As a pool owner, you must make sure your pool is surrounded by child-resistant swimming pool safety barriers, such as fencing and gates.
Having a pool fence is not an optional safety measure - it's a legal requirement. You can face fines, or even court action, if you don't have safety barriers in place, or if your safety barriers are not up to standard.
As well as having the right barriers, it's important you use them correctly - never prop open a swimming pool gate.
Read the information below to understand what you need to do.
Swimming pool fence requirements
Outdoor swimming pools must be enclosed by a fence that acts as a child-resistant barrier. The fence must separate the swimming pool from any residential building/s on the property, and from any adjoining or private properties.
Your swimming pool safety barrier - including fences and gates - must be designed, constructed, installed and maintained in accordance with Australian Standard AS1926.1-2012 - Safety Barriers for Swimming Pools. This includes the following requirements:
- Internal swimming pool fencing height must be at least 1.2m high around the perimeter, measured on the outside of the building
- Boundary fence must be 1.8m high, measured from inside the swimming pool enclosure
- There must be a minimum 900mm separation between the upper and lower horizontal components of the fence to maintain a non-climbable zone
- The gap between the bottom of the fence and finished ground level must not exceed 100mm.
- The gap between each barrier component must not exceed 100mm.
- The non-climbable zone must extend 300mm from the barrier inside the swimming pool area and 500mm outside the swimming pool area with 900m clear span quadrant measured from the top of the internal isolation safety barrier.
- All swimming pool fencing must be in good condition with no broken or loose palings.
- There must be no objects, such as barbecues, furniture, planter boxes, trees or shrubs, within 900mm of the fence, which could allow a child to climb over the fence.
- Gates to the swimming pool area must open outwards and must be fully self-closing and self-latching from any open position, including from resting against the latch itself.
- An appropriate resuscitation sign must be displayed in the immediate vicinity of the swimming pool area.
This is not a complete list of requirements. Please refer to the Australian Standard for detailed legislation and requirements.
Pools located at the access point of a property or on a foreshore
Access to and from residential buildings or the waterfront must be outside the swimming pool enclosure and not through the swimming pool area.
Legislation and standards
The Swimming Pools Act 1992 (the Act) and its regulations work together with Australian Standard 1926 (AS1926) to establish the safety standards for ‘backyard’ swimming pools. Although the term 'backyard' is often used when talking about pools, the same rules apply to pools that might be in your front yard, or at other locations on your property.
The Act and Australian Standard have been updated a number of times and, as a result, apply differently at different points in time. There are provisions for older swimming pools to comply with older versions of the Standards.
You can see the current legislation using the links below:
The Australian Standard (AS1926) is a document protected by copyright and cannot be reproduced here.
Council has a Swimming Pool Safety Barrier Inspection Program to make sure backyard pools across our city are safe, and identify any issues that need to be fixed.
As a responsible pool owner, you must also regularly self-inspect your pool to make sure it's safe. See our Water Safety for Pools and Spas page for more information.
Swimming pool barrier exemptions
In exceptional cases only, Council may consider a pool to be exempt from the normal standards for safety barriers.
To learn more, see our Swimming Pool Barrier Exemptions page.
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