North Carolina: Do I Need a Fence for My Swimming Pool, Spa, or Hot Tub?

North Carolina 2018 Building Codes Swimming Pools Spas Hot Tubs

Do I need a fence for my North Carolina in-ground swimming pool?

Short answer: Yes!

Do I need a fence for my North Carolina above ground swimming pool?

Short answer: Maybe.

The state of North Carolina takes an active approach to protecting the lives of children and others who may not understand the risks of swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs. They’ve created requirements that limit the accessibility of swimming pools, especially those left unattended, in order to prevent accidental drownings.

Important: These rules apply to any pool, spa, or hot tub capable of holding 24 inches of water.

In-Ground Swimming Pools

In-ground pools are required to be surrounded by a barrier (fence or wall) that is a minimum of 4 feet tall with slats that are no further apart than 4 inches or a mesh size (chain link fences) no larger than 2 ¼ inches. These measurements are meant to keep small children from climbing or squeezing through. All barriers must support 150 pounds of weight in order to prevent collapsing, and all attached gates must have a secure self-closing latch. If a wall of the house is used for one side of the fence, the windows must have security features.

Please refer to the 2018 North Carolina Codes (or more recent versions) for more detailed information. There are specific measurements for gate latches, decorative cutouts in the barriers,

Also, keep in mind that if you have a swimming pool installed in our coastal area or near the rivers, there are special requirements for flood zones and water runoff. We recommend talking in detail with a professional local swimming pool installer. If you need a referral for one, let us know!

Above Ground Swimming Pools

Unlike in-ground swimming pools, above ground pools don’t always require a fence. However, there are some caveats. The above ground pool needs to have sides at least 4 feet tall and the egress (stairs, ladder, or deck entrance) needs to be removed when not in use (flip-up/lockable) or surrounded by a 4-foot-tall secured enclosure.

Again, please refer to the 2018 North Carolina Codes (or more recent versions) for more detailed information.

Spas and Hot Tubs

While swimming pools have some pretty extensive guidelines for safety barriers, spas and hot tubs are not required to be fenced, as long as they have a cover that meets ASTM Safety Cover guidelines. The 2018 North Carolina Codes (or more recent versions) have the location of where these guidelines are located, but every cover should be labeled with “ASTM Safety Cover” (or similar) Plus, hot tub/spa suppliers should know which ones qualify.

Keep in mind that individual counties, towns, etc. may have their own additional laws or guidelines for private residential swimming pools. Make sure you check with your local government. New Hanover County has theirs posted online.

If you have any questions about swimming pool, spa, or hot tub regulations, please contact a local swimming pool company and/or your local government office.

If you’re looking for a home with a swimming pool or hot tub/spa to purchase, we can help you with that! Give us a call at (910) 202-2546.

North Carolina Do I Need a Fence for My Swimming Pool, Spa, or Hot Tub


About the Author
Meghan Henderson
Meghan is the Marketing Specialist for The Cameron Team and a published author of two young adult books. She also creates digital and printable planners and trackers, as well as coloring pages for Larkspur & Tea.