When it comes to pool fencing
, there is no such thing as too safe. In spite of regulations, too many children continue to drown in outdoor pools. Federal and state governments have tightened and expanded pool fencing regulations in an effort to reduce the number of these tragic accidents. To ensure compliance, pools must be registered with state authorities before they can be used.
©First Class Glass
Strict regulations were introduced in 1991 and have been continually updated over the years. The latest update (AS 1926.1-2012) was introduced in 2012. While older versions remain relevant, the latest update clarifies and expands upon earlier versions.
AS 1926 defines a swimming pool as any structure that is capable of containing water to a depth of 300mm or more. It does not make a distinction between portable plastic swimming pools for children, above ground pools or in ground pools.
Fencing Requirements and Regulations
Section Two of AS 1926.1-2012 goes into the details of pool fencing requirements and regulations. It begins by stating that a barrier "shall be designed and constructed so that it will restrict access by young children" and goes on to say that the barrier "shall be a permanent structure." It goes on to gives details about how the barrier must be designed. Some of the important points include:
- The height of the barrier must be at least 1.2 metres above the outside ground level ("outside" being outside of the swimming pool enclosure).
- The horizontal distance between vertical members must not be greater than 100mm.
- The barrier must have a non-climbable zone (NCZ) of no less than 900mm in height and radius. This is to prevent children from being able to use a foothold to climb the fence.
Section 2.3.2 goes into details about "perforated" and mesh fencing materials:
- Barriers with apertures (openings) not greater than 13mm shall be no less than 1.2 metres in height.
- Barriers with openings between 13mm and 100mm shall be no less than 1.8 metres in height.
- Openings greater than 100mm are not allowed regardless of the height of the fence.
Section 2.3.7 states that the opening between the bottom of the barrier and the finished ground level shall be no greater than 100mm.
Section 2.3 goes into details about glass barriers as well. In all cases, the specifications are there to ensure children cannot gain entry to a pool enclosure from the outside without supervision.
Section 2.4 gives details about gates and latches on swimming pool enclosures:
- Gates must open outwards only.
- Gates must close and latch automatically.
- Gate latches must not be located on the outside of the gate.
- Gate latches must be positioned so that it is necessary to reach over or through the gate at a height of 1.2 metres above finished ground level outside the gate or 1.0 metre above the highest lower horizontal member of the gate.
There are other specifications for gates and latches as well. All of them are designed to prevent children from gaining access to the pool enclosure without adult supervision.
AS 1926.1-2012 goes into the technical details about all barriers to swimming pool areas, including retaining walls, walls, windows and other barriers. The most important thing to remember is that all the specifications must be adhered to in order for your pool to be child-safe. Choosing a licensed pool fencing professional and having the pool inspected and registered as required by law is your best assurance that your pool will not pose a danger to children.