Swimming Pool and Spa Fencing and Safety

View from Warragamba Lookout

All existing and new swimming pools and spas must comply with the State Government Swimming Pool Fencing Legislation, in particular the Swimming Pools Act 1992, Swimming Pool Regulation 2008 and Australian Standard AS1926.

The legislation affects all private swimming pools and spas associated with residential dwellings.

Due to the significant safety risk that backyard pools and spas can pose, all pools and spas that have a capacity greater than 2000 litres require Council approval, and all pools and spas that have a depth greater than 300mm require a child proof barrier that complies with Australian Standard AS1926 - Safety Barrier for Swimming Pools.

The following is a list of basic pool fencing requirements taken from AS1926.1- Safety Barrier for Swimming Pools:

  • A pool fence must be a minimum of 1200mm (1.2m) from ground level on the outside of the pool fence.
  • The gap beneath the pool fence between the bottom rail and the ground level must not be more than 100mm.
  • The gap between vertical or near vertical rails in the pool fence must not be more than 100mm.
  • There must be no potential footholds such as furniture, BBQs, toys, tree branches, adjoining fences and the like within 900mm of the top rail of the pool fence on the outside and within 300mm of the pool fence on the inside.
  • All pool gates must open outwards away from the swimming pool, as well as be self-closing and self-latching from fully open and from just off the latch.
  • A current CPR resuscitation chart must be displayed inside the pool and spas area in a prominent location.
  • If spas are not fenced they must have a lockable childsafe structure or lid that stops the lid opening over 100mm.

 

In the last few years, inflatable and prefabricated pools have become popular alternatives for people, in comparison to the cost of a full size permanent swimming pool and many of these pools have been installed without first consulting Council.

These inflatable pools pose the same safety risk to children as larger pools and may still require approval and a pool fence if they have the capability to hold more than 2000 litres and have a depth of greater than 300mm.

If you are a member of the public and have any concerns with the condition or installation of your pool or spa barrier, Council is available to inspect your barrier to ensure compliance with the swimming pool regulations for a nominal fee of $150.00.

Under the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and Swimming Pools Regulation 2008 some properties may have an exemption to the requirement to install a pool fence.

However the Swimming Pools Regulation 2008 currently has provision allowing Council to require the owner of a pool to upgrade the pool barrier to the current standard should the barrier be altered significantly or rebuilt, or if the barrier does not comply with the old requirements, please see Rural Properties below.

All pools on rural properties are required to have a child-resistant barrier however as stated above exemptions can apply for certain properties (properties greater than 2 hectares in sized with swimming pools constructed before 1 July 2010.

These properties (instead of installing a pool fence) can comply if they comply with the following requirements:

Windows - Windows are to be permanently restricted to allow a maximum of 100mm gap when fully open or covered with bars or a metal screen.
Doors - A lock, bolt, chain or latch mechanism shall be installed at a minimum height of 1.5 metres above the floor level of the adjoining dwelling / residential building.

Contact the Building Team for further enquiries on 02 4677 1100.

Penalties exist for pools installed without fences or approval.