Last Updated Nov 9, 2018 · Written by Rob Schneider
Swimming pool regulations are in place to ensure young children do not drown in swimming pools. Fencing regulations are in place to prevent young children from gaining unsupervised access to a pool.
Swimming pool regulations vary from state to state and even council to council. This is what you need to know about state regulations. To find out about further regulations in your council, contact your local council and find out what they are.
The primary goal in any state or territory is to prevent children from having unsupervised access to a swimming pool. Each state has its own rules, but in general:
A swimming pool fence must be at least 1.2 metres in height
Boundary fences must be at least 1.8 metres in height
No means of climbing into the pool area
Gaps between the ground and gaps between fence posts must be 100mm or less
Gates must be self closing
Latches must be out of the reach of children
In some states, a spa can have a lid, but the lid must have a lock on it to prevent children from gaining access to the spa.
The reason for the swimming pool barrier regulation is because many children under the age of five have drowned in residential swimming pools. The barrier must be completely childproof and most states will inspect the barrier to make sure it is childproof.
In all states and territories, the childproof barrier is the key to swimming pool safety. Pools can be above ground, inground or spas, but if the water level is more than 300mm deep a barrier must be around the pool.
Swimming pool regulations in all states and territories begin with the safety barrier. A swimming pool can be any length or shape, but it must have a barrier around all four sides. If it is near a boundary, the boundary fence should be 1.8 metres in height and not have a tree or other structure that allows children to gain unsupervised access to the pool.
Home owners must comply with swimming pool regulations. If you are renting a home and the pool does not have a barrier around it, it is the owner's responsibility to provide a barrier around the pool.
In New South Wales, swimming pool regulations begin with the erection of a childproof barrier around the pool. The barrier must be completely childproof so that children cannot get into the pool area without supervision. If the pool is indoors, locks must be provided on windows and doors. The rules also apply to spas and other pools.
The pool must be inspected to comply with all regulations. A compliance certificate will be issued after the pool is inspected. The barrier around the pool is the most important part of the regulations. As in other states, the pool must not be accessible by children. Children must be supervised in pools.
As in NSW, swimming pool regulations begin with the erection of a childproof barrier around a swimming pool. A gate must be self closing and the latch must be out of reach of small children. The pool fence must be at least 1.2 metres in height and have no spaces where small children can get through. If the fence is within 1.5 metres of a boundary, the fence must be 2.0 metres above ground level. If it is built on a retaining wall, it should also be 2.0 metres high. All pools are inspected by a compliance inspector and if anything is missing, work must be done to rectify the problem or a compliance certificate will not be issued.
If a swimming pool has a damaged part or is missing a part, the owner is obliged to repair the damage immediately.
As in NSW and Queensland, Victoria's swimming pool regulations begin with the erection of a childproof fence:
The gate must be self latching
The fence must surround the pool to make sure small children cannot access the pool without supervision
There must be a clear space around the pool to prevent children from getting unsupervised access to the pool
Inflatable pools and above ground pools of over 300mm depth must also have a fence around them
The fence must be at least 1.2 metres in height and not have a foothold for children to access the pool unsupervised
A pool cover does not comply with regulations. A pool must have a fence around it
In Victoria, it is the new owner's responsibility to provide a pool barrier. If a person is renting a home, it is the owner's responsibility to provide a fence or barrier around the pool.
Inflatable pools greater than 300mm in depth must also have a barrier around them. The barrier must be compliant with regulations and will be inspected. If the inflatable pool is less than 300mm in depth, it does not require fencing.
Fencing regulations are in place in South Australia. The fence must be permanent and must be:
A permanent barrier to children
Children cannot find a way to access the pool with footholds, handholds or by crawling under the fence
The fence must be at least 1.2 metres in height
Boundary fences must be at least 1.8 metres in height
Gates must be self closing and fitted with latches that are not accessible to children
In South Australia, the penalty for not erecting a safety barrier around the pool can be a maximum of $15,000. Council must be notified before building a swimming pool and fencing is required around any pool.
In Western Australia, any pool that is deeper than 300mm must have a safety barrier around it. This includes swimming pools, spas and other swimming pools, including above ground pools. The rules regarding barriers around pools are similar to those in other states. The pool must be completely childproof, with self closing doors, latches that cannot be accessed by children and fences that cannot be climbed by children.
As in other states, the pool barrier is the most important part of swimming pool regulations. In Tasmania:
The fence should be a minimum of 1.2 metres in height
The gap between the ground and the fence must be no higher than 100mm
Vertical bars should have spaces of 100mm or less between them
The gate must be self closing and latches out of reach of children
In the ACT, barrier erection is mandatory and require building approval in accordance with the Building Code of Australia. A swimming pool must not be accessible through a door and gates must be self closing. Latches must be at least 1.5 metres from the ground. If it is lower, it must be childproof. Pools with depths under 300mm are exempt from building approval
The same rules apply in the ACT as in other states. Gaps must be 100mm or less and there must not be a way for children to climb a nearby structure to gain access to the pool. As in other states, children must not have unsupervised access to a swimming pool.
Swimming pool barrier regulations are in place in the Northern Territory. As in other states, the barrier must surround the pool and not be accessible to children under the age of five.
Spas must have lids that can be locked. Property dividing walls must be made so that children can't climb a tree or fence to gain access to the pool. Many NT homes are on properties of 1.8 hectares or more. Swimming pool regulations apply to those properties, too.
In the Northern Territory, a compliance certificate must be produced for a swimming pool barrier. As in other states and territories, the barrier must be childproof.
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