Door alarms for city code inspection

ccp4321

Active member
Mar 3, 2015
31
Texas
So the pool is finished and it's time for the city (Pearland, TX) to perform the final inspection. One requirement is for an alarm on any door that permits access to pool area to alert the homeowner. My understanding is that to comply with the code the alarm shoudl sound for a minimum of 30 seconds once triggered.

The cost effective single door/window alarms I've found in Home Depot all appear to sound only whilst the door is opened and are silenced by closing the door. My interpretation of the code is that once triggered, the alarm should sound for 30 seconds irrespective of the door position.

My questions are :
1. Am I overcomplicating matters with my interpretation?
2. What sort of alarm is the inspector going to expect / insist upon?
3. Is an alarm that is silenced by closing the door again going to be adequate?

Thanks

Charlie
 

Marlahoutex

Platinum Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Aug 9, 2014
2,550
Houston tx
Does the city have any recommendations on alarms? Also you can do a search on this forum for door alarms. I know there is a thread for them.
 

ccp4321

Active member
Mar 3, 2015
31
Texas
No recommendations on the city web site and the past posts I've read are inconclusive. Reading between the lines I suspect the ineffective device would be acceptable. I'll try and ring the city tomorrow and get some advice which I'll post here if its constructive.
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,489
Tucson
Our code allows you to have self closing doors with latches placed above 42 inches in place of alarms. I don't know if you have alternatives to alarms, but you can ask.
 

jmastron

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2014
258
Sacramento, CA
When my parents installed theirs, and when I researched it here, the pool alarm requirements are pretty specialized: Must sound within 7 seconds of opening the door, can have a button that prevents it from sounding for 15 seconds (so you press it, open and close the door), sounds for a certain time, etc. Like this:

Amazon.com : Poolguard DAPT-2 Water Hazard Pool Door Alarm : Swimming Pool Alarms : Patio, Lawn Garden

I'd bet that if the city requires alarms, they want something like that, and a non-pool-designed alarm isn't going to be acceptable. Kind of a pain to have to press the button every time, but once inspected it's possible that some people have the battery accidentally fall out when no children are around...
 

pabeader

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
May 14, 2015
4,349
Cartersville Ga
Here's a good one. Does your city require you to also alarm your house door? My fenced in area includes the house, so the inspector required that the door leading into the backyard from the house, be alarmed also. The landlord had to get something special added to the house alarm to keep the audible on for a few extra seconds. The bypass is near the light switch so not too terrible to remember.
 

jmastron

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2014
258
Sacramento, CA
Here's a good one. Does your city require you to also alarm your house door? My fenced in area includes the house, so the inspector required that the door leading into the backyard from the house, be alarmed also. The landlord had to get something special added to the house alarm to keep the audible on for a few extra seconds. The bypass is near the light switch so not too terrible to remember.
I assumed that was what the OP was asking about, doors from the house. In most places, fence gates don't need to be alarmed (but have requirements for height and climbability, need to be self-closing and have a magnetic latch etc), while doors from the house need alarms if they lead directly to the pool.
 

ccp4321

Active member
Mar 3, 2015
31
Texas
I assumed that was what the OP was asking about, doors from the house. In most places, fence gates don't need to be alarmed (but have requirements for height and climbability, need to be self-closing and have a magnetic latch etc), while doors from the house need alarms if they lead directly to the pool.
I was asking specifically about doors from the house that lead to the area adjacent to the pool. I've rung several numbers for Pearland city but not found a human that I can talk to regarding this - too many automated phone systems these days!
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,489
Tucson
When my parents installed theirs, and when I researched it here, the pool alarm requirements are pretty specialized: Must sound within 7 seconds of opening the door, can have a button that prevents it from sounding for 15 seconds (so you press it, open and close the door), sounds for a certain time, etc. Like this:

Amazon.com : Poolguard DAPT-2 Water Hazard Pool Door Alarm : Swimming Pool Alarms : Patio, Lawn Garden

I'd bet that if the city requires alarms, they want something like that, and a non-pool-designed alarm isn't going to be acceptable. Kind of a pain to have to press the button every time, but once inspected it's possible that some people have the battery accidentally fall out when no children are around...
"Battery accidentally fall out" is the reason many codes say that the alarm must be powered by the house AC system. A safety system that is easily defeated or quits working when batteries die, (or are removed) isn't safe at all. I can't tell you how many fires I've seen in houses where smoke detectors had dead or missing batteries. Newer codes require AC powered smoke detectors with battery backup. Will you remember to replace the battery that "fell out" every single time a child visits your home? One tragedy is one too many.

