Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 45

ELEMENTS OF THE FENCE
One thing the codes generally do not
restrict is the type of fencing material that
may be used. Metal, glass, mesh, wood
and vinyl mesh are all common. There are
requirements on the maximum size of openings in the fence and gate, aimed at preventing a small child slipping through the
fence, or being able to climb it. The allowable
opening-size in the area immediately surrounding the latch is often very small, down
to a half-inch, to prevent reaching in by a
small hand or some small object that could
be used as a tool to open the latch.
Chain link is not often seen around backyard fences. Two-inch chain link is too easy
to use as a foothold for climbing. But even
tighter chain link sizes simply fail to meet
the appearance most people want in their
backyard.
One popular option is a nylon mesh fence
supported on 1" round aluminum posts. This
type of fence is easy to set up as a removable installation. Receivers for the poles are
embedded in the concrete pool deck, and
the posts just slide down into them. If the
fence is properly made, there is sufficient
tension in the mesh to keep it stiff and prevent slipping under, and it is too smooth to
climb over.
"We see a lot of removable mesh fences,"
notes Court. "The nice thing about mesh
is that even over time you have to ability to
tighten it up if it stretches. And while it acts as
a barrier, visually, you can still see through it."
The removable aspect can be a huge convenience. The fence can be kept in place
for pool protection most of the time, but
removed if, for example, there is a backyard
party with no children present, or where
adults will supervise the pool constantly.
Fencing must not provide toeholds or
handholds for climbing. The rails should
be on the inside surface of the fence, for
just that reason.

GATE CONSIDERATIONS
Psychologically, the center of the fence is
the gate. A properly designed fence forces
people to use the gate for entry. The gate
needs to be easy to use for authorized access,
but completely inaccessible for unauthorized
access by small children.

The main goal is to keep the gate consistently closed and securely latched whenever it's not in use. It must be self-closing,
the latch must be self-latching, and it
has to work reliably every time. (And of
course, the homeowner must never leave
it propped open.)
This means the gate must be constructed
so it doesn't sag or shift, compromising
proper alignment of the latch. The hinges
need to work smoothly and resist corrosion
that might change the smoothness of movement over time. The self-closing mechanism, similarly, needs to be weatherproof
and should be adjustable.
Court recommends hinges with an integrated self-closing mechanism. "Generally,
having self-closing hinges is your best combination. Putting in a separate overhead closer
is more work, more cost and more trouble."
"Based on the gate material, gate size and
gate weight," Court continues, "you figure
out what are the most appropriate hinges.
They must be self-closing. They need to be
adjustable, too, because springs will lose
tension over time. When you put them on,
they'll work great for six months or a year,
but eventually the homeowner or someone
else will have to adjust the tension. You also
want something with a small footprint. You
don't want the hinge to be something that
children can use as a toehold."
He cites his company's TrueClose hinges
as an example. "Ours are adjustable from
top and bottom with a flathead screwdriver.
The majority of the hinge is polymer, with
marine-grade stainless steel screws and
inside spring, so it's non-rusting. We have
hinge safety caps that create a slope so the
child can't use it as a toehold. Our hinges
are also self-lubricating: the more you use
it, the better it functions."
The heart of the gate is, of course, the
latch. The latch must be self-latching. "When
the gate closes," explains Court, "the latch
automatically engages so you can't just pull
the gate open. You have to lift that knob
every time." (He points out that it's different
than a self-locking mechanism, which would
require a key or a number combination of
some other unlocking method to be used.)
Introduction of self-latching products was
an important step forward for the industry.
"Small children probably don't have strength
to lift the knob because of the strong magnet
at the bottom," he explains, "and it's designed
so it's hard for small child to grasp."
www.americanfenceassociation.com | 45 | March/April 2018

PHOTO COURTESY OF D&D TECHNOLOGIES

Homeowners should be advised to check
their insurance policies, too, to be sure they
cover liability for the pool.

This self-closing hinge is made of non-corroding
materials - a polymer body with stainless steel
screws and internal spring - so that weather exposure will not alter its movement.

The latch has to be mounted so that small
children cannot reach it. Generally, this
means it has to be on the inside of the gate,
and there cannot be any openings on the
surrounding area of the gate that are large
enough to reach through. In some codes,
this is specified as small as a half-inch opening. Some codes also detail exactly how far
below the top of the gate the latch must be
mounted, so that opening it requires reaching over the top and down.
In most jurisdictions, the latch may be
mounted on the outside of the gate and/or
extend above the top of the gate if that sets
the operating handle at least 54" above the
ground. Exact code requirements vary from
one jurisdiction to another, however, and
a contractor should check state and local
codes. "The national code is a wonderful
reference," says Court, "but you're really
going to have to dig deep for the local codes."
Court advises contractors not to try to save
money on gate hardware. "The gate is the
whole package. If you put up a pool fence,
the customer will look at the whole thing, but
what they'll look at the most is the gate. The
customer is going to judge you based on the
gate. You want to have something high quality
on the gate, because that's what they'll look
at every day, and that's the part that will keep
their child safe. Your reputation is on the line.
If it's not self-closing or self-latching properly,
they're going to be very upset."
He also advises contractors who are
doing pool fences to have insurance that
covers that specific liability. "Even if it is
a little expensive," he says, "it's worth it in
the long run." ■


http://www.americanfenceassociation.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fencepost - March/April 2018

EDITOR’S NOTE
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
OFFICERS AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS | CHAPTER PRESIDENTS COMMITTEE
FENCELINES
IN MEMORIAM
FENCE PROFESSIONALS FLOCK TO PHOENIX FOR FENCETECH 2018
ON THE FENCE
MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
CANINE CRIBS
SAFETY IN PARADISE
AFA BESTOWS TOP HONORS AT FENCETECH 2018
VMA
WORKPLACE RESOLUTIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR
MEMBER SAVINGS PROGRAM
NEW MEMBERS
MEMBERS ON THE MOVE
CALENDAR
CHAPTER NEWS
INDEX TO ADVERTISERS
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - Intro
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - cover1
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - cover2
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 3
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 4
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 5
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 6
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 7
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 8
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 9
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 10
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 11
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 12
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - EDITOR’S NOTE
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 14
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 16
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 18
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - OFFICERS AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS | CHAPTER PRESIDENTS COMMITTEE
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - FENCELINES
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 21
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 22
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 23
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 24
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 25
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - IN MEMORIAM
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 27
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - FENCE PROFESSIONALS FLOCK TO PHOENIX FOR FENCETECH 2018
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 29
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - ON THE FENCE
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 31
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 32
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 33
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 34
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 35
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 37
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - CANINE CRIBS
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 39
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - SAFETY IN PARADISE
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 41
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 42
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 43
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 44
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 45
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - AFA BESTOWS TOP HONORS AT FENCETECH 2018
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 47
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 48
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 49
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 50
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 51
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 52
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - VMA
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - WORKPLACE RESOLUTIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 55
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 56
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 57
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 58
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - MEMBER SAVINGS PROGRAM
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - NEW MEMBERS
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 61
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 62
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - CALENDAR
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - CHAPTER NEWS
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - 65
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - INDEX TO ADVERTISERS
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - cover3
Fencepost - March/April 2018 - cover4
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