Drowning is one of the major causes of death among children below 5 years old. Adult supervision is the best protection against drowning of children. Along with this, a child-resistant pool fence can act as secondary protection.
Thus, the Australian Government has been making a great effort to ratify a number of laws to reduce pool accidents and drowning cases. As a pool owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that their children are safe in the pool.
Moreover, you should ensure that your pool is safe and compliant with the law. To guide you with this laws, here is an resource explaining the Australian standard on pool and spa fencing and gate in NSW.
History of Swimming Pools Act in NSW
(Preliminary) Swimming Pools Act 1990
Since 1990, each local State in Australia has its own set of pool requirements. Thus, the Swimming Pool Act 1990 was introduced. This states a number of requirements for swimming pools.
However, it was discussed that there are some discrepancies from the pool standard. Hence, it was repealed and replaced by Swimming Pools Act 1992. In the Swimming Pool Act 1992, they introduced some exceptions on the pool fence requirement under sections 8, 9 and 10.
Swimming Pools Act 1992
The Swimming Pool Act 1992 applies the AS 1926-1986. This act requires all new swimming pools to install a child-resistant barrier. Its general requirement is to separate the pool from any residential building.
For pools on small properties with less than 230 square metres, they are exempted from the requirement provided that access to the pool is restricted through a child-proof door and window. This also applies to pools that are constructed before 1 Aug 1990.
This act has been amended 8 times from 1992 to the current period. There are also 3 versions of the Regulations which are from 1992, 1998 and 2008.
Swimming Pools Amendment Act 2009
The Swimming Pools Amendment Act 2009 was a result of a review of the Swimming Pools Act in 2006. It was identified that the risk of a child to drown is related to the type of barrier installed around the pool. This means that installing a four-sided barrier has a much lower risk of drowning compared to a three-sided barrier.
After several discussions, the Swimming Pools Amendment Act 2009 was made. Its main objective is for new pools to install a consistent and high standard four-sided pool barrier.
Swimming Pools Amendment Act 2012
Since the number of fatal drowning among children is rising, different pool safety advocates requested to further strengthen the Swimming Pools Act. Thus, the Department of Premier and Cabinet has released a Discussion Paper which reviews the Swimming Pools Act 1992.
This results in the ratification of the Swimming Pools Amendment Act 1992. They made a lot of amendments including the requirement to register the pool on the Swimming Pool Register, creation of a new class of certifiers (E1 certifiers), obligation to have a certificate of compliance before sale or lease of a property with a pool.
Swimming Pools Regulations 2018
The Swimming Pools Regulations 2018 commenced last 1 September 2018. It supports Swimming Pools Act 1992. It also features some improvements in the operation and administration of the Act. The changes include increasing maximum fees that local authorities may charge, new requirement to display a warning notice for pools that are being constructed, minor changes on the warning notices.
To further explain the Swimming Pools Act, Australian Standards are published. It provides a minimum set of requirements to ensure that the regulation is reliable and consistent.
Australian standard for pool fencing
In NSW, there are 3 different standards that apply. These standards also depend on when the swimming pool was constructed.
AS 1926 was the Australian standards for Fences and Gates for Private Swimming Pools. It was published on 4 August 1986. The following are the Australian standards for pool fencing in NSW.
Australian Standard AS 1926-1986
This was intended for pool fences and gates for private swimming pools. This is the standard used for pools that are constructed until 30 August 2008.
Australian Standard AS 1926.1-2007
This is the Australian standard for pools that are constructed from 1 September 2008 up to 30 April 2013. For its Part 1, it contains safety barriers for swimming pools.
This standard was implemented to assist pool owners in avoiding any pool-related accidents. This is done by providing various options on pool designs, construction and performance.
Australian Standard AS 1926.1-2012
This is the Australian standard for swimming pool safety. It is applicable for pools that are constructed from 1 May 2013 up to present. This also incorporates changes to correct and clarify certain inconsistencies from the previous version.
Important dates (Swimming Pool Laws)
The requirements for the pool fence in a residential building will differ according to the date the pool was constructed. Here are the important dates to look for.
Pools that are built before 1 August 1990
All means of access from a residential building to the pool must be restricted at all times. If windows and doors are part of the barrier, they must be compliant with the regulation.
Pools built after 1 August 1990, before 1 July 2010
All pool must be enclosed by a child-resistant barrier. It should also separate the pool from a residential building.
Moreover, there are exemptions apply to pools with very small property with less than 230 square metres, pools with a large property with 2 hectares or over and waterfront property.
Pools built after 1 July 2010
A compliant pool barrier must separate the residential building and swimming pool. This applies to all new pools.
After knowing ALL the Australian Standards on Pool & Spa Fencing and Gate in NSW? What should I do now?
Keeping your kids and loved ones safe in the pool should be one of your priorities as a pool owner. Thus, installing a child-resistant barrier is necessary.
Understanding the Australian standard is important to raise awareness among homeowners about pool safety. Apart from that, knowing this can help you determine which standard is applicable to your pool.
For further information about pool safety, you can approach an experienced and reliable private certifier like My Pool Safety. They can inspect and assess your pools. They can also provide services such as pool repairs to make your pools compliant with the law.
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