Anyone in New Jersey who is planning to buy an easily constructed or inflatable pool for their Fourth of July barbecue should know it is more than likely that at least one permit is required.

Ring pool

There are also security regulations that could apply. One state lawmaker is now urging box stores that sell these types of pools to inform customers about the permit requirements.

"A permit is required for any structure that holds greater than 24 inches of water. Depending upon what your definition is of a kiddie pool, that could in fact define a kiddie pool," said Bob LaCosata, a Scotch Plains construction official and president of the NJ Building Officials Association.

The code is very clear and applies to any structure that is intended for swimming or recreational bathing that contains water over 2 feet, including in-ground, above-ground swimming pools, hot tubs and spas, Locasta explained. He said the regulations are about safety only.

A separate permit is needed if there is an electrical component involved such as a filter and security around the pool is also required. That could include a non-climbable barrier surrounding the entire property or the pool itself. A self-closing and self-latching gate that opens away from the water is needed. There are also gate and latch height requirements.

Most towns are reactive and do not have officials driving around looking for violations in people's backyards, but when they are made aware of illegal pools, steps are taken to let owners know that if they want to keep their pool they will have to get the proper permits, LaCosta said.

Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) said he did not want to see people get fined or have their pool taken down simply because they did not know about the regulations.

"I'm only asking stores to tell customers about the permits because we have enough laws in this state and I don't want to impose further burdens on retailers, but I do want to get the message out," Bramnick said. "If a kiddie pool needs a permit that would be like giving a violation to a lemonade stand. If that occurs I will actually physically sit in a kiddie pool and they're going to have to take me away as well."

The situation came to Bramnick's attention through calls from constituents who also told him about the possibility of fines.

"The fines under the uniform construction code are arbitrary, but you do have to fine," LaCosta said. "You can fine anywhere from a dollar to $2,000 per event, but 95 percent of the code officials in New Jersey look for compliance and not money."

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