Last Updated Sep 14, 2018 · Written by Rob Schneider
In the 2014-2015 financial year, there were 271 deaths by drowning in Australia. 26 of those deaths were children under the age of five. Pool fencing regulations were partly responsible for fewer deaths, but the 2014-2015 financial year saw an increase from 20 the previous year. According to the Royal Life Saving Society's manager of research and policy, Amy Peden, "children under five" are most at risk and most of the drownings occur "in home swimming pools."
Pool fencing regulations are constantly being revised to decrease the risk to children. Even if regulations didn't exist, you would want to have a fence around your pool to help prevent young children from entering your pool area unsupervised. No one wants to feel responsible for a pool drowning. Pool fencing doesn't have to be expensive or unsightly. In fact, a pool fence can make a highlight of your pool area.
If you are thinking of installing a pool or want new fencing for your pool, our complete guide to pool fencing options and safety requirements will tell you what you need to know.
Regulations may vary slightly in different states, but all pool fencing regulations are designed to keep small children away from swimming pools without adult supervision. The basic rules for pool fencing include:
In short, a pool fence must be built to ensure small children cannot find a way inside the pool enclosure. Your local pool fencing installer can tell you more about the regulations in your area. In some cases, rules may be different even within the same state.
Before you choose pool fencing, it's a good idea to review the regulations in your state. In some instances, extra fees will apply and your state may have slightly different regulations.
Fair Trading covers the pool regulations in New South Wales. The regulations cover everything you need to know, from in ground pools to inflatable pools. It's important to note that even inflatable pools must have fencing. Click this link to Fair Trading: Pool Fencing to learn everything about regulations in NSW.
KidSafe Victoria has a page devoted to pool fencing regulations in Victoria. In Victoria, any pool over 300mm (30cm) deep must have pool fencing. This includes pools under construction. If a pool under construction has water deeper than 300mm in it, it must be surrounded by a temporary fence. As in NSW, different regulations apply to pools constructed after different dates.
In Queensland, pool building and fencing regulations are quite strict. All pools must be inspected before you can use them and a safety certificate must be issued to the pool owner. The certificates must be renewed annually or when a property is sold, rented or leased. Some exemptions are allowed for disabled access, but the need to protect children can override a request for exemption. Brisbane City Council publishes an easy to understand Swimming Pool Fencing and Safety Regulations website or you can download a more extensive PDF published by the Queensland government.
For information about pool fencing regulations in other states, click these links:
It's a good idea to get quotes from several pool fencing supplier/installers. Each supplier may have different styles of pool fencing or use different materials. You can compare their prices and also the styles of fences they can provide you with.
Any pool fencing must be sturdy and comply with Australian standards. Some of the more popular materials include:
PVC is the least expensive material and glass is the most expensive. If you have your heart set on glass pool fencing, read How Much Does Glass Pool Fencing Cost? for some tips on choosing glass fencing. If you're undecided, have a look at a variety of fencing options first. You may be surprised by how stylish even inexpensive pool fencing can be.
You can save money by combining different materials. For example, you can have glass fencing where your pool is visible from your patio and a less expensive material in a less visible area. The two materials won't clash and you can save hundreds of dollars.
While DIY installation is possible, remember that your pool fencing must comply with regulations. One of those regulations is that your pool fencing must be sturdy. Installers charge around $50 per metre for a simple installation. The cost can go up to $80 per metre for a more difficult installation, but no matter what the cost, you will know your pool fencing has been installed by professionals. A reputable pool fencing installer will always guarantee their work and they know all the safety regulations surrounding pool fencing in your area.
Professionally installed pool fencing will always be plumb and square. You will notice the difference and soon forget the installation cost. For some approximate pool fencing costs, read How Much Does Pool Fencing Cost? The article covers supply-only costs for popular fencing materials, including posts, gates and latches. Your costs may be different, but the article will give you a general idea before you start getting quotes from local pool fencing suppliers.