Pool Fence Regulations NSW Q&A Series No 5: Answers to "Does" Questions

Swimming in a pools is an enjoyable activity for the whole family. Pools can also provide a place for relaxation with friends and loved ones.

On the other hand, pools can be a source of injuries. Swimmers can get hurt by accidentally slipping and falling into the pool. Hence, it is important to comply with pool regulation NSW to ensure your safety.

As stated in the Australian Standards, all swimming pools must have safety barrier that are always maintained. These fences limit young children's access to the swimming pool.

In order to comply with the law, there are certain complance regulation in NSW that you should meet regarding pool fences, gates and windows which provide people with direct access to the pool. Below are the most common questions that pool owners may ask regarding safty regulations.

1. Does your pool comply?

The swimming pool regulation in New South Wales has specific measurement for your pool’s safety barrier, non-climbable zones, gates and their latching device etc. Your safety fence should meet legal requirements to ensure that your pool is secured.

To help you find out if your pool is complaint with the regulation, see this checklist below.

Your Pool fence must:

  • be at least 1.2m high
  • have gap (between the ground and the bottom of fenece) that is less than 10cm
  • not have gaps of more than 10cm between any vertical bars in the fence
  • have horizontal climbable bars that are at least 90cm apart.

Non-climbable zone:

  • Non-Climbable Zone is measured with arc shape from the top of the fence to the bottom.
  • All potential hand holds or foot holds such as trees, ladders, chairs etc. that are within the 900mm non-climbable zone should be removed.
  • Have 300mm clearance from the barrier inside the pool area.

Gates and latch:

  • The latch on the gate must be at least 1500mm above ground level.
  • No pet door or opening that exceeds 100mm.
  • There are no wall openings greater than 100mm.
  • Windows can only be open to a maximum of 100mm. 

All swimming pool should be installed with safety barriers as stated in the legislation.

2. Does every pool need a fence?

Pool safety legislation was implemented to protect children especially under 5 years old from any possible danger in indoor pools. Safety measures include pool barriers, gate latches and warning signs.

All swimming pool owners are required to comply with Swimming Pools Act 1992 and Swimming Pools Regulation 2008. These laws apply to every owner of property who has a swimming pool or spa pool.

Having a complaint pool fence around your pool reduces potential accidents from an unsupervised pool use.

3. Does a spa pool need to be certified?

If you have outdoor spa pool, you are required to register your pool in NSW Swimming pool register.  Same as indoor pools, spa pools should also follow pool safety regulations.  

You can ask your local council or a private certifier to evaluate your pool. If your pool is found to be compliant after inspection, you will be issued a compliance certificate.

However, pool barriers that were built before 1990’s will have an exemption on pool compliance. Read on below.

4. Does your pool fence have to comply with the latest regulation if it was built before 1987?

There are some exemptions for existing pools based on the age and location of the pool. This exemption applies to all pools constructed before 1 August 1990 and pools on small properties less than 230m2 which were built prior on 1 July 2010.

The owner can choose whether to comply with legal requirements or choose not to separate the pool from the residential buildings. Conversely, local council recommends all pools should be updated in order to comply with latest safety regulation.

Access to the pool from the residential buildings must be restricted at all times. Both existing pools and those properties with pools should have a pool certificate of complaince upon selling.

5. Does a pool certificate have to be done when selling a property with pool or in every 3 years?

Starting from 29 April 2016, if you are planning to sell your properties with swimming pool, you must obtain at least one of these certificates: a certificate of compliance, certificate of non-compliance or a relevant occupation certificate issued from NSW Swimming pool register.

This also means that from 29 April 2016:

  • Property sellers can transfer the obligation of attaining a certificate of compliance to the purchaser. A certificate of non-compliance can also be attached to the contract of sale if the pool is non-compliant.
  • The property buyer of a non-compliant swimming pool is given 90 days from the date of settlement to comply with legal requirements of safety barrier. The buyer should also obtain a certificate of compliance before the 90-day period ends.
  • Properties with more than two houses are exempted to provide a compliant safety fence on sale or lease. These properties are regulated through mandatory three-yearly council inspections.

Property owner with two or fewer houses and a pool must obtain a certificate of compliance before agreeing to a lease.

Conclusion                          

All pool owners are required to follow pool complaince regulation in order to minimise potential risks in the pool area. Safety fence can help limit your kid’s access to swimming pools. You can also prevent paying costly if the pool fence is complying with the law. So take action to contact a council or a private pool compliance inspector for help now!