Public Pool Barriers Policy
This section provides guidance for staff, contractors and permit holders in addressing and correcting barrier problems. NAC 444.010-546 set the established basis for the design and construction of public bathing places. This document is not intended to replace, but only to supplement and explain, those documents.
The regulations of the State Board of Health (NAC 444.136) excerpted below is interpreted to mean that all pools permitted by the health district must have an approved barrier in place, unless they fall under the NAC 444.136.7 exemption for large resort-type facilities, with an approved written exemption plan in the permanent health district file.
Architectural plans for the specific barrier to be constructed must be submitted with the initial application and plans, or may be submitted at a later date as a revised plan (additional fees will apply). An approved barrier plan specific to the pool under construction must be approved prior to execution of the plan.
Any changes to the footprint or the materials used for the existing barrier will require a new plan submission as part of a minor remodel permit.
The barrier installed at all public pools must be impenetrable to children and offer no footholds or handholds within the barrier space (see figure 1). For a hotel, motel or other place of lodging, or a trailer park, apartment, condominium or other facility containing multiple dwelling:
- The barrier space must be no less than 5 feet (60 inches) from grade to the top of the barrier or any foothold or handhold present. There may not be any footholds or handholds within the 5 foot barrier space. All barriers will be measured for compliance from grade to the top of the horizontal bar (handhold) for vertical height – the space between the bottom horizontal bar and grade must not exceed 4 inches.
- Vertical members may not have more than 4 inches of space between the nearest vertical member faces; care must be taken by fabricators when choosing materials for vertical members – measurement is made between vertical faces, and vertical members may not flex more that 1/8 of an inch. Minimum 5/8 inch hollow bar stock or greater is recommended.
- The space between grade and the bottom face of the lowest horizontal member may not be more than 4 inches.
- The barrier must have a self-closing, self-latching gate, with the latch height at least 42 inches, but not more than 48 inches (ADA) above grade.
- The barrier must be constructed in a manner that prevents designs in the barrier itself from becoming handholds or footholds.
Other permitted pools not associated with a hotel, motel or other place of lodging, or a trailer park, apartment, condominium or other facility containing multiple dwelling must have at least a 6 feet (72 inches) barrier, with the same stipulations provided for lower opening space (4 inches), vertical spacing (4 inches) and horizontal footholds or handholds within the 6 foot barrier area. (See typical barrier detail below, Figure 1).
Resort hotels which fully surround a pool facility, and which have doors and/or gates that enter onto the deck from the hotel common areas, may submit plans for approval that specify how access to the pool deck will be controlled and monitored 24 hours a day. The Health Authority will approve or disapprove such plans as safety concerns dictate. Nothing in this policy will be construed to allow unrestricted access from common areas inside or outside the resort hotel, such as parking lots, or to allow courtyard-style pools in which individual guest rooms open directly to the pool deck without an intervening barrier.
Existing Barrier Compliance – Change of Owner
On existing vertical member or wall pool barriers, meeting all other criteria as noted above, the fencing / barriers within 10 percent (e.g. 6 inches for a 60 inch barrier) of the uninterrupted barrier space requirement will be considered to be in substantial compliance with the regulation.
Standard-sized chain link fencing provides footholds and handholds within the barrier space, and must be retrofitted with privacy slats, wired in place, or tennis netting, similarly secured to the outside of the fence. The retrofit must result in an uninterrupted barrier space compliant with the necessary barrier height for pool type (5 or 6 foot minimums).
Other means of making a barrier impenetrable must receive prior written approval from the health district.
NAC 444.136 — Barriers; exclusion of unauthorized persons.
- Provision must be made to exclude unauthorized persons from any pool or pool area. A pool must be surrounded by a fence, wall, building or other barrier that completely encloses the pool area and otherwise complies with the requirements of this section. No part of a pool enclosure may be used for common foot traffic.
- The barrier must be impenetrable for small children and must not offer any external handholds or footholds.
- In the case of a swimming pool operated solely for and in conjunction with a hotel, motel or other place of lodging, or a trailer park, apartment, condominium or other facility containing multiple dwellings, the barrier must be not less than 5 feet (1.5 meters) in height. Courtyard-type concepts in which gates or doors open directly into a pool enclosure from a dwelling unit or hotel or motel room are not permitted. In any other case, the barrier must be not less than 6 feet (1.8 meters) in height.
- Any vertical members in the barrier must not be more than 4 inches (10.16 centimeters) apart.
- Any opening at the bottom of the barrier must not be more than 4 inches (10.16 centimeters) in height.
- Any gate or door that opens into the pool area:
- Must be equipped with permanent locking devices and self-closing and positive self-latching mechanisms. Self-closing and self-latching mechanisms must be located not less than 3 1/2 feet above the ground.
- Must self-close and positively self-latch from any open position.
- Must not be blocked open or otherwise disabled to prevent closing and latching.
- Must, in the case of an indoor pool, be made of metal and installed in a metal frame. The operator of the pool shall periodically inspect each such gate or door to ensure that it is operating properly.
- Facilities, such as large resort hotels, which have continuous, 24-hour-a-day security of the pool area may be exempt from the requirements of this section.
- Where existing construction prohibits compliance with the requirements of this section, the owner shall file with the health authority an operation procedure which will serve to ensure the exclusion of unattended small children from the pool.
Updated on: October 11, 2018