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Pool Fencing Guide (BOCA / ICC Codes)
Last Updated: 02/10/2012
Ornamental aluminum fence around a community.

This article is a general information guide and may not apply to your specific pool fencing application. Before purchasing a pool fence, check your local regulations and laws as they may vary from the national standards listed below.

Swimming Pools can provide years of enjoyment and family activity, but they can also be a danger zone for small children if not well protected. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, accidental drowning is a leading cause of death among children under 5 years old. They find that many pool related accidents are avoidable with proper safeguards and supervision; a pool fence is just one of those safeguards.

This guide will walk you through some types of pool fencing materials and national standards that a pool fence should adhere to. The fences that Signet Fence sells as “pool fence” in our online store meet ICC (BOCA) National Residential Pool Fence codes if installed according to the manufacturers specifications. You are responsible for ensuring that a fence complies with your state and local pool codes before ordering online.

ICC Pool Codes (aka. BOCA Pool Fence Codes)

ICC Codes are a set of minimum standards that encompass all aspects of the construction industry, including pool fencing (aka. pool barriers). The pool fence code section is an attempt to protect against drownings and near drownings by defining a barrier that will prohibit a child from gaining access to the pool by going under, over, or through.

The following is our interpretation of the 2009 ICC Codes for residential in-ground pools. There may be other codes applicable to your situation which are not listed here. For more information, including how to purchase a copy of the ICC codes, please visit http://www.iccsafe.org.

  • Installed pool fences should be at least 48” high from finished ground level, as measured along the outside of the fence and should have no more than a 2” gap from the bottom of the fence to the ground .
  • The fence should block anything more than 4” in diameter from passing through one of its openings.
Fence panel designed to BOCA codes
  • The fence or barrier must not be climbable. If made of stone or brick (ie. a brick wall), it should not have protrusions or indentations other than normal construction tolerances and tooled masonry joints. It must also be positioned far enough away from permanent structures so that they do not provide climbing assistance.
  • Pedestrian Pool fence gates must be self closing, must open outwards from the pool, and must have a self latching/locking device. Gates that are not meant for pedestrian use must have a self latching device.
Pool Fence Diagram

The following code applies to chain link pool fences.

  • Chain link fences should have a mesh no larger than 2 1/4 inches unless the fence is provided with privacy slats fastened at the top or bottom which reduce the opening to 1 3/4" or less.

The following code applies to fences with diagonal members such as lattice pool fences

  • Lattice type fences should have no opening more than 1 3/4 inches between diagonals.

Pool Fence Materials

Code compliant Pool Fences can be built from many different materials, but some are better suited to the task than others. This section provides a short overview of several types of popular pool fencing materials, including benefits and drawbacks.


Aluminum is a lightweight, low maintenance fencing material that is an excellent choice for pool fencing because of its physical attributes; it is strong and will not rust.


Steel is a sturdy fencing material that is a popular option for pool fencing. The look and feel of steel fencing closely matches that of aluminum, but it is heavier, stronger. When choosing steel fencing, make sure to choose a product with a high quality coating; that should protect your fence from rust.


Wood can be used to make a secure pool fence in either picket style or privacy style . Wood is relatively inexpensive when compared to aluminum, composite, and steel fencing. However, wood is higher maintenance than other materials, requiring periodic painting or staining.


Composite fences like those from FenceScape feature the look and feel of natural wood but without the maintenance. A premium fence material, composites not only offer protection, but can enhance the visual appeal of your property.

Composite fences are a component system created from boards, rails, and posts, so they can be designed to meet local and national pool codes.

Chain Link

Chain Link is an extremely affordable, low maintenance fence material. Made from galvanized steel tubing and a mesh of steel wire, chain link is strong, durable, and secure. Chain link can also be an effective privacy fence with the addition of privacy slats. One drawback of chain link fence is its industrial look and feel, which may be an issue if you are looking for a pool fence that also adds to the visual appeal of your property.


Vinyl is an attractive, low maintenance fencing material that comes in a wide variety of styles and colors. Slightly more expensive than wood, vinyl fence eliminates the need for staining and painting, and has a long life span.

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