Thursday, March 22, 2012

Westbury Aluminum Railing Building Code Compliance Report

One question that we are asked often is whether the Westbury Aluminum Railings that we sell comply with the IRC and IBC building codes.  They do, and a newly published Code Compliance Research Report written by Architectural Testing - Certification Services is available to customers who need to get approval from local building officials.

The report includes drawings and specifications for the Westbury Tuscany (C10 & C101) Series, Westbury Riviera (C30R, C31, C32, C33, & C34) Series, and the Westbury Veranda (C70) Glass Railing System.


Click the image to download the report

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What is the ICC Pool Fence Code?

As a homeowner / DIY'er, trying to figure out how to build your pool fence to code can be a frustrating game of alphabet soup.  Search for "pool fence code" and you'll likely come across such acronyms as BOCA, ICC, IBC, and IRC, and ... you get the picture.  It's enough to make you want to say "the heck with it, I'll fill the pool in and plant a garden." (we have fences for that too.)

But, don't give up yet.  In this article, we are going to save you the pain of searching and tell you exactly where to find the list of pool fence codes, but first, here's a little background that might clear up some of the confusion 

Note: If you really don't care about any of this and you just want to find a code compliant pool fence, click here.

What's this BOCA code I keep hearing about?

If you've been planning a pool fence for a while, then you've probably heard about something called the BOCA Pool Fence Code.  BOCA (which stands for Building Officials and Code Administrators) Code was a regional building association that published standards for the construction industry from around 1950 to 1994.  In 1994, BOCA was rolled into an organization called the International Code Council (ICC).  The pool barrier code is still widely referred to as BOCA Code, even though, technically, thats no longer its name.

The ICC and the IBC

The ICC (International Code Council) is a non-profit organization that started in 1994 through the joining of three regional building associations: BOCA, SBCCI, and ICBO. The ICC arose from the need for a nationally uniform set of building standards; and so in 2000, the council published the International Building Code, or IBC, which is a comprehensive set of codes, standards, and guidelines that cover everything from plumbing to fire safety.

If the ICC is a non-profit organization, and not a state or federal government entity, why should we care what their codes say?  After all, anybody can publish a set of codes or standards, but they don't mean anything unless they are enforced. 
The ICC is important because their codes (the IBC) are widely adopted by both state and local jurisdictions (and they do have the ability to enforce it).  In fact, there's a good chance that your local building codes come directly from the IBC; maybe with a few additional rules thrown in for good measure.
More information about the ICC can be found at http://www.icc.org

The IBC as it Relates to Pool Fences

The part of the IBC that we care about for the purpose of this article is small, only a few paragraphs related to outdoor residential pool barriers in Appendix G of the International Residential Code: SECTION AG105 BARRIER REQUIREMENTS.

The codes, which encompass both fences and other barriers like stone/masonry walls, define the minimum safety requirements for a barrier around a swimming pool, spa, or hot tub.  The intent the codes is to reduce the likelihood of drowning and injury by effectively restricting access; particularly unsupervised access by children. 
Below is a short summary of the most relevant codes.  The entire pool barrier section can be found at the link above.
  • Installed pool fences should be at least 48” high from finished ground level, as measured along the outside of the fence and should have no more than a 2” gap from the bottom of the fence to the ground .
  • The fence should block anything more than 4” in diameter from passing through one of its openings.
  • The fence or barrier must not be climbable. If made of stone or brick (ie. a brick wall), it should not have protrusions or indentations other than normal construction tolerances and tooled masonry joints. It must also be positioned far enough away from permanent structures so that they do not provide climbing assistance.
  • Pedestrian Pool fence gates must be self closing, must open outwards from the pool, and must have a self latching/locking device. Gates that are not meant for pedestrian use must have a self latching device.
The following code applies to chain link pool fences.
  • Chain link fences should have a mesh no larger than 2 1/4 inches unless the fence is provided with privacy slats fastened at the top or bottom which reduce the opening to 1 3/4" or less.
The following code applies to fences with diagonal members such as lattice pool fences
  • Lattice type fences should have no opening more than 1 3/4 inches between diagonals.

