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					                                     BUILDING OFFICIALS ASSOCIATION OF FLORIDA
                                              GUIDELINES FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
                                             “RESIDENTIAL SWIMMING POOL SAFETY ACT”


The Building Officials Association of Florida has undertaken to establish these guidelines for fair and reasonable
implementation of the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act adopted by the Florida Legislature for inclusion in Chapter
515, F.S., and effective October 1, 2000. Deliberations included input from Building Officials of various jurisdictions
within the State, representatives of the swimming pool, homebuilders’, and other affected industries. Consideration was
given to several facts; (1) no clear responsibility was assigned to building departments in the Act, (2) the Act is not part of
any commonly acknowledged construction code, (3) practical construction and installation applications of certain
provisions in the Act were not addressed and, (4) reasonable thought and common practice should apply as to its
implementation date.

2.       PURPOSE

These guidelines were developed for distribution and consideration for use by building departments in Florida which do not
currently enforce equivalent, or more stringent, pool safety requirements. These guidelines do not constitute a directive or
legal opinion. They should only be used after careful consideration, and in conjunction with all information provided in the
entire document, including notes and commentary

3.       GOAL

It is the intent of the Building Officials Association of Florida, through development and distribution of these guidelines, to
encourage and facilitate reasonable, consistent implementation statewide of certain provisions of the Act. These guidelines
represent a “best effort” to interpret the vague and ambiguous statutory language of the Act and provide support for its
stated intent of supplementing adult supervision as the primary means of preventing accidental drownings or near-
drownings of children and medically frail, elderly persons in residential swimming pools.

         (note) indicates a corresponding numbered note following these conclusions

The Building Officials Association of Florida concludes that implementation and application of the following guidelines
will reasonably meet the implied intent of the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act.

(1) In order to pass final inspection and/or receive a certificate of completion, new residential swimming pools for
    detached single family, duplex, and townhouses less than four stories in height must have at least one of the following
    pool safety features:
    (a) A barrier (note no.1) which encloses the pool and provides isolation from the home that meets all of the following
         1. Is at least 48” high, and
         2. Is not passable or climb-able by small children, and
         3. Is located around the perimeter (note no.2) of the pool, but placed a sufficient distance from the water’s edge
              (note no.3) to prevent a child or frail, elderly person from falling into the pool if they do get past the barrier,
         4. Is not situated close to permanent structures or equipment that could be used to climb over the barrier.

     (b) An approved (ASTM F1346-91) pool safety cover.

     (c) Audible exit alarms (minimum 85 decibels at 10ft) installed on all doors and windows providing direct access
         from the home (note no. 4) to the pool.
     (d) Self-closing and self-latching devices, with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor,
         installed on all doors providing direct access from the home (note no. 4) to the pool.

(2) There are other significant requirements in the law including (1) for above-ground pools, steps/ladders which must be
    removable or capable of being secured if the structure walls constitute the “barrier” and are consistent with the
    “barrier” definition and (2) gates which provide access to any residential pool must open outward away from the pool
    and be self-closing, -latching, -locking. The release mechanism on such gates must be on the inside (pool side) and out
    of the reach of young children.

(3) These requirements should apply to all new swimming pool permits applied for on or after October 1, 2000.(note no. 5)

Note 1 Standard screen enclosures of the type commonly installed in Florida may be utilized as part of or all of the
“barrier” and shall be considered a “non-dwelling” wall.

Note 2 The “perimeter” of a pool is defined by the limits of the pool deck and any dwelling or non-dwelling wall (or other
adjacent open space as determined by the Building Official), or any combination thereof which completely surrounds the

Note 3 “Sufficiently away from the water’s edge” means no less than 3 ft from the barrier to the water’s edge. Dwelling
or non-dwelling walls, when used as part or all of the “barrier”, and meeting the other barrier requirements, may be as
close to the water’s edge as permitted by prevailing construction codes, laws and ordinances. Reasonable application
presumes that a dwelling wall or properly installed screen enclosure wall extends to the “roof” and is not passable or

Note 4 “Direct access from the home” means any opening which discharges into the “perimeter” of the pool or any
opening in an exterior dwelling wall or interior wall (for indoor pools) which faces the pool. Exception: any window with
a bottom sill height of 48 inches or more measured from the interior finished floor at the pool access level..

Note 5 Reflects standard practice of building departments statewide for implementation of any new construction code
requirements. Does not impose unexpected costs on buyers or builders of pools contracted for prior to the implementation
date. Provides reasonable time for development/distribution of publications required in the Act. Assumes complete,
properly executed application for pool permit has been received in the building department before implementation date.


The Building Officials Association of Florida, after having received and reviewed knowledgeable input from building
officials, pool builders, home builders, and other interested parties believes these guidelines to be reasonable, practical and
consistent with the intent of the Act. These guidelines are not an official interpretation of the law. For complete text of the
Act refer to ss. 515.21-515.37, Florida Statutes.

The Building Officials Association of Florida further recommends that;

1.   The requirements of the Act be applied after the implementation date to pool renovations, the cumulative costs of
     which, over a 1 year period, exceed 30% of the assessed value of the pool. “Pool renovations” apply to the structural
     repair, reconstruction or restoration of the pool structure (shell) and do not include the installation, repair, replacement
     or maintenance of screen enclosures or pool circulating equipment.

2.   A notice, substantially similar to the one included with these guidelines, be provided to the owner and contractor for
     inclusion with the pool permit documents, and collected by the Building Department when issuing the permit.
                                                                                                 Permit #

                                                          Residential Swimming Pool,
                                                          Spa and Hot Tub Safety Act

                                           Notice of Requirements

I (We) acknowledge that a new swimming pool, spa or hot tub will be constructed or installed at
____________________________________, and hereby affirm that one of the following
                       (Please Print Street Address)

methods will be used to meet the requirements of Chapter 515, Florida Statutes.
(please initial the method(s) to be used for your pool)

_________         The pool will be isolated from access to the home by an enclosure that meets the pool barrier
                  requirements of Florida Statute 515.29;

_________         The pool will be equipped with an approved safety pool cover that complies with
                  ASTM F1346-91 (Standard Performance Specifications for Safety Covers for Swimming Pools,
                  Spas and Hot Tubs);

_________         All doors and windows providing direct access from the home to the pool will be equipped with
                  an exit alarm that has a minimum sound pressure rating of 85 decibels at 10 feet;

_________         All doors providing direct access from the home to the pool will be equipped with self-closing,
                  self-latching devices with release mechanisms placed no lower than 54" above the floor or deck;

I understand that not having one of the above installed at the time of final inspection, or when
the pool is completed for contract purposes, will constitute a violation of Chapter 515, F.S. and
will be considered as committing a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable by fines up
to $500 and/or up to 60 days in jail as established in Chapter 775, F.S.

______________________________________                                        ____________________________________
 CONTRACTOR’S SIGNATURE & DATE                                                OWNER’S SIGNATURE & DATE

______________________________________                                        ____________________________________
CONTRACTOR’S NAME (PLEASE PRINT)                                              OWNER’S NAME (PLEASE PRINT)