Pool Fence Laws

Pool Fencing Laws & Regulations in Australia

Safety always comes first. And even more so, when lives literally depend on it! Australian authorities are doing their utmost to ensure our well-being, and that of our friends, family and loved ones. Also in the spaces where we relax, have fun and enjoy the beautiful country that we call home. And, even while swimming pool owners would naturally cherish their own, maximum peace of mind, there still has to be set pool fencing rules, laws and regulations to lock in pool safety compliance and due care all round. In Australia, pool safety barrier regulations are largely governed by Standards. Currently, Australian Standard AS 1926.1-2012 – Safety Barriers for Swimming Pools, is the default reference benchmark for pool fence regulations. But, exceptions and variations may apply from state to state as far as pool barrier laws, licensing, compliance and registration requirements go.

On this page you will find information on:

Australian Standard AS 1926.1-2012 - Safety Barriers for Swimming Pools

Before we drill down to the letter of the law, please enjoy our introductory video below.

Pool Laws
Pool Fence Laws
An overview of Australian pool fencing laws

Key points of Australian Standard AS 1926.1-2012 - Safety Barriers for Swimming Pools

Definition: a pool is any body of water that has a depth of 300mm (30cm) or more. Whether it is in-ground, above ground or just a wading pool it requires a pool fence by law. For the purpose of our summary, the words pool fence and barrier have the same meaning.

The pool safety fence/barrier

  • Must be a minimum height of 1200mm (1.2m). Measured from finished ground level, i.e. a stable surface such as settled/compacted ground, settled grass or lawn, fixed paving and/or solid floors.
  • No gaps larger than 100mm (10cm) are allowed under the pool fence, i.e. between the fence and settled ground.
  • Vertical gaps in the pool fence itself are only allowed if they are not wider (horizontal) than 100mm (10cm). For instance, where steel and aluminium fencing is installed, this relates to the vertical bars on the fence. And for glass fencing, it applies to the gaps between panels.
  • The safety barrier must incorporate a non-climbable zone -outside the pool area and directly next to the fence- of 900mm in an arc measured from the top of the fence.
  • There must not be any climbable objects directly next to the fence which any young child can use or move to gain access to the gate latch and/or access the pool. Examples are planter boxes, BBQ’s, potted plants, lightweight seating, ladders and so forth.

Pool gates and latches

  • Pool gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • Must open/swing away from the pool and into the safe zone.
  • Must not be propped open under any circumstances and remain closed at all times.
  • For glass pool fencing, the latch must be located on the inside of the pool gate and down 285mm (28.5cm) from the top of the gate.
  • For non-glass fencing, the latch may be on either side -inside or outside- of the gate. If outside the gate, then the latch must be a minimum of 1500mm (1.5m) above the ground. If the latch is on the inside of the gate, then reach over to the inside of the gate and down to achieve the effective 1500mm (1.5m).
  • Pool gate latches must be a minimum of 1500mm (1.5m) above the ground.

Boundary fences that form part of the pool area

  • Boundary fences are the ones between your own property and the neighbour/property next door.
  • Must have a minimum height of 1800mm (1.8m).
  • Must have a no climb zone on the pool side of the fence, so that a child on the adjoining property could not climb down from the top of the fence and onto the pool area.
  • Horizontal fence rails are not permitted inside the pool area. For instance, common paling fences with horizontal rails, must not have horizontal rails fitted inside the pool area. Also, horizontal fence rails must be away from the pool area at least 1200mm (1.2m), measured from where the pool fence meets the boundary fence.

When in doubt, do not hesitate to ask!

Pool fencing laws, rules, regulations and pool safety requirements may be daunting -or even confusing- when you don’t deal with it often. And, especially when special pool safety considerations need attention, such as retaining walls, house windows, boundary fences, trees and shrubs. Always ask your swimming pool safety professional. The only way to ensure your swimming pool safety compliance is through sign-off by a registered building survey or pool safety professional.

References
Standards Australia – AS 1926.1-2012
Swimming Pool & Spa Association Australia (SPASA) – Australian Pool Fencing Rules – An Overview

Pool Fence Laws & Regulations in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

To protect especially young children (up to age 5) from the hazards of serious injury and drowning, strict pool fence safety compliance requirements in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) are regulated and enforced by the ACT Government.

All swimming pools or spas in the ACT that hold water deeper than 300mm (30cm) must have a swimming pool safety barrier.

The pool safety fence must be certified in accordance with Australian Standards by a building surveyor (aka ‘building certifier’) that is licensed in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

And a Certificate of Occupancy & Use issued under the Building Act 2004, is required. The Building Code of Australia (BCA) is used as benchmark for pool safety barrier inspections and certification in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Compliance to the Building Code of Australia (BCA) is required for all pool safety fences in the ACT

The BCA prescribes adherence to Australian Standard AS 1926.1-2012 – Safety barriers for swimming pools and AS 1926.2-2007 – Location of safety barriers for swimming pools (please see below) as its compliance requirement.

Summary of Australian Standard AS 1926.2 – 2007
Please note, for the purpose of our summary, the words fence and barrier have the same meaning.

Pool safety fence/barrier

  • The design and construction of the swimming pool safety fence must restrict access by young children.
  • The pool area must be stable and remain intact at all times. Loose sand is not acceptable.
  • The surface directly beneath the pool barrier must be stable and not able to be eroded by weather, children or animals.
    Examples of suitable materials include pavers, concrete, wood sleepers, garden rocks/stones, grass etc.
  • The pool safety barrier must be of a permanent nature.
  • The pool safety barrier shall be free of sharp edges, sharp projections, entrapping spaces and similar hazards.
  • The fence must include a continuous Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ).
  • Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) is defined as a zone consisting of a barrier as well as the associated space within 900 mm of the barrier (fence), intended to inhibit climbing of the barrier by children. This includes any point along the length of the barrier and its associated space.
  • The NCZ must be on the outside of the pool fencing.
  • In the NCZ, the distance between any hand and foot hold must be at least 900mm (90cm).
  • There must be no climbable objects, horizontal components, hand holds, footholds, indentations, projections, deeper than 10 mm within non-climbable zones (NCZs).

Where barriers may be sloping or stepped, the NCZ is to be maintained throughout. Where the gap between vertical members is 10 mm or less, climbable objects, including horizontal components, if located on the inside of the barrier, are permitted as a child would not be able to reach them.

  • In all instances, regardless of the NCZs, there must be no objects, steps, retaining walls or ground level changes within 500mm (50cm) of the barrier that would reduce the minimum height of the barrier as required on that side.
  • Perforated materials/mesh with apertures greater than 100mm (10cm) shall not be used during construction of the pool safety barrier.
  • When made of mesh, then the pool safety fencing must include a strainer wire or rail at the top and the bottom of the fencing.
  • When made of solid materials (i.e. not perforated or mesh), then the pool safety fence must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high at any given point.
  • If the apertures in the perforated materials/mesh are not greater than 13mm (1.3cm), then the fence shall be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high.
  • If the apertures in the perforated materials/mesh are greater than 13mm (1.3cm) but not greater than 100mm (i.e. not allowed – see above), then the pool safety barrier shall be at least 1800mm (1.8m) high.
  • The pool safety fence must either be vertical or leaning away from the pool, but leaning not by more than a 15 degrees angle.
  • Gaps between the bottom of the fence or gate (when closed) and finished ground level (i.e. a permanent, stable surface) may not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any given point.
  • To prevent young children from using the members on the pool safety fence as climbing steps/aids, horizontal support members on the pool fencing are not allowed in the Non-Climable Zone (NCZ).
  • Any horizontal surfaces permanently located near the inside of the pool safety fencing, and which can be used by young children for climbing, must be separated from the fencing by a distance of at least 300mm (30cm).
  • The spacing between adjacent vertical members –e.g. palings, rods or wires- must not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any point.

Boundary fences that form part of the pool area

Boundary fences are the ones between your own property and the neighbour/property next door.

  • Boundary fences that form part of the pool area must have a minimum height of 1800mm (1.8m).
  • Only with boundary fences, is the Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) actually allowed to be on the inside of the fence, i.e. in the pool area.

BUT, the NCZ must be located at the top on the inside of the fencing to discourage a young child from easily accessing the pool area from the adjoining property by climbing down the boundary fence and onto the pool area.

Gates and latches

  • Pool gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • Pool gates must open/swing away from the pool and into the safe zone.
  • When latches are on the outside of the gate, then they must be at least 1500mm (1.5m) above finished ground level. Also, at least 1400mm (1.4m) above the nearest horizontal member.
  • If the latch is on the inside of the gate, then the latch must be in such a position that to release the latching device from the outside it will be necessary to reach over or through the fencing at a height of not less than 1200mm (1.2m) above the finished ground level or not less than 1000mm (1m) above the highest horizontal member.

Also, the latching device must be at least 150mm (15cm) below the top of the gate if a hand-hole is not provided, or at least 150mm (15cm) below the edge of any hand-hole opening if a hand-hole is provided.

Unique situations

  • Often, unique or out-of-the-ordinary situations represent themselves, which complicate the interpretation and application of the regulations.

This Standard (AS 1926.2 – 2007) refers to many such cases in detail.

There may even be such cases in your own pool safety area or its immediate surrounds!

Examples are, sloping ground, stepped ground, ornamental brickwork, ornamental stonework, other projections/indentations, retaining walls, existing barriers, lakes/canals/rivers, openable windows onto the pool area, openable doors on the pool area, balconies over the pool area and above-ground pools.

To ensure full pool safety fence compliance in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) –particularly in the ‘more complicated situations’ – it is recommended that you always reach out to a registered pool safety professional.

Place CPR Signage on your pool safety fencing

Check with your local pool supplier or safety professional, as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) signage may already be a requirement in your region.

Nevertheless, CPR can save lives when pool accidents and/or injuries occur.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that you place CPR signage on your pool safety barrier, even if not required by law.

The sign must be readable from 3 metres and always be kept in good condition.

CPR signs may be purchased from your local pool shop or council, and community organisations such as St John Ambulance, the Australian Red Cross or Royal Life Saving.

References

Swimming Pool & Spa Association Australia (SPASA) – Australian Pool Fencing Rules – An Overview
ACT Government – Swimming pool and spa construction
ACT Government – Swimming pool and spa construction – Fences and barriers
The BCA adopts Australian Standard AS 1926.1-2012 and AS 1926.2-2007

Pool Fencing Laws & Regulations in New South Wales (NSW)

Pool safety in New South Wales (NSW) is administered, regulated and enforced by NSW Government – Fair Trading.

Due to the high amount of drownings and permanent injuries of young children in home pools, compliance to the pool safety fence regulations in New South Wales (NSW) is strictly enforced and offenders may be severely penalized.

In NSW, pool fence safety legislation, regulations, laws, compliance and registrations revolve around the construction date of your swimming pool.

If your pool in NSW was built before 30 August 2008

Then –Standard AS 1926-1986 Fences and gates for private swimming pools- is applicable.

