If you have a backyard swimming pool or spa, or are having a pool or spa installed in your backyard, each Australian state and territory has its own regulations which your fencing contractors should be familiar with. In this article we'll outline some of the key pool safety points as highlighted by the government of each Australian state or territory.
New South Wales
In New South Wales, the Swimming Pools Act 1992 requires all swimming pools have a child-resistant barrier or fence that restricts access between the residence and the pool. The outside of the pool fence must be 1.2m high all the way round, with a gap between the bottom of the fence and the ground of less than 10cm. All vertical palings should be less than 10cm apart, and should also be 1.2m clear of any climbing aids such as BBQs, trees and rocks. The gate must be self-closing from any position and should only open outwards, away from the pool. Note that most of these regulations apply in all states, so we may repeat some of them later in this article.
In the Northern Territory, a swimming pool is defined as an excavation, structure or vessel that is capable of being filled with water to a depth of 30cm or more at its deepest point, and which is used principally for swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity. Any new pool owners need to apply to the Water Safety unit for an Interim Compliance Certificate, and a fence must be installed of no less than 1.2 metres high from ground level.
In Queensland, a pool safety register has been created which includes records of all pools in Queensland, copies of pool safety certificates and a list of licensed pool safety inspectors. All local governments are slowly migrating their records to this register as we speak. All pools must comply with standard pool fencing regulations, and pool safety inspections will be conducted whenever a property with a pool is being leased or sold.
In South Australia, all swimming pools must have a "continuous safety barrier" that is maintained by the pool owner. The fence can be no less than 1.2 metres high, while boundary fences that form part of the barrier (eg. where neighbouring Colorbond fences are concerned) should be no less than 1.8 metres high. Additionally, pool gates may only swing outward from the pool area and should be self-closing from any position. They must also be fitted with a latching device which is out of reach of small children.
In Tasmania, you are required to obtain a building permit from your local council in order to install a swimming pool, either above ground or below ground, that is greater than 9 metres (squared surface area) and where water depth is greater than 300 millimetres. Additionally, safety fencing must be installed in accordance with the Building Code of Australian Standard 1926.1 -- Swimming Pool Safety.
In Victoria, you are required to have a safety barrier for all swimming pool or spa areas that possess a depth greater than 30cm. Furthermore, the barrier must be completed within six months of building work commencing on the pool. All gates must have a self-closing, self-latching device. If pool or spa owners do not comply with these regulations, they face fines of up to $5,000.
In Western Australia, the Local Government Act 1960 and Building Regulations 1989 requires that a barrier or fence should inclose pools of a depth of 300mm or more. A maximum penalty of $5,000 may apply to those who do not comply with these regulations.