How to avoid heavy penalties from swimming pool non-compliance?

Private pool or spa owners have many responsibilities enforced by the local councils. As swimming pool owners, you are required to provide a safe, clean environment for family and friends. You have the duty to protect pool users compliant and safe especially for children.

Installing safety fence is an effective way of reducing risk of drowning incidents. However, there are a large number of drowning incidents that resulted from faulty barriers and being non-compliant with Australian standards. When that happens, heavy fine can apply to you.

To avoid heavy legal penalties, you should firstly take the steps below:

1.  Make sure your pool fence complies with the law

Pool fence should be properly constructed and must follow the swimming pool regulation in NSW below.

❖ Pool fences

● The height the pool fence must be at least 1200mm                                                                             
● The gap between the bottom of the fence and the ground is not more than 100mm                
● Horizontal rails no closer than 900mm apart                                                  
● Vertical rails no greater than 100mm apart                                                     
● No climbable objects within 900mm from the outside and 300mm from the inside  

❖  Signage

● There should be CPR sign that is visible to anyone near the pool
❖ Doors and windows

● No doors provide direct access from the house to the pool area              
● Windows which open onto the pool area are fixed so that they do not open more than 100mm or they have a security screen fitted          

❖ Gates

● The pool gate opens away from the pool                                                                  
● The gate self-closes and self-latches from all open positions                                                 
● The gate latch is at least 1500mm off the ground and 1400mm above the top part of the lower horizontal railings.   

2. Register your pool

You should register your pool in the local council as stated by the law. If you are not registered yet, you can record your details online or search the pool safety register. You can check or list your property on the NSW pool safety register.

 3. Get a pool safety certificate

You will need to meet local government’s requirements regarding pool fence safety. This means coordinating with an Accredited Certifier to conduct a Pool barrier inspection which will allow you to apply for a certificate of compliance.

If you are not able to comply with swimming pool regulation (eg. can’t ensure your pool is compliant with the law eventually or have NO compliance certificate or Non-Compliance Certificate ready to show during council’s investigation), You may receive heavy penalties – See below.

Penalties for non-compliance

Local governments can investigate your pool to check whether it complies with pool safety standards or not. If your pool does not comply with pool safety regulation, local council can issue an on-the-spot fines for individuals and companies.

The owner of the pool and/or spa can have a penalty of up to $5,500 for non-compliance with the pool safety requirements. On-the-spot fines of $550 can also be applied.

How to make your pool compliant and avoid a fine?

You can:
■  ask advice from a pool safety inspector about what to do to make your pool compliant.
■  get a pool compliance inspector to do a formal inspection with a view to getting a certificate.

If paying $5500 fine is not a deterrent for pool owners, surely the risk to life is. There are many cases of drowning in New South Wales.

Therefore, authorities are now appealing to pool owners to ensure properties are compliant before the swimming season begins. Local council has an intention to carry out random property checks.


Every pool owners in NSW must follow the regulation on pool fences. Keeping your family and friends safe is top priority! Non-compliance, for any reason, can increase the risk of drowning and lead to prosecution.

A local council which provide poor report (hard to read, understand and take action after - very little value) and no pool barrier repair service may not be what you prefer for the swimming pool compliance inspection, then a certified pool compliance inspector may be the one to look into.

Here is a valuable article that explains what a private certifier is about and how to choose a good one.