A homeowner association (HOA) is an organization in a subdivision, planned community, or condominium building that makes and enforces rules for the properties and residents. HOA-governed communities often have common areas like swimming pools, fitness centers, and clubhouses.
A private swimming pool run by a homeowner association is an attractive amenity for current property owners and potential buyers. However, while they can be popular, pools create a number of liabilities for the association that need to be addressed to avoid safety and legal concerns. To retain the benefits that a pool brings to the community, the board of directors or association management will need to mitigate these risks of operating a pool by instituting proper safety measures.
There are four areas of risk to consider:
- Someone getting hurt or drowning in the pool area
- Chemical imbalances in the water that can cause illness
- Overcrowding and unauthorized entry – this includes people swimming during closed hours or unsupervised children or pets gaining access
To mitigate these risks:
Proper fencing and gating – this is a basic requirement and is required by North Carolina State law. Check here for FAQ on Wake County Pool Regulations.
Control access – there are a couple of options available to HOAs like mechanical coded lock systems, magnetic strip key cards, and coded key fobs. Card and key fobs are top solutions to control swimming pool and fitness center access. Requiring proximity cards or badges to enter the pool gates keeps strangers or unattended children out while offering convenient access to members or residents. They can also be set up to open gates at specific times and coded so authorized personnel can review when keys are used for legal as well as illegal entry.
A perimeter fence and locked gate is a good start but will not always deter trespassers or vandalism and can’t help identify the perpetrators if this happens. So cameras are recommended to supplement fencing and gates.
Cameras serve two purposes. If they are openly visible to people entering your community, they will serve as a deterrent to vandalism and off-hours entry. They will also provide helpful evidence for prosecuting individuals caught in the act of committing crimes or in enforcing violations of an HOA’s governing documents. In addition, should the unfortunate situation arise of someone getting hurt or drowning, cameras offer the option to review the situation to ensure safety equipment was in place, and lifeguards and EMTs followed protocol.
It is important to note that cameras should be regularly checked and maintained to ensure proper operation.
Key Considerations when installing or upgrading pool surveillance cameras:
1) Fencing and camera line of sight: Angles and positioning are major concerns for the direction you would like to aim the camera. Be mindful of potential visual obstructions that could become a problem in terms of where the camera is positioned.
2) Height off the ground: If at all possible, cameras should be placed at least nine feet above the floor/ground, so that it will be more difficult for would-be intruders to tamper with them.
3) Image quality: Your surveillance cameras should have “recognizable” image quality – could it be used to identify a suspect or clarify a situation? After all, what good is having video footage if you can’t use it when you need to? In addition to having the right camera, there needs to be enough lighting at night where the cameras are placed to produce usable images.
4) Camera angles: For example, a camera that is positioned in an area with seasonal trees could offer a clear view in the winter, but leaves may block the view in the summer. In addition, if you have a camera positioned to shoot into nighttime lighting or morning/evening sun, it could possibly hinder the camera’s field of vision for that span of time.
As you can see, there are a number of important things for HOAs to consider when securing common areas. Secur Tek, Inc. has experience helping HOAs in the Triangle Area through the process of selecting and installing the right equipment given your situation, budget, and homeowner requirements.
To learn more, visit our HOA page, then contact us by filling out the form or calling 919-387-1800.
Secur-Tek is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security, monitoring, controlled access, automation, audio, and central vacuum systems.
Our service area includes Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, and Pittsboro in North Carolina.