Building Department

Aug 16

Pools, Decks, and Grills

Posted on August 16, 2022 at 10:55 AM by Hannah Behl

It’s summertime again! Pools are open, the decks are loaded and grills are cooking! Here are a few tips to help keep your summertime fun and safe:


  1. Make sure the pedestrian gates in the barrier fence are self-closing and self-latching. Other gates should be equipped with a locking device and should be kept locked. All gates should swing outwards away from the pool.
  2. Remove all chairs, tables, large toys or other objects closely spaced that would allow a child to climb up to reach the gate latch or enable the child to climb over the pool isolation fence. Chain link fences should have a mesh opening 1 ¾” or less. Repair any opening in fencing that would allow the passage of a 4” sphere or greater.
  3. Reaching and throwing aids like poles should be kept on both sides of the pool. These items should remain stationary and not be misplaced through play activities.
  4. All pool and hot tub drains (suction outlets) must have a cover or grate that meets industry standard for suction fittings marked to indicate compliance with ANSI/ASME A112.19.8 2007 (Suction fittings for use in swimming pools, wading pools, spas and hot tubs) or the successor standard ANSI/APSP/ICC 16-2017 (Suction outlet fitting assemblies for use in pools, spas, and hot tubs). Check to see that covers are not broken or in disrepair, and that they are anchored firmly over the drain openings. The pool should be closed immediately when broken, missing or noncompliant suction outlet drain covers are first noticed.
  5. Install a pool alarm to detect accidental or unauthorized entrance into the pool area. While the alarm provides an immediate warning, it is not a good substitute for barrier fences, and door alarms.


  1. Completely inspect all railings including guardrails and handrails for loose connections. Railings should not move laterally more than 3/16” or support 200 lbs. per lineal foot.
  2. Perform a detailed inspection on the ledger board connection to the rim joist. One mechanical connector is required within 12” of each end of each ledger board (Lateral resistance).
  3. Check all beam-to-post connections for separation, rotting wood and large cracks.


  1. Place all grills away from siding, deck railings and out from underneath eaves and overhanging branches. Do not use grills in garage, porch or enclosed area that could trap carbon monoxide. Never grill on top of anything that could easily burn.
  2. Keep children away from grills when in use. Establish a safety zone around the grill and instruct the children to remain outside the zone. Never leave the grill unattended.
  3. When grilling have a fire extinguisher, a garden hose or several gallons of water close by in case of a fire.

 Most backyard injuries occur around pools, decks and grills, please keep it safe and enjoy the rest of the summer.

Aug 16

Storm & Lightning Safety

Posted on August 16, 2022 at 10:54 AM by Hannah Behl

Because lightning can strike anywhere, it is beneficial for homeowners to consider electrical and surge protection devices on the interior and exterior of the home. Interior devices include surge protectors that can mitigate damage to many of the electric appliances and electronics in your home. Exterior devices include whole-house surge protectors and lightning protection systems. These devices provide the highest level of protection, require compliance with local building codes, and require professional installation.

  • Surge Protection Devices- A good electrical grounding system can protect electronics and electrical appliances from all but the most severe electrical surges or direct strikes. Surge protection devices are typically installed at point of use.
  • Lightning protection systems- These systems use rods and cables to create a direct path for lightning to follow to the ground instead of moving through the hose and it’s wiring. Consult a qualified contractor for installation, but note that lightning protection systems will not protect against lightning or power surge that enters through the telephone, cable, or electric lines to the house.
  • Whole House Surge Protection Systems- This device is usually installed on the electric meter and helps protect appliances and electronic equipment in your house. If your local utility provider does not offer installation services, a qualified electrician can install this device.
Aug 16

Swimming Pool Safety

Posted on August 16, 2022 at 10:53 AM by Hannah Behl

With summer and warm weather upon us, it is time to break out the swimming pools and get ready for fun. Along with the recreation opportunities pools also bring an element of danger into your backyard space. The following is a safety checklist for opening up the swimming pool.

  1. Inspect the physical barrier to the pool, it needs to be at least 48” tall, all gates through it need to be self-closing, and self-locking.
  2. All metal fencing, sidewalls and structural elements of the pool shall be grounded as to prevent electrical shock hazard.
  3. Any pool which has direct access from the house to the pool needs to have an alarm system for that door.

You will need to apply for a building permit for your pool if:

  1. The water surface is greater then 144 sq. ft.
  2. The depth of the water is greater than 24”.
  3. The swimming pool requires any electrical equipment such as a filtration system, a water heater, or lighting.

A sad fact is that in the United States we have an average of 5000 pool related drownings each year which may be preventable by following these few rules and safety precautions. As always, if you have any questions regarding this article, please feel free to call us at 517-668-0278.