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    Using a hedge as a pool barrier

    Using a hedge as a pool barrier

    New postby KarenP on Thu May 26, 2011 3:42 pm

    Is using a dense hedge instead of a fence around the pool perimeter permitted in Florida? Half of the pool perimeter has a fence, the other half will have a hedge. The hedge is already in place and is not directly next to the pool deck.
    KarenP
     
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    Re: Using a hedge as a pool barrier

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Thu May 26, 2011 4:47 pm

    Karen,

    No, a hedge does not meet the requirements for a pool barrier.

    One option would be to trim the hedge back from the outside-the-pool side of the hedge, install a chain-link fence which meets the requirements of the code (see below), then allow the hedge to grow through the chain-link fence enough to hide the fence and keep the hedge trimmed there.
    - R4101.17.1.6 Maximum mesh size for chain link fences shall be a 2-1/4 inch square (57 mm) unless the fence is provided with slats fastened at the top or bottom which reduce the openings to no more than 1-3/4 inches (44 mm).

    However, you also said: "The hedge is already in place and is not directly next to the pool deck.", which brings up this:
    - R4101.17.1.12 The barrier must be placed around the perimeter of the pool and must be separate from any fence, wall, or other enclosure surrounding the yard unless the fence, wall, or other enclosure or portion thereof is situated on the perimeter of the pool, is being used as part of the barrier, and meets the barrier requirements of this section.

    Which means that if the hedge is not close enough to the pool then the above suggestion about installing a chain-link fence in the hedge is meaningless as it would not meet code regarding location of the "barrier".
    Jerry Peck - CodeMan
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    Re: Using a hedge as a pool barrier

    New postby KarenP on Thu May 26, 2011 5:25 pm

    Please read the Florida Building Code 424.2.2 definition of "perimeter". You can include grassy area around the pool deck in the perimeter of the pool. The pool perimeter can extend beyond the concrete pool deck. Also see Building Code Commission approved DEC statement DCA02-DEC-023. If there already is a fence around the perimeter of a yard, there is no need to install a second fence around a pool as long as other portions of the barrier comply with the Code, i.e. walls of the residence with alarms, etc. I agree that a hedge is not a fence.
    KarenP
     
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    Re: Using a hedge as a pool barrier

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Thu May 26, 2011 9:44 pm

    Karen,

    You've raised some good points, but ...

    - That DEC statement predates the current 2007 Florida Building Code edition and even predates the previous 2004 Florida Building Code edition, as such, it would govern on a code existing at the time of the DEC statement (i.e., the 2001 Florida Building Code) but would not take precedence over a more current code edition as it could be successfully argued that a more current code was drafted to address that DEC statement issue and the more current code would take precedence.

    (I am using definitions from the Florida Building Code - Residential as I suspect you are referring to a residential dwelling - correct me if I am wrong) (underlining and bold are mine)
    - That the definition of "pool perimeter" is defined as:
    - - POOL PERIMETER. A pool perimeter is defined by the limits of the pool deck, its surrounding area including yard area on same property, and any dwelling or nondwelling wall or any combination thereof which completely surrounds the pool.

    The code regarding barriers states:
    - R4101.17.1.12 The barrier must be placed around the perimeter of the pool and must be separate from any fence, wall, or other enclosure surrounding the yard unless the fence, wall, or other enclosure or portion thereof is situated on the perimeter of the pool, is being used as part of the barrier, and meets the barrier requirements of this section.

    The definition for the pool perimeter is defining the area around the pool as the pool deck, the area surrounding the pool or pool deck including yard areas, and walls of a structure, this definition does not, however, address anything regarding the pool barrier.

    The pool barrier section states that the pool barrier must be around the perimeter of the pool (see the definition for what may be enclosed within the pool barrier) and that it must be separate from any fence, wall or other enclosure enclosing the perimeter of the pool if that fence, wall or other enclosure is not being used as (i.e., does not meet the requirements of) the pool barrier.

    On the one hand, the definition is allowing a 10 acre lot to be included in the perimeter of the pool area, while on the other hand saying that the fence/wall/etc. enclosing that 10 acre lot shall be separate from the pool barrier ... unless ... said fence/wall/etc. meets the requirements of the pool barrier.

    Some AHJ interpret this as limiting the pool barrier to being around the perimeter of the pool (excluding the yard area which are not closely located around the pool) while other AHJ may allow the yard fence/wall/etc. to be constructed to meet the pool barrier and include the entire 10 acres or more one wants to include. Most determine that the pool barrier needs to meet the former instead of the latter.

    It comes down to a mater of perspective:
    - a) Where do you live? Planet Earth. Where on Planet Earth do you live? In the USA.
    - b) Where do you live? Orlando. Where in Orlando do you live? At 1234 Main Street.

    When you ask if you can erect a fence around where you live - the answer to a) above would be different than the answer to b) above.

    On the hedge, we are in agreement, but no, you may not place a fence around a) above.
    Jerry Peck - CodeMan
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    Re: Using a hedge as a pool barrier

    New postby KarenP on Sat May 28, 2011 10:06 am

    I wrote to the Martin County Florida Building Dept. and received the following explaination:

    Hedge cannot be used as a barrier.
    Fence can be in the setbacks...it would have to be if at/near the
    property line. Check with zoning dept. (772-288-5495 ) how far from
    property line it can go and still meet their requirements.
    Fence can be beyond the concrete deck of the pool.
    KarenP
     
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