An outline of Australian Standard AS 1926.1986

Please note, for the purposes of this summary, the words fence and barrier have the same meaning.

The key points are:

  • Swimming pool safety fences, gates and latching mechanisms must be of a permanent nature. Only suitable and durable materials are allowed, able to withstand decay, weather conditions, insects, ground water, pool chemicals, salt spray and so on.
  • Perforated materials or “mesh” -e.g. chain wire- may only be used if the mesh openings are not larger than 50mm (5cm).
  • The pool safety barrier must be vertical or leaning away from the pool.
  • When made of solid materials (i.e. non-perforated), the pool safety fence must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high at any given point.
  • When made of perforated materials (e.g. chain wire or mesh), the pool safety fence must be at least 1800mm (1.8m) high at any given point. Furthermore, the fence must also be topped with an angled section of 450mm (45cm), which inclines to the outside at an angle of 135 degrees from the vertical.
  • The top of the pool safety fence must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) away from any finished ground outside the fence. For instance, any part of a retaining wall, terrace, sloping landscape etc. must be away at least 1.2m when measured by radius in an arc from the top of the pool safety fence.
  • Gaps between the bottom of the fence and finished ground level (i.e. a permanent, stable surface) may not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any given point.
  • Any horizontal support structures (“members”), or sets of members grouped closely together, must be at least 900mm (90cm) apart.
  • The bottom member (or set of members grouped closely together) on the pool fencing is not allowed to be closer than 1100mm (1.1m) from the top of the pool fence or gate.
  • Any horizontal surfaces permanently located near the inside of the fencing must be separated from the fencing by a distance of at least 300mm (30cm).
  • The spacing between adjacent vertical members –e.g. palings, rods or wires- must not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any point.

 For NSW pools constructed in the period 1 September 2008 to 30 April 2013

Standard AS 1926.1 – 2007, swimming pool safety – Part 1 safety barriers for swimming pools, applies.

Australian Standard AS 1926.1 – 2007

Please note, for the purposes of this summary, the words fence and barrier have the same meaning.

Pool safety fence/barrier

  • The design and construction of the swimming pool safety barrier must restrict access by young children to the pool area.
  • The surrounding area of the pool must be stable and remain intact at all times. Loose sand is not acceptable.
  • The pool safety barrier must be of a permanent nature.
  • The pool safety barrier shall be free of sharp edges, sharp projections, entrapping spaces and similar hazards.
  • The pool safety barrier must include a continuous Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ).
  • The Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) is defined as: “A zone consisting of a barrier as well as the associated space within 900 mm of the barrier, intended to inhibit climbing of the barrier by children. This includes any point along the length of the barrier and its associated space.”
  • The NCZ must be on the outside of the pool safety fencing.
  • In the NCZ, the distance between any hand and foot hold must be at least 900mm (90cm).
  • Perforated materials/mesh with apertures greater than 100mm (10cm) shall not be used for construction of the pool safety fence.
  • When made of mesh, then the fencing must include a strainer wire or rail at the top and the bottom of the fencing.
  • When made of solid materials (i.e. non-perforated/non-mesh), then the pool safety fence must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high at any given point.
  • When made of perforated materials or mesh: if the apertures in the perforated materials/mesh are not greater than 13mm (1.3cm), then the fence shall be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high.

If the apertures in the perforated materials/mesh are greater than 13mm (1.3cm) but not greater than 100mm (i.e. it is not allowed – see further above), then the fence shall be at least 1800mm (1.8m) high.

  • The pool safety fence must be vertical or leaning away from the pool, but not by more than a 15 degrees angle.
  • Gaps between the bottom of the fence/closed gate and finished ground level (i.e. a permanent, stable surface) may not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any given point.
  • Horizontal support structures (“members”) on the fence to prevent young children from using the members on the pool safety fence as climbing steps/aids, horizontal support members on the pool fencing are not allowed in the Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) .
  • Any horizontal surfaces permanently located near the inside of the fencing, and which can be used by young children for climbing, must be separated from the fencing by a distance of at least 300mm (30cm).
  • The spacing between adjacent vertical members –e.g. palings, rods or wires- must not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any point.

Boundary fences that form part of the pool area

Boundary fences are the ones between your own property and the neighbour/property next door.

  • Boundary fences that form part of the pool area must have a minimum height of 1800mm (1.8m).
  • Only with boundary fences, is the Non-Climbable Zone (NZC) actually allowed to be on the inside of the fence, i.e. in the pool area. BUT, then the NCZ must be located at the top on the inside (pool area) of the fencing to inhibit a young child from easily accessing the pool area from the adjoining property/neighbour’s side.

Gates and latches

  • Pool gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • Pool gates must open/swing away from the pool and into the safe zone.
  • Latches on the outside of the pool gate must be at least 1500mm (1.5m) above finished ground level. Also, at least 1400mm (1.4m) above the nearest horizontal member.
  • Latches on the inside of gate – if the latch is on the inside of the pool gate, then the latch must be in such a position that to release the latching device from the outside it will be necessary to reach over or through the fencing at a height of not less than 1200mm (1.2m) above the finished ground level or not less than 1000mm (1m) above the highest horizontal member. Also, the latching device must be at least 150mm (15cm) below the top of the gate if a hand-hole is not provided, or at least 150mm (15cm) below the edge of any hand-hole opening if a hand-hole is provided.

Unique situations

  • Often out-of-the-ordinary situations represent themselves, which complicate the interpretation and application of the pool fencing regulations in New South Wales (NSW).

Such cases may be present in your own pool area or its immediate surrounds.

Examples are, sloping ground, stepped ground, ornamental brickwork, ornamental stonework, other projections/indentations, retaining walls, existing barriers, lakes/canals/rivers, openable windows onto the pool area, openable doors on the pool area, balconies over the pool area and above-ground pools.

To ensure full compliance –even in the “more complicated situations” – it is recommended that you always reach out to a registered pool safety professional.

If your pool in NSW was constructed any time from 1 May 2013 until now

Then, the national regulation i.e. Australian Standard AS 1926.1-2012 – Safety Barriers for Swimming Pools applies to your pool.

Additional Requirements in NSW

In addition to the three Standards outlined earlier on this page, for pool safety fences in New South Wales (NSW), there are also additional regulations.

The NSW Government – Fair Trading website page titled Pool Fencing Requirements describes the additional requirements as follows:

  • Pools built before 1 August 1990: access to the pool from the house must be restricted at all times. Windows and doors may form part of the barrier, but they must be compliant.
  • Pools built after 1 August 1990 but before 1 July 2010: the pool must be surrounded by a fence that separates the pool from the house. Some exemptions apply.
  • Pools built from 1 July 2010: All new pools must be surrounded by a fence that separates the pool from the house.
  • Refer to Pool Fencing Requirements for regulations on: inflatable pools, spa pools, pools under construction, doors and windows as part of pool barrier, also pool fence and gate maintenance requirements.

CPR signage is required in New South Wales (NSW)

CPR is an acronym for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, a vital first-responder activity in the case of an accident or medical emergency.

In NSW the law requires that you have a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign displayed near your pool, i.e. on the pool fencing and gate.

The sign must be in good condition and able to be read easily from 3 metres.

You can buy a CPR sign from your local pool shop, council or community organisations such as St John Ambulance, the Australian Red Cross or Royal Life Saving.

Compliance with the Building Code of Australia – New South Wales (NSW) pool safety fences 

NSW pool owners have a duty and responsibility to comply with the stipulations of the Building Code of Australia.

From From 1 September 2018 these requirements can be met using either a performance solution or a deemed-to-satisfy (DTS) solution.

The NSW Government – Fair Trading explains the duty of home owners comprehensively on its web page titled Clarifying compliance with the Building Code of Australia.

When in doubt, do not hesitate to ask!

Always ask your safety professional. The only way to ensure that your pool complies with local standards in your region is through sign-off by a registered pool safety professional.

References

Swimming Pool & Spa Association Australia (SPASA) – Australian Pool Fencing Rules – An Overview
NSW Government – Fair Trading – Pool fencing requirements
Housing Industry Association (HIA) – Standard AS 1926-1986 Fences and gates for private swimming pools
NSW Government – Fair Trading – Clarifying compliance with the Building Code of Australia

Pool Fencing Laws & Regulations in the Northern Territory (NT)

The pool safety compliance laws, rules and regulations in the Northern Territory (NT) are intended to protect the well-being of young children by restricting their access to the area containing the swimming or spa pool.

If you own a residential property in the Northern Territory (NT) that is less than 1.8 hectares and has a pool or spa, you may need a pool fence or a pool safety barrier that meets certain safety standards.

The NT describes a swimming pool as an excavation, structure or vessel, including an outside spa bath or spa pool that can be filled with water to a depth of 30cm or more at the deepest point.

And, which and is used or is designed, manufactured or adapted to be used for swimming, wading, paddling or other human water activities. This includes in ground, above ground, inflatable and portable pools and spas.

While, a pool safety barrier is defined as a fence, wall or similar structure that is intended to form a barrier around a pool or spa to restrict a child under five years of age getting into the pool area.

The barrier can include a gate or door set into the fence, wall or structure. It can also be a wall of a building that has a window, door or gate set into it or the lid of a spa pool. But, a pool safety barrier can’t include a hedge or vegetation.

Owners and occupiers in the Northern Territory (NT) also have ongoing legal compliance obligations to maintain their pool safety barriers at all times.

Pool safety compliance in the region is administered, regulated and enforced by the Northern Territory Government by means of standards, and depends on the installation date of your pool.

There are two pool safety barrier standards in the Northern Territory (NT):

The Modified Australian Standard is the higher standard.

If your pool in the NT was installed before 1 January 2003

Then you may comply with either the Modified Australian Standard or the Community Safety Standard. Conditions apply.

Please refer to the Northern Territory Government’s website page titled Pool Fencing and Barrier Safety Standards for important information on which Standard applies to you.

If your pool in the NT was installed anytime from 1 January 2003 until now

Then -if you own a residential property less than 1.8 hectares with a pool or spa installed- you must:

  • Have a pool safety barrier that meets the Modified Australian Standard.
  • Have a compliance certificate issued in your name.
  • Comply with all the conditions on the compliance certificate.

Modified Australian Standard

The NT swimming pool safety fencing laws and regulations reference the following Australian Standards:

The Modified Australian Standard is a modification of these standards.

Effectively, the Modified Australian Standard is simply the sum-total of the two Standards directly above, read together with the Modifications thereto, as published by the Northern Territory Government – Water Safety Branch, in a booklet titled Pool Fencing Notes for New Pools Built After 2003.

