinance code follows the same rules for pool fences and gates outlined in the Texas State regulations above, but Houston’s regulations are more specific. The most important thing to remember if you’re a Houston pool owner is that you must have a residential pool permit. And part of obtaining a pool permit is having your yard enclosure inspected by a qualified City of Houston health and safety inspector.

 

Now is where things begin to get confusing. If you live in the Greater Houston Area, Keep in mind that pool permit ordinances vary by tax zone. Although you may have a Houston address, that doesn’t always mean you’ll get your permit from the City of Houston. For instance, the Harris County Engineering Department and the City of Houston both offer pool permits. If you live in other associated townships in the Houston area such as Katy or Bellaire, you may have other permitting obligations as well.

 

So how do you know where to get your permit from?

 

This is one of those questions that’s difficult to solve with a quick online search. The best thing to do if you’re a residential or commercial pool owner in Texas is to check with all the governing bodies that may apply to you to make sure you have all the permits you need before installing your pool or getting a new enclosure for your existing pool. You should take care of this before you call us about a new fence.

 

If you live inside Houston city limits contact the 3-1-1 City of Houston Service Helpline. If you live outside Houston City Limits-  like many of Texas Fence customers- contact your local governing agency for assistance.

And if you have a pool, and you need a fence, call us (281) 807-7900.