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pool barrier on raised deck

Discussion in 'Pools, Spas, Hot Tubs' started by Rick18071, Oct 3, 2016.

  1. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    I have someone building a deck by a inground pool. The fence was taken down where the deck is being built. The deck floor is only 28" from grade at it's highest part which is near the pool and down to 0" above grade on the far end. . The deck doesn't need a 36" railing because it is only 28" high. The code for a pool barrier requires the barrier to be 48" above grade.

    So if they build a 20" high railing above the deck floor as part of the pool barrier on the deck the top of the barrier would be the 48" above grade. Would this be complying with code?

    They also want a stairway from the deck to the pool. If they build the gate on the deck on top of the stairs it would it only need to be 20" high from the deck floor too?

    But they need to measure from the bottom of the gate 54" to the latch. So would this comply it the latch was 34" high above the 20" high gate?

    Do they make a pool latch that long?
     
  2. JBI

    JBI Registered User

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    The 48" guard height is measured from the outside of the barrier, not the inside. The intent is to provide a barrier that will reduce the likelihood of a small child climbing over the barrier and accessing the pool.
    Option 1 - Provide a Code compliant barrier around the entire deck.
    Option 2 - Provide a code compliant barrier between the deck and the pool.
    Their choice.
     
  3. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    You may need to measure from the outside of the barrier but also you measure from grade, not from floor.
     
  4. tbz

    tbz Silver Member

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    Rick,

    Forget the deck and look at the exterior of the barrier as a whole.

    If your deck is 28" high and you add 20" on top of it to meet the 48" height from the exterior AND this barrier of 48" meets or exceeds the requirements of the non-climb ability portion of the code either with a 45" vertical clear zone or smooth exterior surface and that the barrier follows the height requirements of the exterior growing in height then I would say you comply for the barrier. But your Barrier would grow from 20" on the high part of the deck to 48" at the ground level of the deck.

    However, you have me total confused with your gate question. You can't have a compliant riser height for the stairs and the gate only be 20" high. If you have an opening for your toe hold over 1.75" square, then that point restarts the 45" clear zone.

    Thus the only way that works is if you don't have compliant stairs accessing the the deck.

    I would need to see a picture or sketch of what you are noting, I am just not following the gate question.

    Tom
     
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  5. steveray

    steveray Sawhorse

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    Like Tom said.....The climbability is a real PITA.....With the 45" because the deck stickout and space under guardrail are usually an issue. Retroing is a nightmare, if you are building new it is only half a nightmare...
     
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  6. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    2009 IRC AG105.2 Outdoor swimming pool.
    An outdoor swimming pool, including an in-ground, above-ground or on-ground pool, hot tub or spa shall be surrounded by a barrier which shall comply with the following:
    1. The top of the barrier shall be at least 48 inches (1219 mm) above grade measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool. The maximum vertical clearance between grade and the bottom of the barrier shall be 2 inches (51 mm) measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool. Where the top of the pool structure is above grade, such as an above-ground pool, the barrier may be at ground level, such as the pool structure, or mounted on top of the pool structure. Where the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure, the maximum vertical clearance between the top of the pool structure and the bottom of the barrier shall be 4 inches (102 mm).

    The code says 48" above grade, not from a floor. The grade is 28" below the deck floor. So if you measure from grade (on the side of the barrier away from the pool) the barrier above the 28" high deck floor only needs to be 20" high to be 48" above grade.

    It seems to me that that the code should require a barrier to be 48" above a walking surface not grade. But there must be a reason why they only wanted to measure from grade.
     
  7. JPohling

    JPohling Sawhorse

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    sounds like an error. I am sure the intent is to have a 48" barrier from the walking surface.
     
  8. FLSTF01

    FLSTF01 Registered User

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    I would have an issue with a "railing" only 20 inches above the walking surface of a deck. If it looks like a railing it should be a railing, in my opinion. I may not be able to back that up with code.
     
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  9. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    SECTION R202
    DEFINITIONS
    .GRADE. The finished ground level adjoining the building at all exterior walls .

    The word "grade" in section AG105.2 is in italics.

