Raililng or no railing

Deck at rear of home. Railings exist for the deck until it reaches the hot tub in the middle. I would think rails would be needed in this area also.

nachi pool.jpg


Guardrail is required for any walk off >30" above floor or grade. Min. height 36"

This is new construction. Be honest havent seen this set up before. I also would think a guard rail would be needed but the builder seems to disagree with me. He says its not considered a walking area.

Geez, then make it not a walking area by putting up a rail. Gotta love people.


All you can do is call it out(as a saftey issue if nothiing else). If the AHJ says it’s ok then it’s ok. IMHO

I guess no one will ever come out the door a little tipsy and very nearsighted on a dark night and walk right into the hot tub…or try to get out of the hot tub on the wrong side. Safety issue for sure.

So–OK…you’ve done your job by alerting the client to a potential hazard.

If the builder is happy and can assure the client that all is well, then the client would be happy as well.

I would suggest that the builder put his opinion in writing, just to protect the client. Of couse, that will probably be met with some scoffing and a little guffawing, but now the client knows about the builder.

So the next place is visit with the AHJ–the fact that an occupancy has been issued attests to AHJ approval. Now, if something goes awry, the client knows who best to sue…

Good luck suing the AHJ…most of them have indemnity, and can make all the mistakes they want. Good thing the vast majority of them do not take advantage of the indemnity.


I have to re-check this, but I remember a ‘clause’ in the NEC that said the NEC indemnifies any third-party inspection. That unless omitted by the adoption, it’s in-force.

when I find it, I’ll re-post.


Yea, new construction by “Kids R US”…:wink:

It doesn’t matter what code says or what the builder says. If you see a condition in which somone can be injured and you alert your client to that condition, you’ve done your job.

Thank you, K.S.!

If only it were that simple. When an HI reports something like this, especially on new construction, the client may hear two opposing opinions like seen here. Who is he to believe? Yes, I’ve ‘done my job’ by reporting my opinion but now that is being challenged by the builder. Should I simply ignore my client’s request for clarification or should tell him I’ve made my opinion known and that’s all I plan to do? Should I listen to his concern and questions and try to get the best answer for him as I can? Am I his advocate when it comes to interfacing with the builder? I believe the answer to the last two question is “You bet!”, I’m here to explain things to him and help him work with the builder to reach the best possible conclusion. Almost invariably, when someone asks a question like this on the BB several answers come back “just report it and move on”; well, in my opinion I think that would not be serving my clients in the best manner.

yes a definite safety issue to point out to the client, but at the same time i wouldnt want a guardrail 36" high making my entrance to the hot tub more difficult. its new construction and they have taken precautions by adding a black screen fence, clearly visable in the background, therefor preventing access to the hot tub from the back door. im with richard on this one. call it out and i also agree with what jae williams had to say.

I think you will find this is a code issue that is all over the map. Up here the requirement is anything more than 3 risers and a railing height of 42".

The “black screen fence” also appears to prevent access from the back door to anywhere else, so to get down the steps, one would have to presumably open a gate in the fence and walk along the hot tub. The fence, if that’s what it is, and if that’s what it’s for, is in the wrong place.

There may be such a clause in the NEC, but it doesn’t apply in Pennsylvania.

The State Department of Labor and Industry requires all 3rd Party inspection agencies to post errors and ommissions insurance in the amount of $1 million before they can be certified to perform inspections in the Commonwealth.

While goverments in Pennsylvania are somewhat immune from civil prosecution, their employees or agents are not, and can be held liable for civil and criminal penalties when acting in their official capacities.

In my jurisdication, our electrical inspector is a certified 3rd Party and needs to get his E&O insurance through Lloyd’s of London…and is thoroughly mindful at all times of his liability in electrical inspection matters.

If the jurisdiction uses Appendix G “Swimming Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs” of the 2006 International Residential Code, not only might this hot tub/spa require a 4’ barrier completely around it to prevent access to it, it may also require each door from the house to be alarmed to warn the occupants whenever anyone exits to the pool area.

Gates thtough barriers need to outswing from the pool area, be self closing and self latching and have the locking mechanism located at least 54" above the bottom of the gate.

The prupose is to prevent accidental drowning by children.

One can view Appendix G for swimming pools of the 2006 International Residential Code online by going to this link, then clicking “Appendix G” in the left column:


See section AG105 “Barrier Requirements”.

From the photos, it does not appear there is any approved barrier around the pool or spa area.

If the jurisdication has not adopted the IRC appendix for pools, there may be existing Zoning regulations which apply.

This installation would not pass a final code inspection in my jurisdiction.

Pool and spa code regulations apply to inflatable swimming pools as well.


Thank you for the information. I am blessed to have good AHJ’s around here, Bethlehem area, but hear of ‘problems’ further west. Meaning swings in level of control.

As for insurance, I don’t know how much e&o is but my gl is < $1000/year, so for professionals like inspectors, i’m sure it’s not much. :wink:



Most 3rd Party Code Agencies E&O costs well over $5000 per year in premiums in Pennsylvania.

In the case of my electrical inspector friend, who does any type of Electrical Code inspection from small residential electrical alterations to the installations of new commercial substations, his annual premium is significantly higher…