Is Pool Fencing Required in Maryland?
Are you dreaming about relaxing by the pool this summer? Eager to start construction as soon as the weather warms up? Thankfully, winter gives us plenty of time to plan for our home improvement projects, so when the excavation time comes, you know exactly what to expect. And if you are reading this article right now, you are probably researching your options for Maryland pool fencing. While it is an added expense on top of already pricy pool construction, it’s likely your pool won’t pass inspection without proper fencing.
Pool Fencing Code in Maryland
Pool fencing regulations in Maryland are determined on the county and city levels. But because most counties have adopted the 2012 International Residential Code, these regulations are very similar. In general, Maryland residents are required to build a fence around an in-ground pool that is more than 24 inches deep at any point. The fence should be at least 48 inches tall. Coincidentally, most counties require permits to be obtained for fences over 42 inches tall, so you will have to go through some paperwork and inspections with the fence as well.
As for above-ground pools, they don’t require fencing if they are at least 48 inches tall. However, this height should be maintained for a 48-inch radius around the pool. This means if you have a deck that is level with your above-ground pool similar to how hot tubs are built into decks, a fence is needed.
Requirements for a Pool Fence
The specific requirement may vary by the county, so please check with your local municipality to make sure your fence meets the code. In most counties, however, the following requirements are true:
- If the horizontal bars of the fence are spaced out 48 inches or longer, then the maximum space between the boards or pickets is 4 inches.
- If the horizontal bars are spaced out 45 inches or less (i.e. when there is a bar going though the middle of the fence), the spacing between the boards shouldn’t be more than 1 ¾ inch and the board/pickets should be located on the pool side of the fence.
- The clearance between the bottom of the fence and the ground shouldn’t be more than 2 inches.
- The gate should have a self-closing and self-latching mechanism.
Some of these requirements might seem arbitrary, but there is a reason they are accepted and widely used. A pool fence built to these specifications will reduce the likelihood of small children and/or pets squeezing through the fence, climbing over it, digging under it or accidentally wandering into the pool area. According to the CDC, accidental drowning is the leading cause of death for children between 1 and 4 years old, and swimming pools are by far the most common location where such accidents happen. So even if your local building codes say nothing about the need for a pool fence, it’s still a good idea to install one if you have children or pets.
We hope you will choose Outdoor Specialties to install your Maryland pool fence. We’ll be happy to work with you on selecting the right materials for your project and building a fence that is up to code. Bookmark our site, so that you can revisit it when there’s time to dig your pool.