Council administers the Swimming Pools Act and Regulations in the Wollongong Local Government Area (LGA).
This means that Council must:
- Ensure it is notified of all swimming pools in the LGA
- Have a swimming pool inspection program to assist in ensuring owner compliance
- Investigate safety concerns and complaints.
A pool structure that is capable of being filled with 300mm of water or more and is used for swimming and other water activities must be registered on the NSW Pool Register. This includes:
- Concrete and fibreglass swimming pools
- Inflatable swimming pools
- Temporary or wading pools
- Above ground pools and spas.
Pools must be surrounded at all times by a child resistant barrier that separates the swimming pool from any residential building and from any adjoining public or private properties. Barriers and gates must remain in good repair and working condition. Non compliance can result in penalties.
Internal fence and gate
Pool fencing (and gates) need to be a minimum height of 1.2 metres above ground level with the height measured from outside the pool area.
Pool Boundary fence
Where a boundary fence is used as a barrier restricting access to a pool, it needs to be a minimum 1800mm with the height measured from inside the pool area.
Costs for dividing fence when used as a pool barrier
The expense of constructing, altering, repairing, replacing or maintaining a dividing fence that is used as a pool barrier is at the cost of the pool owner.
In cases where a pool is situated on more than one property that shares a dividing fence that is used as a pool barrier, the cost is shared by each pool owner.
Gaps in pool fences or gates must be no greater than 100mm.
Non climable zone
- A non climbable zone is an area on a barrier, or in the space adjacent to a barrier, that is to restrict climbing of the barrier by young children.
- The non climbable zone extends 900mm within, outside and above the fence and gate barrier.
- For barriers with openings greater than 10mm, the non climbable zone also extends 300mm inside the barrier.
- For boundary fences used as a barrier the non climbable zone is located on the inside (pool side) and extends 900mm from the top and outwards from the barrier.
- Landscaping, decks, retaining walls, steps, associated lighting and other fixtures or furniture are not to intrude into the non-climbable zone.
Features and objects near a barrier
To maintain the required height of a barrier steps, retaining wall, level changes are to be 500mm from the barrier.
Warning notice / resuscitation chart
Pools must have a warning notice with resuscitation chart in a prominent place in the immediate vicinity of the pool (facing the pool and not within any landscaped area). The notice must be legible from 3 metres away and well maintained.
Gates and other means of access to the pool are the most common failure for young children to gain access to the pool.
- Gates must be self-closing and self-latching, and closed at all times.
- Gates to open outwards from the pool area.
- The latch release needs to be positioned a minimum 1.5 metres above ground level.
- Where the latch release is less than 1.5 metres above ground level, a shield is to be used with the latch positioned on the pool side a minimum 150mm from the top of the gate. The shield makes it necessary to reach over the gate to reach the latch release mechanism. This internal latch is often used with solid glass panels.
- Gate width is to be kept to a minimum (no more than 1 metre). The wider the gate, the more weight that is applied which can result in failure of the latching mechanism.
Manufactured pool gate units
Pool gates are required to be supplied with maintenance instructions, including any special requirements for maintaining the latching mechanism and hinges. Each gate unit should be clearly and permanently marked on at least one of the gate posts or on the gate or on some other component of the gate unit with the registered trademark or the name and address of the manufacturer.
Demountable, portable and baby pools
- Standard barriers rules apply if these pools are capable of being filled to a depth greater than 300mm.
- For pools less than 300mm in height always empty the pool immediately after use and pack it away where it cannot collect rainwater.
- Spa pools are required to be surrounded by a child resistant barrier the same as a pool OR a child resistant lid that is secured to the spa can be used.
- It is to be kept locked in place when the spa is not in use.
- This does not apply to a spa pool that contains other uses such as a swim spa or plunge pool spa.
- Means of access to an indoor pool must always restrict the entry of young children.
- Any other use within the indoor area such a gym, entertaining etc, are to be separated from the indoor pool component of the area by a suitable child resistant barrier and gate.
Access to an indoor pool is to comply with the following:
- Doors must be closed at all times when not in use to ensure restricted access for children.
- Child resistant windows must be installed. This is usually achieved by the placement of security mesh or grill permanently fixed over the opening of the window.
- Where the indoor area is separated into pool area and non pool activity area, the requirements for fences and gates stated above applies.
Child resistant doors:
- The door is to be side hung door forming part of a barrier for an indoor pool.
- The door must be self-closing and self latching.
- The door must open outwards from the pool area.
- The door knob/latch release must be located on the outside face of the door and be a minimum of 1.5 metres above the floor.
- A non climbable zone of 900mm applies to the outside face of the door. This zone is to be positioned no more than 1200mm above the floor.
- No pet flap or openings are permitted within the door.
- The door release must be a manual operation to ensure any power failure does not render the door openable.
- The door width must be a minimum of 1 metre to ensure durability to the self latching operation.
- It is recommended that a glass viewing insert be provided within the door to enable viewing into the pool area and for safety when the door is being opened.
Westmead Hospital Video 'NSW Study of Drowning and Near Drowning in Children'
Page last updated:
WOLLONGONG CITY COUNCIL
Wollongong City Council, 41 Burelli Street,
Wollongong NSW 2500 ▪ Postal:
Locked Bag 8821
Wollongong DC NSW 2500
(02) 4227 7111 ▪ Fax:
(02) 4227 7277 ▪ Email:
63 139 525 939 – GST Registered