An Important Note Regarding Pool Safety:

A pool fence is an important line of defense against accidental drownings, but it is not the only step that can/should be taken.  Visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission for some excellent resources regarding swimming pool safety.

ICC Code Compliant Pool Fences
*Make sure that any fence also meets your local codes by calling or visiting your local building department.

The Good news is that most fence manufacturers have pre-fabricated fence panel styles that meet ICC Codes (and often, but not always, local codes).  All you have to do is install the fence according to the manufacturers instructions and choose code compliant hinges and latches for your gates. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vinyl Fencing by Bufftech Now Available Online

We are happy to announce that Signet Fence now sells Bufftech Vinyl Fencing online.  Check out some of our most popular styles.

Bufftech New Lexington

The Bufftech New Lexington is an economy vinyl privacy fence that has been redesigned with many of the premium features that you would expect in a high end model, including: tongue and groove pickets, curve deco rails, and a steel reinforced bottom raill to prevent sagging; all for less than $16 per ft..  Available in both white and tan, the New Lexington looks great standing alone or when accented with vibrant colored landscaping as in the picture below.



*Buy your New Lexington Vinyl Privacy Fence online*

Bufftech Chesterfield with Certagrain Texture

The Bufftech Chesterfield with CertaGrain is a top of the line vinyl privacy fence with authentic looking wood grain textures.  It is available in 7 beautiful colors that blend with the natural elements of your yard, rather than overpowering them.  Chesterfield with CertaGrain also features Bufftech's exclusive ColorLast Dark Color Protectant which reduces fading and maintains the natural appeal throughout the life of your fence.

Chesterfield meets ICC residential pool barrier codes (talk to your local zoning office to make sure that it meets local codes).  It is a popular vinyl fence option for both large residential developments and DIY projects.



*Buy your Chesterfield Privacy Fence w/ Certagrain Texture online*


Bufftech Baron

Bufftech Baron is a contemporary pool fence with a clean, modern looking design.  A beautiful looking fence around the pool or the front yard, the Baron has vinyl picket spacing that meets the standards of the residential pool code, without impeding the view.  A great, low maintenance alternative to the classic wrought iron pool fence.  The smooth finish Baron is available in both White and Tan colors.









*Buy your Baron Pool Fence online*


Bufftech Danbury

A classic 4' picket fence that you never have to paint; the Bufftech Danbury will enhance the look of your home for a lifetime with a minimal amount of work.  Plus, with its good Neighbor design, the Danbury looks great on both sides of the fence unlike wood picket fences that require nails and/or brackets.  Dress it up with solar post caps and create a perfect contrast of classic and modern styles.   Available in White and Almond.



*Buy your Danbury Vinyl Picket Fence online*

About Bufftech Vinyl Fences

Bufftech, which is manufactured by Certainteed, sets the bar in quality, affordable vinyl fencing. A pioneer in the industry, Certainteed has manufactured building materials in the United States for over 100 years, and they have a history of innovation and technical excellence that few, if any, other vinyl fence manufacturers can offer.

Part what sets Bufftech Vinyl Fences apart from other brands is Certainteed's attention to the details; like offering a wide range of color and texture options instead of just white, precision routing all posts to eliminate the use of installation hardware and adhesives, and reinforcing the bottom rail of all fence panels with steel to prevent sagging and ensure that the fence maintains its aesthetic clean lines. 

Bufftech Vinyl Fences also offer these benefits:
  • They are extremely user friendly due to their ease of installation, low maintenance, and industry leading lifetime warranty. 
  • They are cost effective.  True, vinyl fences have a higher up front cost; but, over the life of the fence, they can cost up to 75% less than natural wood fences when you factor in maintenance and replacement costs.
  • They are safer for children and pets - Bufftech Vinyl fences have smooth surfaces with no nails, splinters, or sharp edges upon which children or pets could cut themselves.  This also means that they are extremely difficult to climb over.
  • They are building code compliant.
  • They come with an industry leading, lifetime limited warranty.