    This is what it says in the IRC preface:
    Italicized Terms
    Selected terms set forth in Chapter 2, Definitions, are italicized where they appear in code text. Such terms are not italicized where the definition set forth in Chapter 2 does not impart the intended meaning in the use of the term. The terms selected have definitions which the user should read carefully to facilitate better understanding of the code.
     
  10. my250r11

    my250r11 Sawhorse

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    Our state rewrote Chapter 1 and it allows us to abate unsafe conditions concerning life safety hazards. IMO this would be an unsafe condition and would require a guard to keep someone from falling from the deck into the pool.
     
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  11. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    When it comes to pool barriers, grade starts at the lowest standing surface next to the barrier and goes up from there. Handholds and footholds cause the starting point to rise to the occasion. The idea is to create a nearly insurmountable climb for a child of a certain age. I have seen plenty of well intended barriers that fell short.
    The quickest way to get it wrong is to not have a plan. Then I hear, "Well we didn't think that would be a problem"..... (a 14" high planter) (a series of steps in a block wall) (a 20" high railing above the deck floor)

    Here is one from today. This is on the pool side. There is a doorknob and the diamond mesh is there to keep a kid from reaching the knob through the barrier.

    [​IMG]

    And here we are on the street side. There's another doorknob so that the kid can open the gate. It's even down there at nose level.

    [​IMG]
     
    #11 ICE, Oct 4, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016
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  12. Keystone

    Keystone Registered User

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    Rick,

    We've run into this several times with the exception of the entire deck being a consistent height above grade. I my scenario what we require is give them the following options;
    1.build a solid barrier (no openings) atop of the deck, min height of 48".
    OR
    2. Place a complying fence with gate, latch, swing, etc...

    If they elect to take on #1 then it gets interesting, the stairs to grade must meet the 48" barrier as well and have a boxed out landing area also at barrier height at the base with gate, latch, swing, etc...
     
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  13. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    This is Another case where the intent of the code does not meet the letter of the code.
    It is like requiring a guardrail on a deck and putting in a 18" built-in seat in front of it and wondering why the child fell over the required rail.
     
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  14. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    My problem is that the contractor is giving me a hard time and keeps quoting from the IRC that says 48" above grade.
    We are using the 2009 IRC, does anyone know if this was changed in 2012 or 2015? I have the 2006 IRC commentary which doesn't help. It says "the barrier height of 48" above the ground is based on reports..............".
     
  15. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    Have the owner sign a document that they will take personal responsibility for any drownings
     
  16. steveray

    steveray Sawhorse

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    .GRADE. The finished ground level...The deck is the finish.....At least depending on which side of the pool barrier you are on....
     
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  17. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    SECTION R202
    DEFINITIONS
    .GRADE. The finished ground level adjoining the building at all exterior walls.

    see post #9
     
  18. tbz

    tbz Silver Member

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    Rick,

    It's simple, the universal intent of the barrier requirement from the time of the required non-climbable pool barrier is the 45" clear zone restarts every time you have a new foot hold established. doesnt matter where the grade starts, its dependent on when the barrier compliance is met, and they have to be a minimum of 48", thus you add a foot hold, that just adds to the height. The problem comes in at 72-1/2" when engineering is now required because fences over 72" are required to be engineered.

    This has nothing to do with the a guard requirement. unless I am reading something wrong. That is a seprate issue on its own.

    The height of the barrier of 48" is a minimum, the climbability features restarts the clock.

    If they dont like it, tell them to go over your head, I would not sign off.

    Now If I am reading something wrong here then thats different, but 45" clear zone met with minimum 48" high, there are 2 parts, not just height.

    regards - Tom
     
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  19. tbz

    tbz Silver Member

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    Rick,

    on another note, we have had to establish many a clear zone for clients, here is one that will make you think twice. Client built a stone wall yard raised up, we were going to be installing just a gate and a small section of fence to keep the clear zone from the base of the stair flight. Because of the roughness of the stone wall the entire base of the stonewall was required to fenced in.


    [​IMG]
     
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  20. tbz

    tbz Silver Member

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    Mark,

    The code was changed in 2009 to the guard height starting from the fixed seating of the built in seat, go figure 2 code cycles later building officials voted to have the requirement removed.

    I am not sure what to say other than, it was in and now it is out.
     
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