On a scorching hot day, of the kind we often have in a Northern Virginia Summer, there are few things more comforting than a dip in a cool pool. But, if you are one of those home owners who has decided to have a pool on your property, with the pleasure comes responsibility.
Fairfax County has requirements for pool fencing.
Fairfax County does not specify the materials for your fence -- wood, iron, chain link, etc., but rather the function and performance of it and the details of the dimensions and spaces. This is for safety. In addition, your home owners association may have requirements for the appearance of your fence and they may require you to have your fence be wood, vinyl, aluminum -- whatever is demanded by the neighborhood aesthetic. However, in complying with the homeowners association rules you must still comply with the Fairfax County requirements, which are far more important, being a matter of life and death. (That's not to say that you won't be seriously inconvenienced if you don't comply with the homeowners association requirements too, but those you might be able to petition to change.)
Fairfax County's safety specifications are precise and include the height of the fence, the climabilitiy of the fence (the specifics of this are described), the maximum gap between the bottom of the fence and the ground. In many cases the fence will need to be higher than the minimum as the gate latches on the pool side need to be higher than the requirement for the minimum height of the fence at grade on the outside. The requirements also specify the properties and behavior of the access gate and the properties and behavior of the door alarms.
Fairfax County's requirements for pool fences are less stringent than some other parts of the United States and more stringent than some others. If you live in an area where there is no specification for pool enclosures, you might still choose to follow guidelines as these are designed to save lives and will help you know how great a hazard your pool is to yourself and your neighbors.
The specific requirements which must be met when constructing a fence for pool enclosure are outlined in the Fairfax County Pools, Spas & Hot Tubs publication.