If you love the idea of having an above-ground oasis in your backyard, you probably envision spending the summer months splashing around and enjoying the cool water. But before you jump in, there’s an important question you need to consider: do you need a fence for your above-ground pool?
Whether you’re a pool owner or just thinking about getting one, this is a critical consideration. After all, a fence can mean the difference between a safe and fun summer and an accident waiting to happen. Thankfully, you can worry less if you take the right precautions. Let’s explore the rules around fencing for above-ground pools in Ottawa and Canada and why it’s so important to have these enclosures in place.
What is an Above Ground Pool?
An above-ground pool is not permanently installed — it sits on top of the terrain. It is typically made of a metal frame and a vinyl liner and can be of various shapes and sizes, like ovals or rectangles. This is a popular choice for homeowners who want their own swimming hole but don’t have the time or money to install an in-ground pool.
Does an Above Ground Pool Need a Fence?
In Canada, the rules regarding fences for above-ground pools may vary depending on local legislation. However, in Ottawa and many other cities across the country, you must have a fence enclosing your inground or above-ground pool, pond, or hot tub if it has a water depth equal to or greater than 24 inches (60 cm).
If your pool meets this 24-inch depth requirement, you need a fencing barrier to prevent unauthorized access and ensure the safety of children. In Ottawa, your enclosure must be at least 5 feet (1.5 metres) tall and comply with construction specifications outlined by bylaw 2013-39, including the following:
- There mustn’t be any gaps or openings for a child to squeeze through.
- The fence must be made of durable material, like wood, metal, or vinyl, and should be in good condition.
- The fence should completely surround the pool, with no direct access from the house or other structures.
- All gates must be at least 4 feet 6 inches high (1.35 metres) and be self-closing and self-latching. The lock must also be on the inside of the area.
The following list applies specifically to above-ground bodies of water:
- Vertical walls of an above-ground pool can be used as part of an enclosure if it meets the 5-foot (1.5 metres) requirement and does not have horizontal elements that might facilitate climbing.
- The ladder or deck area must be blocked by a gate that complies with the bylaw.
A hot tub can be considered a type of above-ground pool. However, if it has a locking safety cover, it is exempt from the fencing and gate requirements set out in the bylaw.
Keeping Kids Safe
The importance of having a fence around an above-ground pool cannot be overstated. Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in children, and a pool can be particularly hazardous if it’s not adequately secured, especially when there’s no adult supervision.
If a child were to injure themselves or drown in a pool that does not have a fence, the consequences could be catastrophic for the child and the pool owner. In addition to the emotional toll, you may face legal and financial repercussions.
- Legally, you may be held responsible for any injuries or fatalities that occur on your property, especially if the lack of a fence played a role in the incident. You may face criminal charges or be sued in civil court, depending on the circumstances.
- You may also be required to pay significant amounts in legal fees and damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs related to the injury, which can be financially ruinous. In addition, your insurance company may be held responsible for covering some costs. A claim like this may lead to higher premiums or difficulty finding insurance coverage in the future because the incident increases your risk profile as a policyholder.
How Ideal Fence Can Help
If you’re a pool owner in Ottawa or the surrounding areas (or anywhere else in Canada), having a secure and compliant fence around your above-ground pool is essential for the welfare of your family and guests. At Ideal Fence, we understand the importance of keeping everyone who enters your property safe.
Our team can install an enclosure that not only meets all local bylaw requirements but also adds a touch of style to your backyard. We offer various fencing options, including chain link, cedar, vinyl, wrought iron, and aluminum. Don’t take chances with safety. Contact us to learn more about how we can protect everyone you love during those fun summer months.