Summary of the key Modifications

  • General: the following notes provide information on general requirements for a swimming pool barrier to comply with the modified Australian Standards and may assist in clarifying the work required.
  • General: to provide flexibility the modified Australian Standards allow a number of different solutions to be used to achieve a compliant swimming pool barrier. As there may be other options available, pool owners are encouraged to seek advice from industry specialists such fencing manufactures, building consultants, builders or fencing contractors.
  • Balcony: reference – where a balcony projects into a pool area and the distance from the floor of the balcony to the pool surround is less than 2.4 meters, the balcony shall include a balustrade which meets with the requirements for a compliant pool fence as per AS 1926.1.
  • Balcony: where a pool fence is adjacent to or below a balcony the distance from the top of the pool fence to the balcony is required to be 1.2 metres or greater.
  • Doors: cannot be used as part of the swimming pool barrier for new pools installed or constructed after 1st January 2003.
  • Above ground pools: are required to be fenced unless the walls of the pool have an effective height of 1.2 metres. Ladders are required to be fully isolated.
  • Chainmesh fencing: the effective fencing height shall be not less than 1.7 meters (measured from the inside if it is a boundary or dividing barrier). Chainmesh fencing is to include a strainer wire or a rail at the top and the bottom of the fence. Where chainmesh is a boundary or dividing barrier, please ensure a clear span of 1.2 meters from the inside of the chainmesh fence.
  • Chainmesh bracing: reference – rods, wires or tubular bracing that could be used as holds for climbing are required to be shielded or relocated to the inside of the fence. Please note: *This requirement applies to all new chainmesh fencing.*This requirement applies to existing chainmesh fencing where the fence adjoins a public place. *This requirement is excluded where the existing chainmesh fence is a dividing barrier between adjoining premises and a dividing barrier notice (Form A1) has been provided.
  • Fencing height: The effective fencing height shall be not less than 1.2 metres. The effective height of “loop” type pool fencing is taken from ground   level to the highest compliant part of the fence where the distance between adjacent vertical members does not exceed 100mm (10cm).
  • Definition of fence: the modified Australian Standards define a fence as any component that forms part of the intended barrier and includes walls, child resistant windows and balustrades on a balcony. The requirements apply to windows, balustrades and other components that form part of the intended barrier.
  • The fencing: shall be free of sharp edges, sharp projections and similar hazards.
  • Direction of opening: gates shall be hung so that they only swing outwards, i.e. away from the pool area.
  • Self-closing device: The modified Australian Standards require that all gates are fitted with a device that will return the gate to the closed position and operate the latching device from any position with a stationary start without the application of a manual force. The self-closing device shall be capable of complying with these requirements with the gate at any position from resting on the latching mechanism to fully open.
  • Latching device: Gates are to be fitted with a latching device that will automatically operate on the closing of the gate and will prevent the gate from being reopened without being manually released.
  • Location of latching device: Latching devices are to be located at a height of no less than 1.5 metres above finished ground level and 1.4 metres above the highest lower horizontal member. (However the modified Australian Standards do allow other alternatives if this is not practical. Advice should be sought from industry specialists, as they may be able to recommend another solution such as shielding the latching device or relocating the latching device to the inside of the fencing).
  • External hinges: hinges with a surface area greater than 10mm are required to be a minimum of 900mm apart with the distance from the top of the lower hinge to the top of the gate at a minimum of 1.1 metres.
  • Ground clearance: the modified Australian Standards require that the height of any opening between the bottom of the fencing and the finished ground level shall not exceed 100mm. Temporary surfaces such as loose dirt, soft sand, mulch, gravel, pavers, rocks or similar are generally not suitable and would require compacting or be permanently fixed.
  • Handholds or footholds – projections and indentations: projections from or indentations into the outside surface of fencing, or a combination of projections or indentations shall not form a substantially horizontal surface with a depth greater than 10mm, unless they are spaced not less than 900mm apart and provided that the lower projections or indentations are at least 1.1 meters below the top of the fencing.
  • Horizontal climbable members: the modified Australian Standards restrict the use of fencing components that allow a handhold/ foothold for climbing. Where vertical members are spaced such that they provide clear openings of more than 10mm width, horizontal members shall be not less than 900mm apart. The top surface of the highest lower horizontal member shall be at least 1.1 meters below the effective top of the fence.
  • Horizontal climbable surfaces outside the fencing area: where a nearby surface that could be used as holds for climbing are located near the outside of the fencing, such surfaces shall be separated from the fencing by a distance of not less than 1.2 metres when measured from the top of the fencing. The outside of perimeter fencing is excluded from this requirement.
  • Horizontal climbable surfaces inside the fencing area: where a nearby surface that could be used as holds for climbing are located near the inside of the fencing (within the pool area) and where the spacing between the vertical fence members is greater than 10mm, such surfaces shall be separated from the fencing by a distance of not less than 300mm.
  • Horizontal metal clad fence (non-cyclonic areas): Horizontal metal clad fencing such as corrugated iron and “trimdeck” do not meet the requirements of AS 1926.1. However horizontal metal clad fencing will be approved under Section 12 of the Swimming Pool Safety Act provided the fence has an effective height of at least 1.5 meters and meets all other requirements of AS 1926.1.
  • Shielding to horizontal metal cladding (walls and fences): when a pool fence is located against a horizontal metal clad fence or wall, non-climbable shielding is required to be fitted to the horizontal metal cladding. The shielding is to be fitted on the inside and outside of the pool fence. This only applies in situations where the pool fence is lower than the metal cladding.
  • Wooden lattice: mesh fencing is required to meet the strength and rigidity requirements specified in the AS 1926.1. The effective height shall be not less than 2.4 meters (framed). Where approved for use, lattice must be sufficiently rigid and adequately fixed to the frame.
  • Vertical members: the clear space between any adjacent vertical members shall not exceed 100mm at any point.
  • Windows: where a window forms part of a barrier and is less than 2.4 metres above the pool surround, the openable section of the window shall be totally covered by bars/mesh screen that meet requirements specified in the AS 1926.1. Where approved by the Swimming Pool Safety Authority, windows may be used without bars/screens provided that the window is fixed in such a way that that it will only open sufficiently to meet the strength and rigidity requirements specified in the Australian Standard.
  • Dividing Barriers: any expenses associated with constructing, altering, repairing, replacing or maintaining a dividing barrier required for the purpose of complying with the Act or the Regulations, or to enable the swimming pool to be registered, are to be borne by the owner of the premises at which the pool is situated or relates to.
  • Boundary fencing: the onus on maintaining a swimming pool barrier rests with owner of the premises at which the swimming pool is (or is to be) located. The possibility that the boundary fence used as pool safety barrier may be compromised by the actions taken by an adjoining property owner may be taken into consideration. In these situations owners may wish to consider the installation of a separate pool fence.

Summary of Australian Standard AS 1926.1-1993

Please note, for the purpose of our summary, the words fence and barrier have the same meaning.

Pool safety fence/barrier

  • Swimming pool safety fences, gates and latching mechanisms must be of a permanent nature, i.e. barriers should not be able to be easily pushed over or physically damaged, reducing the effectiveness of the barrier.

Only suitable and durable materials are allowed, able to withstand decay, weather conditions, insects, ground water, pool chemicals, salt spray and so on.

  • The pool safety barrier must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high at any given point.
  • The pool safety fence must not have any climbable objects directly outside the fence -in a radius of 1200mm (1.2m) from the top of the fence- which any young child can use or move to gain access to the gate latch and/or access the pool.

Examples are planter boxes, BBQ’s, potted plants, toys, lightweight seating, ladders and so forth.

  • Perforated materials/mesh with apertures greater than 100mm (10cm) shall not be used for construction of the pool safety barrier.
  • When made of perforated materials or mesh, then the pool safety barrier shall be at least 2400mm (2.4m) high.

Alternatively, the fence can be (at least) 1800mm (1.8m) high, but then the fence must also be topped with an angled section of 450mm (45cm), which inclines to the outside at an angle of 135 degrees from the vertical.

  • When made of mesh, then the pool safety barrier must include a strainer wire or rail at the top and the bottom of the fencing.
  • Vertical gaps in the pool safety fence are only allowed if they are not wider (horizontal) than 100mm (10cm).

For instance, where steel and aluminium fencing is installed, this relates to the vertical bars on the fence. And for pool safety barriers made of glass, it applies to the gaps between panels.

  • No gaps larger than 100mm (10cm) are allowed under the pool fence, i.e. between the fence and ground.
  • To prevent young children from using any horizontal support structures (“members”) on the pool safety barrier as climbing steps/aids, such horizontal support members (or collections/sets of members closely together) must be at least 900mm (90cm) apart.

Gates and latches

  • Pool gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • Pool gates must open/swing away from the pool and into the safe zone.
  • Latches must be at least 1500mm (1.5m) above finished ground level. Also, at least 1400mm (1.4m) above the nearest horizontal member. Latches must also be shielded.

Walls and windows

  • Walls and windows that form part of a pool barrier must not provide a pathway into the pool area.

Therefore, any such windows must be at least 2400mm (2.4m) above the external paving or ground level.

Also, at least 1500mm (1.5m) above the floor of the room containing the window.

Or, fitted with a catch, bolt, lock or other stop located 1500mm (1.5m) above the floor of the room containing the window so that the openable part of the window cannot be opened more than 125mm (12.5cm).

Or, provided with a securely fitted fly screen.

Projections and indentations

  • Decorative walls etc. with projections and indentations can be used by young children as footholds or hand holds, ideal for climbing purposes.

If such elements are indeed present on/near the pool safety barrier, then they –the projections and indentations- must be spaced at least 900 mm apart, and at least 1100 mm below the top of the barrier.

Or, sloping away from the pool by at least 60 degrees to the horizontal.

Retaining walls

  • Must be constructed so they restrict access by young children to the pool area. Specific requirements apply. If retaining walls form part of your pool safety barrier, then it is recommended that you consult with your registered pool safety professional.

Above ground pools

  • Objects such as ladders, pumps and filters must not be able to be used as a climbing surface by young children to access the above ground pool.

Where the walls of the pool are used as a pool safety barrier, they must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high above ground level.

Also, potential climbing must be restricted within a 1200mm (1.2m) clear zone around the above ground pool.

Summary of Australian Standard AS 1926.2 – 1995

Please note, for the purpose of our summary, the words fence and barrier have the same meaning.

Pool safety fence/barrier

  • The pool safety barrier must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high at any given point. And the fence must be constructed so that it inhibits access by young children to the pool area.
  • The top of the pool safety fence must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) away from any finished ground outside the fence: for instance, any part of a retaining wall, terrace, sloping landscape etc. must be away at least 1.2m when measured by radius in an arc from the top of the pool safety fence.
  • To prevent young children from using the members on the pool safety fence as climbing steps/aids, horizontal support members (or collections/sets of members closely together) must be at least 900mm (90cm) apart.
  • Vertical gaps in the pool fence itself are only allowed if they are not wider (horizontal) than 100mm (10cm). For instance, where steel and aluminium fencing is installed, this relates to the vertical bars on the fence. And for glass fencing, it applies to the gaps between panels.
  • No gaps larger than 100mm (10cm) are allowed under the pool fence, i.e. between the fence and ground.

