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Portland, Vancouver Residents Weigh Need for Water Feature Railing or Fence

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A water feature instantly adds a sense of peace to any outdoor living space. However, if you’re not careful about following your city’s laws, your water feature could turn into a nightmare of costly citations and rebuilds. To avoid stumbling into this stressful situation, follow our tips below to help Vancouver and Portland residents build compliant water features.

Water Features & Fence Installation: Vancouver Requirements

The City of Vancouver has special laws on the books requiring fence installation around pools and decorative water features. This law applies to residents as well as business owners. If the water feature has a pool that’s more than 24 inches deep, it must be enclosed and securely closed off in accordance with the International Building Code (IBC).

An acceptable alternative is to install a wire mesh or cover no more than six inches lower than the surface of the water. This wire mesh must be able to hold seventy-five pounds of weight.

As any lawyer could tell you, this fence installation code isn’t in place to boost the sale of fence materials. This and other attractive nuisance laws attempt to protect the public by denying access to “attractive” features such as swimming pools and decorative ponds. Without these protective laws in place, young children are liable to stumble into pools and drown. Some municipalities limit unfenced pond depth to 18 inches to protect toddlers.

Water Features & Fence Installation: Portland Requirements

While the City of Portland does enforce laws on enclosing swimming pools with fence materials, it does not require a fence installation for decorative water features. The Portland homeowner or business leader is allowed to put in a pond or water feature without a city permit. (A permit is required only if the water feature will be hooked directly up to the plumbing or electrical system.)

However, the city does warn homeowners that they could be held liable for any injuries and accidents that occur in their ponds and water features.

If you do decide to build a fence installation around your water feature, consider a fence material that will still allow you to enjoy the sight of your pond even when the gate is closed. For instance, an ornamental aluminum fence will add style and security to your backyard retreat while still allowing a good view.



[ Photo by: ARNOLD Masonry and Concrete, on Flickr, via CC License ]

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