Swimming Pool Safety


Summertime in Western New York is a wonderful time for families to enjoy splashing around in the pool; however, a pool can also be very dangerous if improperly installed, or without safeguards in place. The Western Southern Tier Building Officials Association, made up of code officials throughout Western New York, has embarked on a public awareness campaign to educate the community about local, state and federal requirements regarding the installation of pools.

“Residents should check with their local code enforcement office before installing any above-ground swimming pool (capable of holding 24” of water or more) to determine if a building permit is required,” said Charles LaBarbera, President of WSTBOA.  Installation of most pools must conform to the New York State Building Code, including requiring a building permit, per Title 19, Part 1203 (Minimum Standard and Administration Enforcement). “Pools are great, but the property owners are also responsible for ensuring that everyone is protected,” Mr. LaBarbera said.

The restrictive State Building Code Requirements are in direct response to the threat posed by improperly installed backyard pools and the tragic deaths that have occurred, primarily among children, over the last few years.   Nearly 400 children under the age of 15 die annually in pool- and spa-related drowning, and another 4,200 are treated for submersion injuries. Only through a coordinated effort on the local, state and federal levels can we prevent unnecessary deaths and injuries.