Summary of Pool Safety Booklet NSW to Avoid Penalty

Having a compliant swimming pool barrier in NSW is necessary to avoid penalty. This is also vital to keep your kids safe in the pool area.

In order to have enough knowledge on how to have a compliant pool, a “Pool Safety Information Booklet” was developed. The information booklet serves as a guide for the general public about pool safety requirements and other pool-related matters. The booklet also gives information for new pool installation, pool safety issues to avoid penalties. Here is a quick summary of the Pool Safety Booklet NSW.

1. Pools safety requirements

  • Swimming Pool Act and Regulations

Pool owners must register their pools in NSW Pool Register. They can do it online by themselves or they can ask for assistance from their local council. For existing swimming pools, they are required to be listed at the Pool Register by 29 October 2013. For new pools, they are obliged to be registered before an occupation certificate is issued.

There are some amendments that were made to effectively protect young children.

A safety pool fence is required to keep young children safe. Moreover, the barrier should also separate the pool from any residential building, movable residence, motel or hotel.

Pool barrier location

There is a typical pool barrier location that should be followed. In reference to the Swimming Pool Act, the pool fence should be located directly around the swimming pool. Furthermore, there should be no structure within the pool area except for those that are exclusively supplementary to the pool such as diving boards and pool filters. 


The Swimming Pool Act 1992 has introduced exemptions to the general requirements for pool barriers under section 8, 9 and 10. These apply to:

  • pools constructed prior to 1 August 1990

  • waterfront properties with pools that are constructed before 1 July 2010

  • properties with pools having an area less than 230 m2 which are constructed before 1 July 2010

  • properties with pools having an area of 2 hectares or more which are constructed before 1 July 2010.

The benefits of the exemptions will be lost and void if the pool fails to follow the terms of the exemptions.

Barrier upgrade and Pool maintenance

Here are some conditions where the pool fence is required to be upgraded to the current pool safety standards.

1.  If a part of the barrier or means of access is non-compliant with the law.

2. If the barrier is found to have non-compliant doors and windows as required in Swimming Pools Act 1992.

3. If the restricted pool barrier is not maintained or does not follow the exemption terms.

4. When relocating the pool barrier.

5. If the access to a pool or pool barrier is changed or rebuilt, the entire barrier must be upgraded to comply with the standards.

6. If the pool is fenced voluntarily.

7.  If new structures that include carport, shed, garage, pergola, etc. are required to be built outside the enclosed area of the pool.

There are also some recommendations for maintaining the existing pool barrier. Here are some items you have to check and maintain in good condition:

  • fence palings

  • locking mechanism

  • springs

  • objects that encroaching within NCZ

  • check materials that reinstate barrier height

  • What is Building Code of Australia (BCA)?

The goal of BCA is to set minimum requirements for structures in relation to its fire safety, health and amenity, access, energy efficiency, etc. It also provides objectives, functional statement and performance requirements for swimming pools.

Health and safety issues under BCA

  • Natural ventilation – The doors and window should be opened to a height of not less than 5% of the room floor area to provide natural ventilation.

  • Stair landings – There should be a 750mm level landing for stairs that is leading to a pool gate outside of the pool and for 3 stairs of more than 570mm. This is to allow the gate to open safely.

  • General requirements for pool barriers

A child-resistant pool barrier is required to separate the pool structure from any residential building. Below are the general rules for pool fence in NSW:

  • It should have a minimum height of 1200mm which is measured outside the pool area.

  • NCZ (Non-Climbable Zone) should maintain a minimum of 900mm clearance between the upper and lower components.

  • There should be a maximum gap of 100mm under the fence.

  • The NCZ should extend from the barrier into the pool for up to 300mm and 900mm outside the pool vicinity.

  • Retaining wall, steps or level changes should be 500mm from the barrier.

  • There should be no structures, landscaping or other fixtures within the NCZ.

  • The boundary fence should have a height of 1800mm.

Additional guidelines:

  • Internal pool fence should have a minimum height of 1200mm.

  • Boundary fence should be at least 1800mm.

  • Landscaping adjacent to the fence should not intrude into the NCZ.

  • Barrier height for stairs should be 1200mm perpendicular to the top of the barrier.

  • Barrier gates should open outwards and away from the pool. It should also have no obstruction that could hold the gate open.

  • Warning sign and resuscitation sign

It is required to display a clear Warning/Resuscitation Sign at least 3 metres within the pool area. It should be located at the shallow portion (near an open area) of the pool. According to the Swimming Pools Regulations, the warning/resuscitation sign should include the following requirements:




  • Spa pools

Like any other pools, spa pools are also required to have a child-resistant barrier. Conversely, owners can choose to use a child-resistant lid as an alternative barrier. This is to restrict the child’s access to the spa pool when not in use.

  • Indoor pools

For indoor pools, they must comply the following guidelines:

  • Pools that are not in use must be closed at all times. Moreover, door must be self-closing and self-latching.

  • There should be a minimum of 1.5 metres above the ground for the door latch. It should also be located outside the face of the door.

  • There should be a 900-mm NCZ on the outside face of the door. The NCZ should be situated a maximum of 1200mm above the ground.

  • The pool door should open outwards (away from the pool).

  • There should be no pet door openings.

  • Make sure that the door width is no more than 1 metre in order to lessen the failure of self-closing.

  • There should be a glass viewing insert in the pool door to have a clear view of the pool area.

2. Temporary fencing

It is required to build a temporary fencing if there are any pool construction or renovation works. This is to reduce the risks of falling into the excavation and to restrict children from accessing the pool.

3. Pool certificates under Swimming Pools Act 1992

For owners who are selling, purchasing or renting a property with a pool, a pool certificate is required. Apart from this, the pool should also be inspected and recorded in the Pool Register.

Pool owners should approach their local council or a private certifier to have their pool barriers inspected. When the council or certifier completes the inspection and find out that the pool complies with the regulations, a certificate of compliance will be issued.

            Exemption for pool certification

There are certain circumstances wherein the issuance of pool certificate is exempted. The exemption is granted in the case that is impracticable for the pool to comply:

  • because of a physical nature of the premises

  • because of the design or swimming pool construction

  • because of special conditions that are recognised by the Swimming Pool Regulation

Exemptions are also granted if an alternative provision exists for restricting access to the pool.

4. Local council requirements (site-specific)

During the construction of pool barriers, there may be some restrictions that can limit the location, design, height, material and style of the barrier to be used:

  • forest fire prone land

  • front building zone

  • foreshore building zone

  • heritage sites, building or structures

  • land that is prone to flooding

  • land subject to sea level change

  • land that is more likely to have drainage easements with overland flow paths

  • rights of carriageway or walkway.

It is advised to consult and check your local council for any site-specific requirements that are applicable to your pool.

5. Environmental noise

There are specific hours wherein the use of pumps may be restricted according to the Protection of the Environment Operations Regulation 2008 (Noise Control).

The restrictions are:

-  between 8 am and 8 pm during Sunday or any public holiday

-  between 7 am and 8 pm on any other day

6. Pool removal

Removal of the pool may need additional requirements or works which requires you to comply with the developmental approval. Moreover, pool removal does not apply to pools that have heritage significance. It is better to ask your local council for more information.

It is important to have a better understanding of the Swimming Pool Act and Regulations to avoid costly penalties. This quick summary of the Pool Safety Booklet can also give you an idea on how to keep your family and loved ones safe at all times.

If you want to know more about NSW Swimming Pool Act and Regulations and pool fence inspection, contact a reliable pool compliance certifier in Sydney now.