Walls, windows and doors

  • If any walls form part of the pool barrier, then protected windows in the walls may be permissible – conditions apply. Please refer to your registered pool safety professional.
  • If any walls form part of the pool barrier, then doors that open onto the pool area are not allowed – not even protected doors!

Community Safety Standard

The Community Safety Standard requires that a pool safety barrier must be designed, sited, installed and maintained so the barrier will prevent, to the extent practicable and reasonable in all the circumstances, an unsupervised child under the age of five years from getting into your pool area.

The Community Safety Standards were published by the Northern Territory Government – Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, in a document titled Community Safety Standard Guidelines.

The Community Safety Standard can only be applied to some pools installed before 1 January 2003.

Summary of the Community Safety Standard

The Community Safety Standard is summarised as follows:

Interpretation

In these guidelines:

  • “Inside”, in relation to a swimming pool barrier, means the side of the barrier that faces the pool area; “Outside”, in relation to a swimming pool barrier, means the side of the barrier that faces away from the pool area.
  • A reference in these guidelines to a measurement on the outside of a swimming pool barrier is, in relation to a dividing barrier, a reference to a measurement on the inside of the dividing barrier.
  • These guidelines do not require any action to be taken by any person on adjoining premises to ensure a dividing barrier complies with the Community Safety Standard.

Swimming Pool Barrier

  • The swimming pool barrier should be a permanent structure.
  • The swimming pool barrier should have the effect of isolating the swimming pool from the main entrance to the premises at which the swimming pool is situated and from any other means of access to the premises.
  • Driveway gates should not be used as part of the swimming pool barrier.
  • The swimming pool barrier must be high enough to prevent a child from gaining unsupervised access to the swimming pool (unless sub-clause (5) applies – approximately 1.2m at all points measured vertically from the outside of the barrier).
  • If the swimming pool barrier is made of chainmesh, the height of the swimming pool barrier should be approximately 1.7m at all points measured vertically from the outside of the swimming pool barrier.
  • All horizontal rails should be suitable distance apart (a minimum of approximately 900mm) or have some means of preventing a child from gaining unsupervised access to the swimming pool.
  • Apertures in the swimming pool barrier should not be greater than approximately 100mm.

Use of part of perimeter boundary as swimming pool barrier

Although section 11(2) of the Act precludes the whole of a perimeter boundary from being used as a swimming pool barrier, it does not prevent any part of the perimeter boundary that forms a dividing barrier from being used as a swimming pool barrier.

Gates in swimming pool barriers

  • Any gate that forms part of the swimming pool barrier should open away from the swimming pool and should automatically self-close and self-latch (including when at rest on the latching mechanism).
  • The latching release mechanism should be a minimum of approximately 1.5m from the ground, and a minimum of approximately 1.4m from the highest point of the lower horizontal part of the swimming pool barrier, measured vertically on the outside of the swimming pool barrier.
  • Double gates are not suitable to form part of the swimming pool barrier.
  • At no time should any gate forming part of the swimming pool barrier be propped open.

Doors in swimming pool barriers

  • Any door that forms part of the swimming pool barrier should be automatically self-close and self-latch (including when at rest on the latching mechanism).
  • The release for the latching device, or the bottom of the door handle, should be a minimum of approximately 1.5m measured vertically above ground level.
  • Double doors are not suitable to form part of the swimming pool barrier.

Windows in swimming pool barriers

Any window that forms part of the swimming pool barrier should not have an unscreened gap of more than approximately 100mm that is accessible by a child.

General safety matters

  • Vegetation within the premises at which the swimming pool is situated that could assist a child to gain unsupervised access to the swimming pool should be cleared to a distance of approximately 1.2m.
  • Objects that might assist a child over the swimming pool barrier to gain unsupervised access to the swimming pool should not be placed against or close to the swimming pool barrier.

Always consult with your registered pool safety professional!

Especially in cases of uncertainty, or when advice on pool safety regulations in the Northern Territory (NT) is required.

CPR signage on your pool safety barrier in the Northern Territory (NT)

CPR is an acronym for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. CPR saves lives.

Your region may stipulate that CPR signage in your pool area is compulsory. Please check with your registered pool safety professional.

It is still a good idea to have CPR signage displayed on your pool safety fence anyways.

The sign must be in good condition and able to be read easily from 3 metres.

You can buy a CPR sign from your local pool shop, council or community organisations such as St John Ambulance, the Australian Red Cross or Royal Life Saving.

References

Swimming Pool & Spa Association Australia (SPASA) – Australian Pool Fencing Rules – An Overview
Northern Territory Government – Pool Fencing and Barrier Safety Standards
Northern Territory Government – Pool Fencing Notes
Northern Territory Government – Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, in a document titled Community Safety Standard Guidelines.
Department of Local Government and Planning – Guidelines for the interpretation of swimming pool fencing requirements

Pool Fencing Laws & Regulations in Queensland (QLD)

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in Queensland for children under 5.

Moreover, all swimming pool drownings are preventable. Therefore, the rules are strict and severe penalties may apply.

The pool safety compliance laws, rules and regulations in Queensland (QLD) are intended to protect the well-being of young children by restricting their access to the area containing the swimming or spa pool.

Pool safety compliance in the State is regulated and enforced by the Queensland Government – Department of Housing and Public Works.

There is one safety standard for pool fencing in the State: the Queensland Swimming Pool Barriers Standard.

On the website of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) is a handy Pool Safety Standard Checklist for owners to use as a quick swimming pool fence compliance reference guide.

All pools –existing and new- in Queensland (QLD) must comply

Queensland Swimming Pool Barriers Standard

The Queensland Swimming Pool Barriers Standard references the following Australian Standards:

The Queensland Swimming Pool Barriers Standard is a modification of the above standards.

Effectively, the Queensland Swimming Pool Barriers Standard merely represents the sum-total of the two AS Standards further above, read together with the Modifications thereto, as published by the Queensland Government in a modification document titled MP3.4 – Swimming Pool Barriers.

Australian Standard AS 1926.1 – 2007

Please note, for the purposes of this summary, the words fence and barrier have the same meaning.

Pool safety fence/barrier

  • The design and construction of the swimming pool safety barrier must restrict access by young children to the pool area.
  • The surrounding area of the pool must be stable and remain intact at all times. Loose sand is not acceptable.
  • The pool safety barrier must be of a permanent nature.
  • The pool safety barrier shall be free of sharp edges, sharp projections, entrapping spaces and similar hazards.
  • The pool safety barrier must include a continuous Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ).
  • The Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) is defined as: “A zone consisting of a barrier as well as the associated space within 900 mm of the barrier, intended to inhibit climbing of the barrier by children. This includes any point along the length of the barrier and its associated space.”
  • The NCZ must be on the outside of the pool safety fencing.
  • In the NCZ, the distance between any hand and foot hold must be at least 900mm (90cm).
  • Perforated materials/mesh with apertures greater than 100mm (10cm) shall not be used for construction of the pool safety fence.
  • When made of mesh, then the fencing must include a strainer wire or rail at the top and the bottom of the fencing.
  • When made of solid materials (i.e. non-perforated/non-mesh), then the pool safety fence must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high at any given point.
  • When made of perforated materials or mesh: if the apertures in the perforated materials/mesh are not greater than 13mm (1.3cm), then the fence shall be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high.

If the apertures in the perforated materials/mesh are greater than 13mm (1.3cm) but not greater than 100mm (i.e. it is not allowed – see further above), then the fence shall be at least 1800mm (1.8m) high.

  • The pool safety fence must be vertical or leaning away from the pool, but not by more than a 15 degrees angle.
  • Gaps between the bottom of the fence/closed gate and finished ground level (i.e. a permanent, stable surface) may not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any given point.
  • Horizontal support structures (“members”) on the fence to prevent young children from using the members on the pool safety fence as climbing steps/aids, horizontal support members on the pool fencing are not allowed in the Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) .
  • Any horizontal surfaces permanently located near the inside of the fencing, and which can be used by young children for climbing, must be separated from the fencing by a distance of at least 300mm (30cm).
  • The spacing between adjacent vertical members –e.g. palings, rods or wires- must not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any point.

Boundary fences that form part of the pool area

Boundary fences are the ones between your own property and the neighbour/property next door.

  • Boundary fences that form part of the pool area must have a minimum height of 1800mm (1.8m).
  • Only with boundary fences, is the Non-Climbable Zone (NZC) actually allowed to be on the inside of the fence, i.e. in the pool area. BUT, then the NCZ must be located at the top on the inside (pool area) of the fencing to inhibit a young child from easily accessing the pool area from the adjoining property/neighbour’s side.

Gates and latches

  • Pool gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • Pool gates must open/swing away from the pool and into the safe zone.
  • Latches on the outside of the pool gate must be at least 1500mm (1.5m) above finished ground level. Also, at least 1400mm (1.4m) above the nearest horizontal member.
  • Latches on the inside of gate – if the latch is on the inside of the pool gate, then the latch must be in such a position that to release the latching device from the outside it will be necessary to reach over or through the fencing at a height of not less than 1200mm (1.2m) above the finished ground level or not less than 1000mm (1m) above the highest horizontal member. Also, the latching device must be at least 150mm (15cm) below the top of the gate if a hand-hole is not provided, or at least 150mm (15cm) below the edge of any hand-hole opening if a hand-hole is provided.

Unique situations

  • Often complex situations represent themselves, which complicate the interpretation and application of the pool fencing regulations in Queensland (QLD).

Such cases may be present in your own pool area or its immediate surrounds.

Examples are, sloping ground, stepped ground, ornamental brickwork, ornamental stonework, other projections/indentations, retaining walls, existing barriers, lakes/canals/rivers, openable windows onto the pool area, openable doors on the pool area, balconies over the pool area and above-ground pools.

To ensure full compliance –even in the “more complicated situations” – it is recommended that you always reach out to a registered pool safety professional.

Summary of Australian Standard AS 1926.2 – 2007

Please note, for the purpose of our summary, the words fence and barrier have the same meaning.

Pool safety fence/barrier

  • The design and construction of the swimming pool safety fence must restrict access by young children.
  • The pool area must be stable and remain intact at all times. Loose sand is not acceptable.
  • The surface directly beneath the pool barrier must be stable and not able to be eroded by weather, children or animals.

Examples of suitable materials include pavers, concrete, wood sleepers, garden rocks/stones, grass etc.

  • The pool safety barrier must be of a permanent nature.
  • The pool safety barrier shall be free of sharp edges, sharp projections, entrapping spaces and similar hazards.
  • The fence must include a continuous Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ).
  • Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) is defined as a zone consisting of a barrier as well as the associated space within 900 mm of the barrier (fence), intended to inhibit climbing of the barrier by children. This includes any point along the length of the barrier and its associated space.
  • The NCZ must be on the outside of the pool fencing.
  • In the NCZ, the distance between any hand and foot hold must be at least 900mm (90cm).
  • There must be no climbable objects, horizontal components, hand holds, footholds, indentations, projections, deeper than 10 mm within non-climbable zones (NCZs).

