is your pool compliant?

Without a pool that complies the risks are high should a drowning or submersion injury occur in your pool. It’s bad enough dealing with the loss of a life, imagine being left with a harrowing law suit if your pool is found to be non- compliant with the standards. It’s not worth the risk of a life or law suit when you can have your pool inspected.

Pool fences and safety barriers

If you have a pool, it must have a safety barrier. The barrier must be well maintained at all times.

Maintenance of pool fences and safety barriers is essential to stop children drowning or being seriously injured.

If your pool fence or barrier is damaged, you must repair it immediately.

From 30 November 2015, all pool fences and barriers must comply with current pool safety laws.

Why do barriers fail?

Pool fences and safety barriers commonly fail because:

  • the gates are not self-closing and self-latching from all points
  • the height of the pool safety barrier is less than 1200mm—ground levels and garden beds can rise over time, reducing the height of the pool barrier
  • the adjoining boundary fences have climbable rails
  • the windows opening into the pool area can be opened by more than 100mm
  • there are climbable objects near the pool safety barrier.

Make your pool barrier compliant

There are some easy fixes to help ensure your pool safety barrier or fence complies:

  • replace, tighten or adjust the hinges on your gates
  • make sure the pool safety barrier height is at least 1200mm from bottom to top
  • trim back any vegetation or branches that a child could use to climb over the pool safety barrier
  • shield or remove climbable objects within 900mm of the pool safety barrier
  • install fixed security screens on windows that open into the pool enclosure
  • remove climbable objects from the pool safety barrier and surrounding areas.

Replacing damaged or missing parts of a fence or barrier

If part of a pool fence or barrier is damaged, or missing, you must replace it.

If a small part of the safety barrier is damaged (e.g. where palings, hinges or latches need to be replaced) the barrier may be repaired (to the same standard as the existing pool safety barrier)—unless you are selling or leasing the property (in this case, the barrier must comply with the current standard).

Some pool safety inspectors are licensed to perform minor repair work.

Safety barriers

New safety barriers must comply with the current standard.

You do not need a building development approval for a new barrier for an existing pool where:

  • the pool safety standard is the only assessable standard applicable to the work; and
  • the fence is
    • not higher than 2m above ground level
      or
    • if built on a retaining wall or other structure, is not higher than 2m above the wall or structure, and no part of the fence that is higher than 2m above ground level is within 1.5m of a boundary; 
  • to be exempt from obtaining a building development approval, the pool barrier must be inspected by a pool safety inspector for compliance with the pool safety standard.

If the current barrier is not compliant, you must obtain a nonconformity notice from a licensed pool safety inspector before starting work on the new barrier. The new barrier must be re-inspected by the same inspector within three months.

If the current barrier is compliant, you do not need an inspection before starting work but, before starting work, you must arrange for a licensed pool safety inspector to inspect it within three months after starting work. 

These requirements ensure that work done without a building development approval is inspected for compliance with the pool safety standard. 

Responsibilities

Owners of swimming pools

The pool owner is generally the owner of the land. If this is you, you must ensure that your pool safety barrier is compliant.

Tenants renting property with a swimming pool

If you’re renting a property, you must keep the pool gate closed, and make sure that there are no objects near the pool area that would allow children to access the pool.

If you’re renting and you buy a pool or spa, you must ensure that it has a compliant pool safety barrier (if needed by law).