Swimming pool safety rules in France
A house with a pool in France is many people’s dream but make sure your swimming pool complies with French safety regulations or you could face a hefty fine
Why are there safety rules for private swimming pools?
Rules and regulations for inground swimming pools were introduced in France in order to prevent people (especially children) from drowning in privately owned swimming pools. These rules apply whether the pool is only for private use by your family or for collective use, for example used by paying guests.
Do they apply to all swimming pools?
The regulations apply to in-ground/ground level swimming pools, spas and hot tubs but not above-ground pools, indoor pools or ponds. There is a fine of €45,000 for owners who don’t comply by the safety regulations.
Read more: Installing a swimming pool in France
What are the regulations?
All swimming pools covered by the regulations must have a safety device in place that conforms to the AFNOR standards set out in the rules. There are four types of approved security systems: security barriers, pool alarms, pool covers or a pool shelter. Most people rely on a combination of alarms and fences but your local DIY store, garden centre or swimming pool specialist will be able to advise you on the best system for your pool.
1. Security barriers (une barrière de protection)
This is recommended by the CSC as it a physical barrier around the pool and prevents children reaching the pool without supervision. Unlike the other methods it doesn’t have to be switched on but is always there. The barrier can be removable or permanent but must conform to the standard NF P 90-306. The barrier should be a minimum height of 1.1m and have a self-closing and self-locking gate that children under 5 cannot open.
2. Pool alarms (une alarme de piscine)
These can either be an immersion detector (triggered by someone entering the water) or a perimeter alarm (triggered by someone approaching the pool) and must conform to the standard NF P 90-307. These are more discreet that fencing but relies on someone being around to turn the alarm on and react if it goes off. Therefore it is recommended to use an alarm in addition to a fence.
Read more: The cost of maintaining a swimming pool in France
3. Pool covers (une couverture de sécurité)
Covering the pool when not in use is an effective way of preventing anyone falling in and drowning, however, again it relies on someone being around to put the cover on. The cover must comply with the standard NP F 90-308 and if the cover isn’t used in summer then another security device must be fitted.
4. Pool shelter (un abri de piscine)
A pool shelter is basically a slide-out cover which stands over the pool, effectively turning it into an indoor pool. This is the most expensive option and can block your view but might mean you can use your pool during the winter too.
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