Where barriers may be sloping or stepped, the NCZ is to be maintained throughout. Where the gap between vertical members is 10 mm or less, climbable objects, including horizontal components, if located on the inside of the barrier, are permitted as a child would not be able to reach them.

  • In all instances, regardless of the NCZs, there must be no objects, steps, retaining walls or ground level changes within 500mm (50cm) of the barrier that would reduce the minimum height of the barrier as required on that side.
  • Perforated materials/mesh with apertures greater than 100mm (10cm) shall not be used during construction of the pool safety barrier.
  • When made of mesh, then the pool safety fencing must include a strainer wire or rail at the top and the bottom of the fencing.
  • When made of solid materials (i.e. not perforated or mesh), then the pool safety fence must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high at any given point.
  • If the apertures in the perforated materials/mesh are not greater than 13mm (1.3cm), then the fence shall be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high.
  • If the apertures in the perforated materials/mesh are greater than 13mm (1.3cm) but not greater than 100mm (i.e. not allowed – see above), then the pool safety barrier shall be at least 1800mm (1.8m) high.
  • The pool safety fence must either be vertical or leaning away from the pool, but leaning not by more than a 15 degrees angle.
  • Gaps between the bottom of the fence or gate (when closed) and finished ground level (i.e. a permanent, stable surface) may not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any given point.
  • To prevent young children from using the members on the pool safety fence as climbing steps/aids, horizontal support members on the pool fencing are not allowed in the Non-Climable Zone (NCZ).
  • Any horizontal surfaces permanently located near the inside of the pool safety fencing, and which can be used by young children for climbing, must be separated from the fencing by a distance of at least 300mm (30cm).
  • The spacing between adjacent vertical members –e.g. palings, rods or wires- must not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any point.

 Boundary fences that form part of the pool area

Boundary fences are the ones between your own property and the neighbour/property next door.

  • Boundary fences that form part of the pool area must have a minimum height of 1800mm (1.8m).
  • Only with boundary fences, is the Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) actually allowed to be on the inside of the fence, i.e. in the pool area.

BUT, the NCZ must be located at the top on the inside of the fencing to discourage a young child from easily accessing the pool area from the adjoining property by climbing down the boundary fence and onto the pool area.

Gates and latches

  • Pool gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • Pool gates must open/swing away from the pool and into the safe zone.
  • When latches are on the outside of the gate, then they must be at least 1500mm (1.5m) above finished ground level. Also, at least 1400mm (1.4m) above the nearest horizontal member.
  • If the latch is on the inside of the gate, then the latch must be in such a position that to release the latching device from the outside it will be necessary to reach over or through the fencing at a height of not less than 1200mm (1.2m) above the finished ground level or not less than 1000mm (1m) above the highest horizontal member.

Also, the latching device must be at least 150mm (15cm) below the top of the gate if a hand-hole is not provided, or at least 150mm (15cm) below the edge of any hand-hole opening if a hand-hole is provided.

Unique situations

  • Often, unique situations represent themselves, which complicate the interpretation and application of the regulations.

This Standard (AS 1926.2 – 2007) refers to many such cases in detail.

There may even be such cases in your own pool safety area or its immediate surrounds!

Examples are, sloping ground, stepped ground, ornamental brickwork, ornamental stonework, other projections/indentations, retaining walls, existing barriers, lakes/canals/rivers, openable windows onto the pool area, openable doors on the pool area, balconies over the pool area and above-ground pools.

To ensure full pool safety fence compliance in Queensland (QLD) –also in the “more complex situations” – it is recommended that you always reach out to a registered pool safety professional.

CPR signage for your pool safety fence in Queensland (QLD)

CPR is an acronym for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, a first aid response that can save lives around your pool.

In some states, CPR signage is the law. But, it is always a good idea anyways to have it displayed near your pool, i.e. on the pool fencing and gate.

The sign must be in good condition and able to be read easily from 3 metres.

You can buy a CPR sign from pool shops, your local council or community organisations such as St John Ambulance, the Australian Red Cross or Royal Life Saving.

For any pool safety matters – including the pool safety fencing regulations in Queensland (QLD), always ask your registered pool safety professional.

References

Swimming Pool & Spa Association Australia (SPASA) – Australian Pool Fencing Rules – An Overview
Queensland Government – Department of Housing and Public Works – Pool safety laws
Queensland Government – Department of Housing and Public Works – Pool safety laws – Modifications to the Standard
Queensland Building and Construction Commission – Pool safety

Pool Fencing Laws & Regulations in South Australia (SA)

The Government of South Australia (SA) legislates, enforces and oversees pool safety in the State.

Drowning is one of the biggest causes of accidental death –or permanent and disabling injury- for young children.

Most drownings and related injuries occur in home pools. And, all drownings are preventable.

You can reduce the risk of accidents occurring in your swimming pool or spa pool by installing appropriate pool safety barriers and ensuring young children are supervised at all times.

Pools in South Australia (SA) must comply with Development Regulations

Development Regulations 2008 -as amended by Minister’s Specification SA 76D- is the compliance benchmark for pool safety fencing in South Australia (SA).

It adopts Australian Standard AS 1926.1-2012 – Safety barriers for swimming pools – and AS 1926.2-2007 – Location of safety barriers for swimming pools- (see below) as the referenced specifications.

Summary of Australian Standard AS 1926.2 – 2007

Please note, for the purpose of our summary, the words fence and barrier have the same meaning.

Pool safety fence/barrier

  • The design and construction of the swimming pool safety fence must restrict access by young children.
  • The pool area must be stable and remain intact at all times. Loose sand is not acceptable.
  • The surface directly beneath the pool barrier must be stable and not able to be eroded by weather, children or animals.

Examples of suitable materials include pavers, concrete, wood sleepers, garden rocks/stones, grass etc.

  • The pool safety barrier must be of a permanent nature.
  • The pool safety barrier shall be free of sharp edges, sharp projections, entrapping spaces and similar hazards.
  • The fence must include a continuous Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ).
  • Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) is defined as a zone consisting of a barrier as well as the associated space within 900 mm of the barrier (fence), intended to inhibit climbing of the barrier by children. This includes any point along the length of the barrier and its associated space.
  • The NCZ must be on the outside of the pool fencing.
  • In the NCZ, the distance between any hand and foot hold must be at least 900mm (90cm).
  • There must be no climbable objects, horizontal components, hand holds, footholds, indentations, projections, deeper than 10 mm within non-climbable zones (NCZs).

Where barriers may be sloping or stepped, the NCZ is to be maintained throughout. Where the gap between vertical members is 10 mm or less, climbable objects, including horizontal components, if located on the inside of the barrier, are permitted as a child would not be able to reach them.

  • In all instances, regardless of the NCZs, there must be no objects, steps, retaining walls or ground level changes within 500mm (50cm) of the barrier that would reduce the minimum height of the barrier as required on that side.
  • Perforated materials/mesh with apertures greater than 100mm (10cm) shall not be used during construction of the pool safety barrier.
  • When made of mesh, then the pool safety fencing must include a strainer wire or rail at the top and the bottom of the fencing.
  • When made of solid materials (i.e. not perforated or mesh), then the pool safety fence must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high at any given point.
  • If the apertures in the perforated materials/mesh are not greater than 13mm (1.3cm), then the fence shall be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high.
  • If the apertures in the perforated materials/mesh are greater than 13mm (1.3cm) but not greater than 100mm (i.e. not allowed – see above), then the pool safety barrier shall be at least 1800mm (1.8m) high.
  • The pool safety fence must either be vertical or leaning away from the pool, but leaning not by more than a 15 degrees angle.
  • Gaps between the bottom of the fence or gate (when closed) and finished ground level (i.e. a permanent, stable surface) may not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any given point.
  • To prevent young children from using the members on the pool safety fence as climbing steps/aids, horizontal support members on the pool fencing are not allowed in the Non-Climable Zone (NCZ).
  • Any horizontal surfaces permanently located near the inside of the pool safety fencing, and which can be used by young children for climbing, must be separated from the fencing by a distance of at least 300mm (30cm).
  • The spacing between adjacent vertical members –e.g. palings, rods or wires- must not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any point.

 Boundary fences that form part of the pool area

Boundary fences are the ones between your own property and the neighbour/property next door.

  • Boundary fences that form part of the pool area must have a minimum height of 1800mm (1.8m).
  • Only with boundary fences, is the Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) actually allowed to be on the inside of the fence, i.e. in the pool area.

BUT, the NCZ must be located at the top on the inside of the fencing to discourage a young child from easily accessing the pool area from the adjoining property by climbing down the boundary fence and onto the pool area.

 Gates and latches

  • Pool gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • Pool gates must open/swing away from the pool and into the safe zone.
  • When latches are on the outside of the gate, then they must be at least 1500mm (1.5m) above finished ground level. Also, at least 1400mm (1.4m) above the nearest horizontal member.
  • If the latch is on the inside of the gate, then the latch must be in such a position that to release the latching device from the outside it will be necessary to reach over or through the fencing at a height of not less than 1200mm (1.2m) above the finished ground level or not less than 1000mm (1m) above the highest horizontal member.

Also, the latching device must be at least 150mm (15cm) below the top of the gate if a hand-hole is not provided, or at least 150mm (15cm) below the edge of any hand-hole opening if a hand-hole is provided.

Unique situations

  • Often, unique or out-of-the-ordinary situations represent themselves, which complicate the interpretation and application of the regulations.

This Standard (AS 1926.2 – 2007) refers to many such cases in detail.

There may even be such cases in your own pool safety area or its immediate surrounds!

Examples are, sloping ground, stepped ground, ornamental brickwork, ornamental stonework, other projections/indentations, retaining walls, existing barriers, lakes/canals/rivers, openable windows onto the pool area, openable doors on the pool area, balconies over the pool area and above-ground pools.

To ensure full pool safety fence compliance in South Australia (SA) –also in the “more complicated situations” – it is recommended that you always reach out to a registered pool safety professional.

Pools in South Australia (SA) must display CPR signage

CPR is an acronym for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It is a crucial first-aid response that can save lives.

It is recommended that someone on the property has resuscitation skills. Pool safety fencing in South Australia (SA) must have CPR signage affixed to it.

Compliant CPR signage may be available from your local pool shop, council, St. John Ambulance, Australian Red Cross or Royal Life Saving branch.

References

Swimming Pool & Spa Association Australia (SPASA) – Australian Pool Fencing Rules – An Overview
Government of South Australia – Pool and spa safety
Government of South Australia – Development Regulations 2008
Government of South Australia – Minister’s Specification SA 76D – Swimming Pool Safety—new prescribed requirements for upgrading prescribed swimming pools
Government of South Australia – Resuscitation – CPR signage

Pool Fencing Laws & Regulations in Tasmania (TAS)

Swimming pools in Tasmania (TAS) are described as any excavation or structure containing water to a depth greater than 300mm that is used, or designed, manufactured or adapted to be primarily used for swimming, wading, paddling or the like, including a bathing or wading pool, or spa pool.

