Ordering a Poolside Cocktail Just Got Easier

pool enclosure

Accessing amenities within a pool enclosure is once again possible! Omgivning’s successful collaboration with LA County officials allows developers and designers to improve how millions of people experience pools in LA, all while improving safety.

Rooftop and open-air pools in Los Angeles used to allow people to freely go from the pool to the bar. However in 2016, barriers around pools became required additions, impeding easy access to and from the pool amenity areas. These pool enclosures were due to an LA County-issued interpretation of the state code for pool enclosures.

Pretty early on, we realized that this reinterpretation posed major, unforeseen challenges that limited pool access. People now needed to leave the pool area if they wanted to sit by a fire, visit the BBQ area, or order food and drinks from the bar/restaurant, all because the code required that these amenities be designed well outside of the pool enclosure. Among the unintended consequences, parents would have to choose between leaving a child unattended within the enclosure and bringing them out of the pool area just to use an amenity.

We assembled a task force that included developers, an entitlements consultant, pool consultants, and fellow architects to help resolve these issues. Armed with real-world technical experience, our team compiled case studies of pools in Los Angeles and surrounding counties where the code was interpreted in various different ways. These studies helped show the impact of this reinterpretation.

In a series of meetings with the LA County Health Department (facilitated by the Central City Association), our team worked directly with county officials to create a new code clarification.

Introducing our latest project: Released in October 2019 by LA County, this bulletin has many new (and improved) clarifications. Most notably:

  • Hotel amenities (such as bars, restaurants, and firepits) are allowed to be in a pool enclosure if they are operated by the same operator of the pool, and if there are equal amenities outside the enclosure for non-pool users.
  • Apartment amenities (such as BBQ areas, firepits, and community rooms) can be included within the pool enclosure as long as there are equal amenities outside of the enclosure for non-pool users.

This bulletin impacts all new and renovated pools in LA County. Safer, more welcoming pools are once again a feature of LA's residential and hotel projects.

Our Team Task Force Leader: Omgivning (Karin Liljegren, Lauren Mishkind, Morgan Sykes Jaybush)

Major players: Central City Association (Marie Rumsey), Killefer Flammang Architects (Tarrah Beebe), Los Angeles County Department of Environmental Health (Terri Williams, Brenda Lopez, Maurice Pantoja, Liza Frias, Scott Abbott)

Additional contributors: KOR Group (Noah Gigliotti), EPG (Elizabeth Peterson-Gower), Rockefeller Kempel Architects (Rocky Rockefeller), CIM Group (Clyde Wood), Central City Association (Shane Phillips), STO Design Group, Inc. (Ken McPhie)

Advocacy, Architecture, Code Reform, Design, Downtown LA, Human Centered Design, Pool Enclosures