The Law and Safety for your swimming pool


The law is enforced by a fine of up to €45,000 and inspectors will be checking swimming pools in all regions for the correct installation of alarms and barriers, below are some easy to read facts on the swimming pool laws.

The deadline for pool security in France was the 1st of January 2006.

Now in France all in ground swimming pools must have a suitable AFNOR approved pool security system in place, whether they are for private or collective use (Gites, chambres de hotes etc).
  • Private swimming pool = Swimming pools reserved for the personal use of a family
  • Swimming pool of collective use - including Rental properties = any swimming pools which are not for private family use is considered to be of public or collective use

Home owners in France do not seem to be taking the new Law very serious or seem to be unsure of the Law and the different types of pool security systems available.
The bodies responsible for seeing that this law is enforced are the Maries, Gendarmerie and the DDE, there will be inspectors appointed to make sure everyone complies with the Law and it is just a matter of time until fines of up to €45,000 are issued.

The recent changes to French Law mean that all in ground swimming pools must have a safety device in place that conforms to AFNOR Standards The CSC (Centre de sécurité des consommateurs) recommends the installation of a pool safety fence or a barrier, as it is the only passive security device. All the other approved means of security are alarms, rigid safety covers and shelters (Abris) which need to be actively turned on or physically closed every time the pool is vacated (even for a few minutes) and as such should be seen as supplementary to a physical barrier.

There are four types of approved security system:

  • 1. Security Barriers, AFNOR standard: NF P 90-306.
    Removable or permanent, ensure the best safety as entrance to the pool side is not available to young children.
  • 2. Pool Alarms, AFNOR standard: NF P 90-307.
    Immersion detector or perimeter alarm
    Be aware, even if you have installed a certified device, if an accident occurs you are still liable. Even the most advanced or expensive alarm system is only effective if there is someone there to react to it.
  • 3. Pool Covers, AFNOR standard: NF P 90-308.
    Summer & Winter covers are only accepted if they are AFNOR approved. Due to the recent nature of these standards, covers older than 3 years old are not certified.
  • 4. Pool Abris, AFNOR standard: NF P 90-309.
    The most expensive option.

You can determine which method will best suit your needs, below are more details to help you chose:

Fencing (recommended by the Centre de sécurité des consommateurs)

The protection barrier can be combined with one (or more) wall(s) of buildings, or dwellings, bordering the zone in which the swimming pool is located.
A hedge alone cannot be regarded as a protection barrier.
The chosen barrier must be AFNOR approved check that your chosen fencing/barrier has this before purchasing
The protection barrier must be built in order to prevent the passage of children of less than five years old by striding over, climbing or accidental opening of the means of access. All barriers must also have a self-closing and self-locking gate as part of their fence and must open outwards. To prevent the accidental opening of the gate by a child of less than five years the unlocking system should necessitate a minimum force of 20N.The minimal height of the barrier must be at least 1.1m and should be installed a minimum of 1m from the water's edge and not so far from the edge of the pool to render them ineffective.

Floating pool alarm

Devices with remote alarms sounding in the home can alert you to a child falling into the pool. The pool surface, however, must be disturbed enough by the fall so as to set off the alarm. Since these alarms do work off a disturbance to the surface of the pool; your child could quietly walk down the steps, go under, drown, and never disturb the alarm or set it off!!! Better than nothing at all since they do detect some accidental falls if adjusted and placed properly. Alarm batteries and function should be checked often to increase the safety margin and effectiveness of this type of device. If this is your choice of protection, be sure the model you purchase has a remote alarm that will sound in the house and a local alarm that will also alert someone near the pool area.
Immersion detector A device which is fitted to the edge of the pool with part of the alarm immersed into the swimming pool, it detects any movement in the water and sets of the alarm with-in the system. The system only works efficiently if there are adults near by respond to it.

Infrared beam

This alarm is designed to detect motion around the perimeter of the pool. These are designed similar to your burglar alarm systems, if the infer red beam is broken an alarm will be triggered.

Removable safety fencing

Removable safety fencing has proven, over the past thirty years, to be the most practical and effective barrier against pool drowning short of putting up a permanent rail fence.
The concept is simple. Isolate the pool from your home and eliminate all access to the water by a toddler. For the pool to be truly isolated and the barriers serve effectively, there must not be a reason to open the pool fence other than to use or service the pool itself. That means not having to open the pool fence to go out a screen enclosure door or into your backyard. These areas should be accessible to you without opening the swimming pool fence. The more times a fence is opened, for a reason other than to use the pool, the greater the possibility that it will be left open for whatever reason.
REMOVABLE Pool fence is a great idea as it can be removed quickly to enjoy the pool and it's surroundings and then put back up very easily
Constructed of see through, polyester mesh mounted on aluminium or fibreglass support poles. The fence is placed into aluminium or plastic sleeves installed into your deck surface. The bottom border of the fence material should be flush to your deck so as to prevent a child from pushing under. The basic principal that keeps pool fence in place is bilateral tension and the fence should be checked periodically to insure that you have benefit of its full function.
A standard pool fence is removable in approximately fifteen feet sections. Each section can easily be rolled up and weighs only fourteen pounds. The average one hundred foot fence can be removed in less than fifteen minutes and be put back up in approximately the same amount of time. Most fences, however, are never taken down until children in the home are old enough not to require this safe guard any longer.

Self-Closing, Self-Locking Gates

Self-closing, self-latching gates are automatic and provide better protection if there are persons in the house that can't remember to close a gate behind them. Because it does not have to be physically closed or locked by the user it is a more practical option when there are older children in the home who have unsupervised access to the swimming pool. Be sure that your gate is always installed to swing out or away from the pool or water.
The above is for your general information. It should not be used as a definitive interpretation of the law in any way. You should ensure that any security product you purchase for your swimming pool conforms and has an AFNOR stamp of approval.

You can find further information on swimming pool security at www.lot-services.com installers and retailers of swimming pool security.
05 65 11 93 20
06 85 90 63 28
Hamish.francis@wanadoo.fr
© Julie Haigh
www.lot-services.com



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The Law and Safety for your swimming pool
The law is enforced by a fine of up to €45,000 and inspectors will be checking swimming pools in all regions for the correct installation of alarms and barriers, below are...

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