As preventable drownings in home pools are a major cause of death and permanent injury to toddlers, the laws, rules and regulations on pool safety fence compliance in Tasmania (TAS) are very strict.

The regulations in Tasmania require that pools and spas have complying safety barriers in place. Owners and occupiers also have an ongoing responsibility and duty of care to ensure that their pool safety fences are legal and well maintained.

All pools –existing and new- in Tasmania (TAS) must comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA)

The BCA adopts Australian Standard AS 1926.1-2012 – Safety barriers for swimming pools, and also AS 1926.2-2007 – Location of safety barriers for swimming pools (see below), as the minimum technical requirements that apply to the pool safety fence.

Summary of Australian Standard AS 1926.2 – 2007

Please note, for the purpose of our summary, the words fence and barrier have the same meaning.

Pool safety fence/barrier

  • The design and construction of the swimming pool safety fence must restrict access by young children.
  • The pool area must be stable and remain intact at all times. Loose sand is not acceptable.
  • The surface directly beneath the pool barrier must be stable and not able to be eroded by weather, children or animals.

Examples of suitable materials include pavers, concrete, wood sleepers, garden rocks/stones, grass etc.

  • The pool safety barrier must be of a permanent nature.
  • The pool safety barrier shall be free of sharp edges, sharp projections, entrapping spaces and similar hazards.
  • The fence must include a continuous Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ).
  • Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) is defined as a zone consisting of a barrier as well as the associated space within 900 mm of the barrier (fence), intended to inhibit climbing of the barrier by children. This includes any point along the length of the barrier and its associated space.
  • The NCZ must be on the outside of the pool fencing.
  • In the NCZ, the distance between any hand and foot hold must be at least 900mm (90cm).
  • There must be no climbable objects, horizontal components, hand holds, footholds, indentations, projections, deeper than 10 mm within non-climbable zones (NCZs).

Where barriers may be sloping or stepped, the NCZ is to be maintained throughout. Where the gap between vertical members is 10 mm or less, climbable objects, including horizontal components, if located on the inside of the barrier, are permitted as a child would not be able to reach them.

  • In all instances, regardless of the NCZs, there must be no objects, steps, retaining walls or ground level changes within 500mm (50cm) of the barrier that would reduce the minimum height of the barrier as required on that side.
  • Perforated materials/mesh with apertures greater than 100mm (10cm) shall not be used during construction of the pool safety barrier.
  • When made of mesh, then the pool safety fencing must include a strainer wire or rail at the top and the bottom of the fencing.
  • When made of solid materials (i.e. not perforated or mesh), then the pool safety fence must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high at any given point.
  • If the apertures in the perforated materials/mesh are not greater than 13mm (1.3cm), then the fence shall be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high.
  • If the apertures in the perforated materials/mesh are greater than 13mm (1.3cm) but not greater than 100mm (i.e. not allowed – see above), then the pool safety barrier shall be at least 1800mm (1.8m) high.
  • The pool safety fence must either be vertical or leaning away from the pool, but leaning not by more than a 15 degrees angle.
  • Gaps between the bottom of the fence or gate (when closed) and finished ground level (i.e. a permanent, stable surface) may not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any given point.
  • To prevent young children from using the members on the pool safety fence as climbing steps/aids, horizontal support members on the pool fencing are not allowed in the Non-Climable Zone (NCZ).
  • Any horizontal surfaces permanently located near the inside of the pool safety fencing, and which can be used by young children for climbing, must be separated from the fencing by a distance of at least 300mm (30cm).
  • The spacing between adjacent vertical members –e.g. palings, rods or wires- must not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any point.

Boundary fences that form part of the pool area

Boundary fences are the ones between your own property and the neighbour/property next door.

  • Boundary fences that form part of the pool area must have a minimum height of 1800mm (1.8m).
  • Only with boundary fences, is the Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) actually allowed to be on the inside of the fence, i.e. in the pool area.

BUT, the NCZ must be located at the top on the inside of the fencing to discourage a young child from easily accessing the pool area from the adjoining property by climbing down the boundary fence and onto the pool area.

Gates and latches

  • Pool gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • Pool gates must open/swing away from the pool and into the safe zone.
  • When latches are on the outside of the gate, then they must be at least 1500mm (1.5m) above finished ground level. Also, at least 1400mm (1.4m) above the nearest horizontal member.
  • If the latch is on the inside of the gate, then the latch must be in such a position that to release the latching device from the outside it will be necessary to reach over or through the fencing at a height of not less than 1200mm (1.2m) above the finished ground level or not less than 1000mm (1m) above the highest horizontal member.

Also, the latching device must be at least 150mm (15cm) below the top of the gate if a hand-hole is not provided, or at least 150mm (15cm) below the edge of any hand-hole opening if a hand-hole is provided.

Unique situations

  • Often, unique or out-of-the-ordinary situations represent themselves, which complicate the interpretation and application of the regulations.

This Standard (AS 1926.2 – 2007) refers to many such cases in detail.

There may even be such cases in your own pool safety area or its immediate surrounds!

Examples are, sloping ground, stepped ground, ornamental brickwork, ornamental stonework, other projections/indentations, retaining walls, existing barriers, lakes/canals/rivers, openable windows onto the pool area, openable doors on the pool area, balconies over the pool area and above-ground pools.

To ensure full pool safety fence compliance in Tasmania (TAS) –also in the ‘more complicated situations’ – it is recommended that you always reach out to a registered pool safety professional.

CPR Signage in your pool area

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can save lives when accidents or injuries occur around the pool.

CPR signage on your pool fence and gate may already be a legal requirement in your area – check with your local supplier or registered safety professional.

But, even if it’s not the law, it is still highly recommended that you erect the signage for enhanced pool safety purposes.

CPR signs may be bought from your pool shop, council or community organisations such as St John Ambulance, the Australian Red Cross or Royal Life Saving.

Signs must be readable from a distance of 3 metres and always kept in a good condition.

References

Swimming Pool & Spa Association Australia (SPASA) – Australian Pool Fencing Rules – An Overview
Tasmania – City of Launceston – Swimming Pools and Spas
The BCA adopts Australian Standard AS 1926.1-2012 and AS 1926.2-2007

Pool Fencing Laws & Regulations in Victoria (VIC)

Victoria (VIC), several pool related deaths and/or permanent and disabling injuries to young children are recorded every year.

Pool safety in VIC is administered, regulated and enforced by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA).

Swimming pools and spas on residential properties in Victoria that are capable of holding more than 300mm (30cm) of water are required to have a pool safety barrier to restrict access to a pool area by young children (e.g. under the age of 5).

This also includes inflatable pools, above ground pools, indoor pools, hot tubs, and bathing or wading pools.

In addition, all gates, fences or walls that form part of the barrier around the pool must be kept in good working condition.

Handy pool safety compliance checklists are accessible on the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) web page titled Swimming pools, spas and their safety barriers.

In VIC, pool fence safety legislation, regulations, laws, compliance and registrations revolve around the installation date of your swimming pool or spa.

If your pool in VIC was installed before 8 April 1991

Then Standard AS 1926.1-1993 Swimming pool safety- Fencing for swimming pools, applies to you. Also, Part 9 Building Regulations 2018.

Summary of Australian Standard AS 1926.1-1993

Please note, for the purpose of our summary, the words fence and barrier have the same meaning.

Pool safety fence/barrier

  • Swimming pool safety fences, gates and latching mechanisms must be of a permanent nature, i.e. barriers should not be able to be easily pushed over or physically damaged, reducing the effectiveness of the barrier.

Only suitable and durable materials are allowed, able to withstand decay, weather conditions, insects, ground water, pool chemicals, salt spray and so on.

  • The pool safety barrier must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high at any given point.
  • The pool safety fence must not have any climbable objects directly outside the fence -in a radius of 1200mm (1.2m) from the top of the fence- which any young child can use or move to gain access to the gate latch and/or access the pool.

Examples are planter boxes, BBQ’s, potted plants, toys, lightweight seating, ladders and so forth.

  • Perforated materials/mesh with apertures greater than 100mm (10cm) shall not be used for construction of the pool safety barrier.
  • When made of perforated materials or mesh, then the pool safety barrier shall be at least 2400mm (2.4m) high.

Alternatively, the fence can be (at least) 1800mm (1.8m) high, but then the fence must also be topped with an angled section of 450mm (45cm), which inclines to the outside at an angle of 135 degrees from the vertical.

  • When made of mesh, then the pool safety barrier must include a strainer wire or rail at the top and the bottom of the fencing.
  • Vertical gaps in the pool safety fence are only allowed if they are not wider (horizontal) than 100mm (10cm).

For instance, where steel and aluminium fencing is installed, this relates to the vertical bars on the fence. And for pool safety barriers made of glass, it applies to the gaps between panels.

  • No gaps larger than 100mm (10cm) are allowed under the pool fence, i.e. between the fence and ground.
  • To prevent young children from using any horizontal support structures (“members”) on the pool safety barrier as climbing steps/aids, such horizontal support members (or collections/sets of members closely together) must be at least 900mm (90cm) apart.

Gates and latches

  • Pool gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • Pool gates must open/swing away from the pool and into the safe zone.
  • Latches must be at least 1500mm (1.5m) above finished ground level. Also, at least 1400mm (1.4m) above the nearest horizontal member. Latches must also be shielded.

Walls and windows

  • Walls and windows that form part of a pool barrier must not provide a pathway into the pool area.

Therefore, any such windows must be at least 2400mm (2.4m) above the external paving or ground level.

Also, at least 1500mm (1.5m) above the floor of the room containing the window.

Or, fitted with a catch, bolt, lock or other stop located 1500mm (1.5m) above the floor of the room containing the window so that the openable part of the window cannot be opened more than 125mm (12.5cm).

Or, provided with a securely fitted fly screen.

Projections and indentations

  • Decorative walls etc. with projections and indentations can be used by young children as footholds or hand holds, ideal for climbing purposes.

If such elements are indeed present on/near the pool safety barrier, then they –the projections and indentations- must be spaced at least 900 mm apart, and at least 1100 mm below the top of the barrier.

Or, sloping away from the pool by at least 60 degrees to the horizontal.

Retaining walls

  • Must be constructed so they restrict access by young children to the pool area. Specific requirements apply. If retaining walls form part of your pool safety barrier, then it is recommended that you consult with your registered pool safety professional.

Above ground pools

  • Objects such as ladders, pumps and filters must not be able to be used as a climbing surface by young children to access the above ground pool.

Where the walls of the pool are used as a pool safety barrier, they must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high above ground level.

Also, potential climbing must be restricted within a 1200mm (1.2m) clear zone around the above ground pool.