Most codes provide the same protection for doors leading to the pool as gates. That is, if the gate must be self closing and have a latch a specific distance above grade, a door with the same characteristics should meet that code. That's what we have done to all our doors, self closing with latches placed high enough to be out of reach for little ones.
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,489
Tucson
A little research on Pearland's website shows that they have adopted the 2006 version of the ICC international code. Looking that up you find the following:

9. Where a wall of a dwelling serves as part of the barrier, one of the following conditions shall be met:
9.1. The pool shall be equipped with a powered safety cover in compliance with ASTM F 1346; or
9.2. Doors with direct access to the pool through that wall shall be equipped with an alarm which produces an audible warning when the door and/or its screen, if present, are opened. The alarm shall be listed in accordance with UL 2017. The audible alarm shall activate within 7 seconds and sound continuously for a minimum of 30 seconds after the door and/or its screen, if present, are opened and be capable of being heard throughout the house during normal household activities. The alarm shall automatically reset under all conditions. The alarm system shall be equipped with a manual means, such as touch pad or switch, to temporarily deactivate the alarm for a single opening. Deactivation shall last for not more than 15 seconds. The deactivation switch(es) shall be located at least 54 inches (1372 mm) above the threshold of the door; or
9.3. Other means of protection, such as self-closing doors with self-latching devices, which are approved by the governing body, shall be acceptable so long as the degree of protection afforded is not less than the protection afforded by Item 9.1 or 9.2 described above.


Since it does provide for "other means of protection", it looks like self closing with high latches are an option. Since 54 inches is the minimum for the alarm control that may be the height for a latch.
 

pabeader

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
May 14, 2015
4,349
Cartersville Ga
what part of the window did he measure too? If it was the sill, just remove it. :)

That's being a little picky. When we had a fence done at a previous house, the inspector never even pulled a tape out. Just walked it off and called it good.
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,489
Tucson
Depending on how much of a stickler he want to be, that could mean having to change out the windows for tempered glass ($$$). The only good news is that, if your pool builder made this mistake, it's on him.
 

Dr. Hops

Active member
Feb 8, 2015
32
Canton, GA
Walmart carries a door alarm that sells for $7. I'm not in Texas, I'm in Georgia, but the city inspector here didn't time the alarm. All he did was open the door to trigger it.

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk
 

ccp4321

Active member
Mar 3, 2015
31
Texas
what part of the window did he measure too? If it was the sill, just remove it. :)

That's being a little picky. When we had a fence done at a previous house, the inspector never even pulled a tape out. Just walked it off and called it good.
He measured it from the glass to the edge of the coping. PB has been informed and I'm waiting for their response.
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,489
Tucson
From a safety standpoint I hate the idea of alarms. Everyone I know of who used them has disabled or removed them after passing their inspection. Some right away and others within a few months, saying they were just way too annoying. That leaves all these pools without that vital safety protection.

Having served 40 years in the Fire Service as a Firefighter, Paramedic, Fire Lieutenant, Captain, District Chief, and Fire Chief, I have seen way too many tragedies. For that reason alone, I specifically requested self closing doors with latches place way up out of little ones reach.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,061
Tucson, AZ
From a safety standpoint I hate the idea of alarms. Everyone I know of who used them has disabled or removed them after passing their inspection. Some right away and others within a few months, saying they were just way too annoying. That leaves all these pools without that vital safety protection.

Having served 40 years in the Fire Service as a Firefighter, Paramedic, Fire Lieutenant, Captain, District Chief, and Fire Chief, I have seen way too many tragedies. For that reason alone, I specifically requested self closing doors with latches place way up out of little ones reach.
+1 to that :goodpost:

We have a friend (work colleague) who has the big backyard and Arizona room with all the hardscaping, fire pits, sitting walls, etc and with NO fence around their free-form lagoon pool. Their backyard has three separate access points from the house. They have two kids close in age to my two oldest boys. The only alarm they have on the doors is the standard ADT house alarm that beeps when a sensor is opened (any door or window). When I inquired how they were allowed to get away with that, they told me the pool was built before Pima County code required pool enclosures.

Suffice it to say, my kids are NOT allowed to play there.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
13,845
Evans, Georgia
Our pool builder loaned us a fancy set (battery powered) to get us past the inspection, but with grandbebes underfoot I found it quite useful to hear when folks come and go through our front and back door. Skippy found a nice discrete white set that has two alarm settings and sounds (can be set for quick alert when open and shut or a really obnoxious loud squeal that is continuous). Nice as its up at the top of the door very small, no wires and discrete. We turn it on when ever the grandbebes are visiting. $20 each or so online.