Swimming Pools and Permits
Did you know?
What is a swimming pool?
The Alberta Building Code (2014) defines a swimming pool as a structure, basin, or tank; containing an artificially created pool of water used for swimming, recreation, bathing, diving, wading, healing or therapy, religious rituals or other purposes; and includes all buildings, equipment and facilities used in connection with it. If the swimming pool and/or deck does not meet the Land Use Bylaw requirements, an application must be made for a Development Permit prior to making an application for a Building Permit.
Pools can be classified into three categories:
- Above ground, exterior pool. A pre-manufactured pool built from a kit or installed by a pool manufacturer. The Alberta Building Code sets out a number of guidelines for this type of pool.
- Exterior, in-ground pool. Must be designed and approved by a registered Alberta professional engineer.
- In-ground, covered/interior pool. Must be designed and approved by a registered Alberta professional engineer. A mechanical HVAC system designed by a professional engineer is required.
Do I Need to Fence My Pool Area?
The Alberta Building Code states the following for fence and gate design and construction of private swimming pools and for their required protection:
Fence and gate design
- The entire area of an outdoor swimming pool shall be protected by a fence, building wall or enclosure that can prevent access by unauthorized persons. Its height above the outside ground level shall not be less than 1.8 m (6’-0”) for a private swimming pool.
- An opening for access through a fence around a private swimming pool shall be protected by a gate that is; the same height as the fence; · equipped with a self-closing device; · equipped with a self-latching device on the inside of the gate located not less than 1.5m (5’-0”) above the ground level; and · capable of being locked.
- The fence and gate around a swimming pool or a private swimming pool shall be constructed so that all horizontal and diagonal members are located on the swimming pool side. The space between fencing members is limited to 100 mm (or 4’).
- Barbed wire shall not be used on or for a fence or gate around a swimming pool or private swimming pool.
- No device shall be installed on or adjacent to a fence or gate around a swimming pool or a private swimming pool that could cause an electric current to pass through the fence or gate.
NOTE: A fence is not required around any portion of an outdoor private swimming pool where the top of the outside wall of the private swimming pool is not less than 1.8 m (6’-0”) above the surrounding ground level, and the only means of access to the private swimming pool is through a gate or similar facility.
As an alternative to installing a fence and gate to prevent unauthorized access to your swimming pool, the Alberta Building Code permits the use of protective covers that:
- have been designed and constructed in conformance with ASTM F1346, Standard Performance Specification for Safety Covers and Labeling Requirements for All Covers for Swimming Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs (Ask the pool company to provide you with documentation to ensure the covers are compliant); and
- are provided with lockable devices to prevent access to the water by unauthorized persons.