If your pool in VIC was installed installed between 8 April 1991 and 30 April 2010

If your pool fence/safety barrier was approved from 8 April 1991 to 31 October 1994, then Standard AS 1926.1 – 1986 Fences and gates for private swimming pools, applies to you.

And, if your pool fence/safety barrier was approved from 1 November 1994 to 30 April 2010, then Standard AS 1926.1-1993 Swimming pool safety- Fencing for swimming pools, applies to you.

An outline of Australian Standard AS 1926.1986

Please note, for the purposes of this summary, the words fence and barrier have the same meaning.

The key points are:

  • Swimming pool safety fences, gates and latching mechanisms must be of a permanent nature. Only suitable and durable materials are allowed, able to withstand decay, weather conditions, insects, ground water, pool chemicals, salt spray and so on.
  • Perforated materials or “mesh” -e.g. chain wire- may only be used if the mesh openings are not larger than 50mm (5cm).
  • The pool safety barrier must be vertical or leaning away from the pool.
  • When made of solid materials (i.e. non-perforated), the pool safety fence must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high at any given point.
  • When made of perforated materials (e.g. chain wire or mesh), the pool safety fence must be at least 1800mm (1.8m) high at any given point. Furthermore, the fence must also be topped with an angled section of 450mm (45cm), which inclines to the outside at an angle of 135 degrees from the vertical.
  • The top of the pool safety fence must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) away from any finished ground outside the fence. For instance, any part of a retaining wall, terrace, sloping landscape etc. must be away at least 1.2m when measured by radius in an arc from the top of the pool safety fence.
  • Gaps between the bottom of the fence and finished ground level (i.e. a permanent, stable surface) may not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any given point.
  • Any horizontal support structures (“members”), or sets of members grouped closely together, must be at least 900mm (90cm) apart.
  • The bottom member (or set of members grouped closely together) on the pool fencing is not allowed to be closer than 1100mm (1.1m) from the top of the pool fence or gate.
  • Any horizontal surfaces permanently located near the inside of the fencing must be separated from the fencing by a distance of at least 300mm (30cm).
  • The spacing between adjacent vertical members –e.g. palings, rods or wires- must not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any point.

Summary of Australian Standard AS 1926.1-1993

Please note, for the purpose of our summary, the words fence and barrier have the same meaning.

Pool safety fence/barrier

  • Swimming pool safety fences, gates and latching mechanisms must be of a permanent nature, i.e. barriers should not be able to be easily pushed over or physically damaged, reducing the effectiveness of the barrier.

Only suitable and durable materials are allowed, able to withstand decay, weather conditions, insects, ground water, pool chemicals, salt spray and so on.

  • The pool safety barrier must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high at any given point.
  • The pool safety fence must not have any climbable objects directly outside the fence -in a radius of 1200mm (1.2m) from the top of the fence- which any young child can use or move to gain access to the gate latch and/or access the pool.

Examples are planter boxes, BBQ’s, potted plants, toys, lightweight seating, ladders and so forth.

  • Perforated materials/mesh with apertures greater than 100mm (10cm) shall not be used for construction of the pool safety barrier.
  • When made of perforated materials or mesh, then the pool safety barrier shall be at least 2400mm (2.4m) high.

Alternatively, the fence can be (at least) 1800mm (1.8m) high, but then the fence must also be topped with an angled section of 450mm (45cm), which inclines to the outside at an angle of 135 degrees from the vertical.

  • When made of mesh, then the pool safety barrier must include a strainer wire or rail at the top and the bottom of the fencing.
  • Vertical gaps in the pool safety fence are only allowed if they are not wider (horizontal) than 100mm (10cm).

For instance, where steel and aluminium fencing is installed, this relates to the vertical bars on the fence. And for pool safety barriers made of glass, it applies to the gaps between panels.

  • No gaps larger than 100mm (10cm) are allowed under the pool fence, i.e. between the fence and ground.
  • To prevent young children from using any horizontal support structures (“members”) on the pool safety barrier as climbing steps/aids, such horizontal support members (or collections/sets of members closely together) must be at least 900mm (90cm) apart.

Gates and latches

  • Pool gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • Pool gates must open/swing away from the pool and into the safe zone.
  • Latches must be at least 1500mm (1.5m) above finished ground level. Also, at least 1400mm (1.4m) above the nearest horizontal member. Latches must also be shielded.

Walls and windows

  • Walls and windows that form part of a pool barrier must not provide a pathway into the pool area.

Therefore, any such windows must be at least 2400mm (2.4m) above the external paving or ground level.

Also, at least 1500mm (1.5m) above the floor of the room containing the window.

Or, fitted with a catch, bolt, lock or other stop located 1500mm (1.5m) above the floor of the room containing the window so that the openable part of the window cannot be opened more than 125mm (12.5cm).

Or, provided with a securely fitted fly screen.

Projections and indentations

  • Decorative walls etc. with projections and indentations can be used by young children as footholds or hand holds, ideal for climbing purposes.

If such elements are indeed present on/near the pool safety barrier, then they –the projections and indentations- must be spaced at least 900 mm apart, and at least 1100 mm below the top of the barrier.

Or, sloping away from the pool by at least 60 degrees to the horizontal.

Retaining walls

  • Must be constructed so they restrict access by young children to the pool area. Specific requirements apply. If retaining walls form part of your pool safety barrier, then it is recommended that you consult with your registered pool safety professional.

Above ground pools

  • Objects such as ladders, pumps and filters must not be able to be used as a climbing surface by young children to access the above ground pool.

Where the walls of the pool are used as a pool safety barrier, they must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high above ground level.

Also, potential climbing must be restricted within a 1200mm (1.2m) clear zone around the above ground pool.

If your pool in VIC was installed installed from 1 May 2010 until now

And, if your barrier building permit was issued from 1 May 2010 to 30 April 2013, then Standard AS 1926.1 – 2007, swimming pool safety – Part 1 safety barriers for swimming pools, applies to you.

And, if your barrier building permit was issued from 1 May 2010 until now, then the national regulation i.e. Australian Standard AS 1926.1-2012 – Safety Barriers for Swimming Pools, applies to your pool.

Australian Standard AS 1926.1 – 2007

Please note, for the purposes of this summary, the words fence and barrier have the same meaning.

Pool safety fence/barrier

  • The design and construction of the swimming pool safety barrier must restrict access by young children to the pool area.
  • The surrounding area of the pool must be stable and remain intact at all times. Loose sand is not acceptable.
  • The pool safety barrier must be of a permanent nature.
  • The pool safety barrier shall be free of sharp edges, sharp projections, entrapping spaces and similar hazards.
  • The pool safety barrier must include a continuous Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ).
  • The Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) is defined as: “A zone consisting of a barrier as well as the associated space within 900 mm of the barrier, intended to inhibit climbing of the barrier by children. This includes any point along the length of the barrier and its associated space.”
  • The NCZ must be on the outside of the pool safety fencing.
  • In the NCZ, the distance between any hand and foot hold must be at least 900mm (90cm).
  • Perforated materials/mesh with apertures greater than 100mm (10cm) shall not be used for construction of the pool safety fence.
  • When made of mesh, then the fencing must include a strainer wire or rail at the top and the bottom of the fencing.
  • When made of solid materials (i.e. non-perforated/non-mesh), then the pool safety fence must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high at any given point.
  • When made of perforated materials or mesh: if the apertures in the perforated materials/mesh are not greater than 13mm (1.3cm), then the fence shall be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high.

If the apertures in the perforated materials/mesh are greater than 13mm (1.3cm) but not greater than 100mm (i.e. it is not allowed – see further above), then the fence shall be at least 1800mm (1.8m) high.

  • The pool safety fence must be vertical or leaning away from the pool, but not by more than a 15 degrees angle.
  • Gaps between the bottom of the fence/closed gate and finished ground level (i.e. a permanent, stable surface) may not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any given point.
  • Horizontal support structures (“members”) on the fence to prevent young children from using the members on the pool safety fence as climbing steps/aids, horizontal support members on the pool fencing are not allowed in the Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) .
  • Any horizontal surfaces permanently located near the inside of the fencing, and which can be used by young children for climbing, must be separated from the fencing by a distance of at least 300mm (30cm).
  • The spacing between adjacent vertical members –e.g. palings, rods or wires- must not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any point.

 Boundary fences that form part of the pool area

Boundary fences are the ones between your own property and the neighbour/property next door.

  • Boundary fences that form part of the pool area must have a minimum height of 1800mm (1.8m).
  • Only with boundary fences, is the Non-Climbable Zone (NZC) actually allowed to be on the inside of the fence, i.e. in the pool area. BUT, then the NCZ must be located at the top on the inside (pool area) of the fencing to inhibit a young child from easily accessing the pool area from the adjoining property/neighbour’s side.

Gates and latches

  • Pool gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • Pool gates must open/swing away from the pool and into the safe zone.
  • Latches on the outside of the pool gate must be at least 1500mm (1.5m) above finished ground level. Also, at least 1400mm (1.4m) above the nearest horizontal member.
  • Latches on the inside of gate – if the latch is on the inside of the pool gate, then the latch must be in such a position that to release the latching device from the outside it will be necessary to reach over or through the fencing at a height of not less than 1200mm (1.2m) above the finished ground level or not less than 1000mm (1m) above the highest horizontal member. Also, the latching device must be at least 150mm (15cm) below the top of the gate if a hand-hole is not provided, or at least 150mm (15cm) below the edge of any hand-hole opening if a hand-hole is provided.

Unique situations

  • Often unique situations represent themselves, which may complicate the interpretation and application of the pool fencing regulations in Victoria (VIC).

Such cases may be present in your own pool area or its immediate surrounds.

Examples are, sloping ground, stepped ground, ornamental brickwork, ornamental stonework, other projections/indentations, retaining walls, existing barriers, lakes/canals/rivers, openable windows onto the pool area, openable doors on the pool area, balconies over the pool area and above-ground pools.

To ensure full compliance –even in the “more complicated situations” – it is recommended that you always reach out to a registered pool safety professional.

Your registered pool safety professional is qualified to give the best advice and recommendations on the requirements of pool safety fence regulations in Victoria (VIC).

When in doubt, do not hesitate to ask!

CPR signage in your pool area

CPR is an acronym for cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

It can save lives in your pool area, following an accident or during a medical emergency.

In some states the law requires that you have a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign displayed near your pool, i.e. on the pool fencing and gate.

It is still highly recommended in any case that you display the CPR signage.

The sign must be in good condition and able to be read easily from 3 metres.

CPR signage can be purchased from pool shops, local councils and community organisations such as St John Ambulance, the Australian Red Cross or Royal Life Saving.

References

Housing Industry Association (HIA) – Standard AS 1926-1986 Fences and gates for private swimming pools
Victorian Building Authority (VBA) – Swimming pools, spas and their safety barriers
Swimming Pool & Spa Association Australia (SPASA) – VIC Barrier Laws

Pool Fencing Laws & Regulations in Western Australia (WA)

All swimming pool owners in Australia have responsibilities, accountability and a specific duty of care in terms of pool safety compliance.

