After French Regulations, a Swimming Pool Safety Fence is the Best Choice

by Pool Builders on 08-01-2010 in Articles

In January 2006, France introduced new laws designed to improve safety near swimming pools. A pool owner who is not in compliance with the new law could face fines of up to 45,000. Lawmakers explain that this new set of regulations is primarily intended to prevent accidental drowning and injuries involving small children, who are the most vulnerable to pool side accidents.

The law covers all in-ground swimming pools that are used for private and public use, including those pools present on rental property. This law covers the vast majority of pools in the country, but it does not apply to pools that are situated aboveground, inflatable or indoors. If owners do have safety measures currently in place, they must become familiar and comply with the standards defined by the Association Francaise de Normalisation (AFNOR). Failure to do this can result in a fine.

According to the new law, there are four major types of safety systems approved by AFNOR.

Security Barriers (AFNOR standard: NF P 90-306): These can be either permanent or temporary barriers. Swimming pool safety fences in France are already quite popular.

Pool Alarms (AFNOR standard: NF P 90-307): An Immersion detector or perimeter alarm. This system requires an adult to be within audible range to respond to an emergency.

Pool Covers (AFNOR standard: NF P 90-308): Summer and winter covers are acceptable if they comply with AFNOR standards. Covers that are more than three years old do not generally comply with AFNOR standards.

Pool Shelter or Abris (AFNOR standard: NF P 90-308): These refer to fixed telescopic structures that cover an entire swimming pool.

Owners of pools built before January 1, 2004, must either install a new safety system or upgrade their safety system to be consistent with the current standards. If, the existing system is in line with the current standards, then owners need written confirmation of the fact. 

If a pool was built after January 1, 2004, owners should have had a proper safety system installed by the builder.

Owners of pools built before June 8, 2004, must have confirmation from the supplier that the safety system that is currently installed complies with the new regulations. It is also the duty of the builder to provide owners with the necessary documents, outlining the safety equipment that is available and general pool safety. 
 
Of all the methods prescribed by AFNOR, many experts agree that a swimming pool safety fence would be the best option. This is because a fence offers continuous and passive protection. An adult is not required to be on the scene at all times as would be the case with a pool alarm. While pool covers are also another option, they are not as secure as pool fences, and can obscure the beauty of the pool.

Since fences come in all sorts of different materials ranging from mesh to glass and are available in different colors, they can blend well with their surroundings. Therefore, fences can provide safety and be appealing all at the same time. Fences are also relatively easy to maintain and can be constantly monitored for defects or problems, unlike alarms or sensors.

With all of these factors and comparisons, it seems clear the swimming pool safety fences are probably the best way for pool owners to stay compliant with the new French regulations and avoid tragic accidents involving children.

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