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If you have a residential swimming pool, safety should be your number one priority at all times. A fence surrounding your pool is a vital tool for keeping everyone safe. It can prevent children from falling into the water and drowning, keep animals safe, and help to keep the pool clean. 

Although there is no country-wide pool fence law in the U.S., most states have their own pool rules. Many adhere either fully or partially to a set of rules for swimming pool fences commonly known as BOCA pool codes. Whether your state or homeowner’s association demands it or not, following BOCA rules can be a great way to make sure your family can enjoy your home pool safely. 

Anyone installing their own DIY pool fence in aluminum will need to be well-versed in the BOCA pool code, particularly if it is enforced in their state, city, or authority.

Here is our guide to BOCA and how to choose BOCA-compliant fencing.

Residential Aluminum Fence - Style 10 - 2 Rail Flat Top

What exactly does BOCA mean?

BOCA stands for the Buildings Officials and Code Administrators International Inc. It is a not-for-profit agency that is concerned with the establishment and enforcement of building codes. Established in 1915, BOCA encourages states to adopt uniform building codes. BOCA enforces the codes it makes; they can only be enforced when a city, state, or authority has formally adopted them. 

What are BOCA pool codes?

In May 1999, BOCA first drew up a set of codes related to swimming pools and swimming pool safety. Included in this code is the requirement that all outdoor private swimming pools that are in-ground, above-ground, or on-ground have a barrier in place.

What are BOCA’s main requirements when it comes to pool fencing?

Anyone living in a jurisdiction that requires strict adherence to BOCA pool codes will need to make sure their aluminum DIY pool fence features:

• A barrier that is at least 48 inches high

• Less than 4 inches of space between pickets

• Less than 4 inches between the ground and the bottom of the fence or gate panel

• Self-closing and self-locking gates that must open away from the pool

• All gates must have a locking device with a release system 54 inches above the ground

• There must be 45 inches of free vertical space between the bottom rail and the next rail up

All of these regulations are designed to stop young children from being able to gain access to the pool area alone. The full list of BOCA requirements can be found at https://www.myboca.us/DocumentCenter/View/6699/Swimming-Pool-Safety-Act-PDF

How do BOCA rules affect me when installing a DIY pool fence in aluminum?

Before installing your new aluminum pool fence, it is necessary to find out what rules and regulations are in force where you live. You may be required to adhere fully to the BOCA pool safety act or part of it. If no regulations are in place, you may wish to consider installing BOCA-compliant fencing to gain peace of mind that your loved ones are as protected as they can be around your swimming pool. 

When selecting your aluminum panels for a BOCA-compliant pool surrounding, there are many attractive options available. You may consider, for example, a two-rail flat top design, a flat top flush bottom rail, or a flat top with a spear flush bottom rail design, which are BOCA-compliant if set to the right height.