Inadequate pool fencing is a leading cause of preventable drownings in pools –especially of children up to 5 years old.

In the State of Western Australia (WA), several pool related deaths and/or permanent and disabling injuries to young children are recorded every year.

Domestic swimming pools are the most common site in which drowning for children aged 0–5 years occurs, with 94 per cent of drowning incidents at locations in and around the home.

Therefore, the pool fencing laws and regulations are very strict. Swimming pool safety compliance is essential and the penalties may be severe.

The pool safety compliance laws, rules and regulations in Western Australia (WA) are intended to protect the well-being of young children by restricting their access to the area containing the swimming or spa pool.

In Western Australia, the design, construction, installation and registration of private swimming and spa pools and their safety barriers is subject to strict building requirements under the Building Regulations.

All private swimming and spa pools that contain water that is more than 300mm (30cm) deep must have a compliant barrier installed that restricts access by young children to the pool and its immediate surrounds.

Owners and occupiers in WA also have ongoing legal compliance obligations to maintain their pool safety barriers at all times.

Pool safety compliance in the State is administered, regulated and enforced by the Government of Western Australia–Department of Commerce– Building Commission.

Comprehensive information on pool safety barrier regulations is available in its booklet titled Rules for Pools and Spas.

If your pool in WA was installed before May 2016

Then Standard AS 1926.1-1993 Swimming pool safety- Fencing for swimming pools, applies to you.

Also, compliance to the Building Regulations – please refer to Rules for Pools and Spas for more information.

Summary of Australian Standard AS 1926.1-1993

Please note, for the purpose of our summary, the words fence and barrier have the same meaning.

Pool safety fence/barrier

  • Swimming pool safety fences, gates and latching mechanisms must be of a permanent nature, i.e. barriers should not be able to be easily pushed over or physically damaged, reducing the effectiveness of the barrier.

Only suitable and durable materials are allowed, able to withstand decay, weather conditions, insects, ground water, pool chemicals, salt spray and so on.

  • The pool safety barrier must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high at any given point.
  • The pool safety fence must not have any climbable objects directly outside the fence -in a radius of 1200mm (1.2m) from the top of the fence- which any young child can use or move to gain access to the gate latch and/or access the pool.

Examples are planter boxes, BBQ’s, potted plants, toys, lightweight seating, ladders and so forth.

  • Perforated materials/mesh with apertures greater than 100mm (10cm) shall not be used for construction of the pool safety barrier.
  • When made of perforated materials or mesh, then the pool safety barrier shall be at least 2400mm (2.4m) high.

Alternatively, the fence can be (at least) 1800mm (1.8m) high, but then the fence must also be topped with an angled section of 450mm (45cm), which inclines to the outside at an angle of 135 degrees from the vertical.

  • When made of mesh, then the pool safety barrier must include a strainer wire or rail at the top and the bottom of the fencing.
  • Vertical gaps in the pool safety fence are only allowed if they are not wider (horizontal) than 100mm (10cm).

For instance, where steel and aluminium fencing is installed, this relates to the vertical bars on the fence. And for pool safety barriers made of glass, it applies to the gaps between panels.

  • No gaps larger than 100mm (10cm) are allowed under the pool fence, i.e. between the fence and ground.
  • To prevent young children from using any horizontal support structures (“members”) on the pool safety barrier as climbing steps/aids, such horizontal support members (or collections/sets of members closely together) must be at least 900mm (90cm) apart.

Gates and latches

  • Pool gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • Pool gates must open/swing away from the pool and into the safe zone.
  • Latches must be at least 1500mm (1.5m) above finished ground level. Also, at least 1400mm (1.4m) above the nearest horizontal member. Latches must also be shielded.

Walls and windows

  • Walls and windows that form part of a pool barrier must not provide a pathway into the pool area.

Therefore, any such windows must be at least 2400mm (2.4m) above the external paving or ground level.

Also, at least 1500mm (1.5m) above the floor of the room containing the window.

Or, fitted with a catch, bolt, lock or other stop located 1500mm (1.5m) above the floor of the room containing the window so that the openable part of the window cannot be opened more than 125mm (12.5cm).

Or, provided with a securely fitted fly screen.

Projections and indentations

  • Decorative walls etc. with projections and indentations can be used by young children as footholds or hand holds, ideal for climbing purposes.

If such elements are indeed present on/near the pool safety barrier, then they –the projections and indentations- must be spaced at least 900 mm apart, and at least 1100 mm below the top of the barrier.

Or, sloping away from the pool by at least 60 degrees to the horizontal.

Retaining walls

  • Must be constructed so they restrict access by young children to the pool area. Specific requirements apply. If retaining walls form part of your pool safety barrier, then it is recommended that you consult with your registered pool safety professional.

Above ground pools

  • Objects such as ladders, pumps and filters must not be able to be used as a climbing surface by young children to access the above ground pool.

Where the walls of the pool are used as a pool safety barrier, they must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high above ground level.

Also, potential climbing must be restricted within a 1200mm (1.2m) clear zone around the above ground pool.

If your pool in WA was installed anytime from 1 May 2016 until now

Then, you need to comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

The BCA references the national regulation i.e. Australian Standard AS 1926.1-2012 – Safety Barriers for Swimming Pools, which details the minimum technical requirements applicable to swimming and spa pool barriers.

You also need to adhere to Australian Standard AS 1926.2-2007, which details the barrier location requirements.

For more information, please refer to Rules for Pools and Spas.

Summary of Australian Standard AS 1926.2 – 2007

Please note, for the purpose of our summary, the words fence and barrier have the same meaning.

Pool safety fence/barrier

  • The design and construction of the swimming pool safety fence must restrict access by young children.
  • The pool area must be stable and remain intact at all times. Loose sand is not acceptable.
  • The surface directly beneath the pool barrier must be stable and not able to be eroded by weather, children or animals.

Examples of suitable materials include pavers, concrete, wood sleepers, garden rocks/stones, grass etc.

  • The pool safety barrier must be of a permanent nature.
  • The pool safety barrier shall be free of sharp edges, sharp projections, entrapping spaces and similar hazards.
  • The fence must include a continuous Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ).
  • Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) is defined as a zone consisting of a barrier as well as the associated space within 900 mm of the barrier (fence), intended to inhibit climbing of the barrier by children. This includes any point along the length of the barrier and its associated space.
  • The NCZ must be on the outside of the pool fencing.
  • In the NCZ, the distance between any hand and foot hold must be at least 900mm (90cm).
  • There must be no climbable objects, horizontal components, hand holds, footholds, indentations, projections, deeper than 10 mm within non-climbable zones (NCZs).

Where barriers may be sloping or stepped, the NCZ is to be maintained throughout. Where the gap between vertical members is 10 mm or less, climbable objects, including horizontal components, if located on the inside of the barrier, are permitted as a child would not be able to reach them.

  • In all instances, regardless of the NCZs, there must be no objects, steps, retaining walls or ground level changes within 500mm (50cm) of the barrier that would reduce the minimum height of the barrier as required on that side.
  • Perforated materials/mesh with apertures greater than 100mm (10cm) shall not be used during construction of the pool safety barrier.
  • When made of mesh, then the pool safety fencing must include a strainer wire or rail at the top and the bottom of the fencing.
  • When made of solid materials (i.e. not perforated or mesh), then the pool safety fence must be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high at any given point.
  • If the apertures in the perforated materials/mesh are not greater than 13mm (1.3cm), then the fence shall be at least 1200mm (1.2m) high.
  • If the apertures in the perforated materials/mesh are greater than 13mm (1.3cm) but not greater than 100mm (i.e. not allowed – see above), then the pool safety barrier shall be at least 1800mm (1.8m) high.
  • The pool safety fence must either be vertical or leaning away from the pool, but leaning not by more than a 15 degrees angle.
  • Gaps between the bottom of the fence or gate (when closed) and finished ground level (i.e. a permanent, stable surface) may not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any given point.
  • To prevent young children from using the members on the pool safety fence as climbing steps/aids, horizontal support members on the pool fencing are not allowed in the Non-Climable Zone (NCZ).
  • Any horizontal surfaces permanently located near the inside of the pool safety fencing, and which can be used by young children for climbing, must be separated from the fencing by a distance of at least 300mm (30cm).
  • The spacing between adjacent vertical members –e.g. palings, rods or wires- must not exceed 100mm (10cm) at any point. 

Boundary fences that form part of the pool area

Boundary fences are the ones between your own property and the neighbour/property next door.

  • Boundary fences that form part of the pool area must have a minimum height of 1800mm (1.8m).
  • Only with boundary fences, is the Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) actually allowed to be on the inside of the fence, i.e. in the pool area.

 

BUT, the NCZ must be located at the top on the inside of the fencing to discourage a young child from easily accessing the pool area from the adjoining property by climbing down the boundary fence and onto the pool area. 

Gates and latches

  • Pool gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • Pool gates must open/swing away from the pool and into the safe zone.
  • When latches are on the outside of the gate, then they must be at least 1500mm (1.5m) above finished ground level. Also, at least 1400mm (1.4m) above the nearest horizontal member.
  • If the latch is on the inside of the gate, then the latch must be in such a position that to release the latching device from the outside it will be necessary to reach over or through the fencing at a height of not less than 1200mm (1.2m) above the finished ground level or not less than 1000mm (1m) above the highest horizontal member.

Also, the latching device must be at least 150mm (15cm) below the top of the gate if a hand-hole is not provided, or at least 150mm (15cm) below the edge of any hand-hole opening if a hand-hole is provided.

Unique situations

  • Often, unique or out-of-the-ordinary situations represent themselves, which complicate the interpretation and application of the regulations.

This Standard (AS 1926.2 – 2007) refers to many such cases in detail.

There may even be such cases in your own pool safety area or its immediate surrounds!

Examples are, sloping ground, stepped ground, ornamental brickwork, ornamental stonework, other projections/indentations, retaining walls, existing barriers, lakes/canals/rivers, openable windows onto the pool area, openable doors on the pool area, balconies over the pool area and above-ground pools.

To ensure full pool safety fence compliance in Western Australia (WA) –also in the “more complicated situations” – it is recommended that you always reach out to a registered pool safety professional.

CPR Signage

CPR is an acronym for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, a vital first-responder activity in the case of an accident or medical emergency.

In some states the law requires that you have a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign displayed near your pool, i.e. on the pool fencing and gate.

Even if not stipulated by law in your region, it is still highly recommended that you display the CPR signage.

The sign must be in good condition and able to be read easily from 3 metres.

You can buy a CPR sign from your local pool shop, council or community organisations such as St John Ambulance, the Australian Red Cross or Royal Life Saving.

References

Swimming Pool & Spa Association Australia (SPASA) – Australian Pool Fencing Rules – An Overview
Government of WA – Rules for pools and spas
Government of WA – Dept. of Commerce – Building Commission

 

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