NSW Pool fence regulations had a huge overhaul in recent years with evidence showing that the majority of drownings in residential pools occurred in children under the age of 5. One of the key factors contributing to this was inadequate pool fencing, which led to the NSW Government issuing regulations that all pool owners must comply with.
Pool Fence Laws NSW
Depending on where you are located and when your pool was built, will depend on what measures you must put in place. There are three Pool Safety Standards that apply in NSW, which we have outlined below.
- AS 1926 – 1986, fences and gates for private swimming pools which applies to pools constructed prior to 30 August 2008*
- AS 1926.1 – 2007, swimming pool safety, Part 1 safety barriers for swimming pools which applies to pools constructed between 1 September 2008 to 30 April 2013*
- AS1926.1 – 2012, swimming pool safety, Part 1 safety barriers for swimming pools constructed after 1 May 2013*
*Source: NSW Fair Trading website
If your pool was built prior to August 1990, you must ensure that there is no access to the pool from the house, at all times. Windows and doors may form part of the barrier, but they must comply.
Between 1 August 1990 but prior to 1 July 2020, you must ensure that your pool is surrounded by a fence that separates the pool from your home. You may be eligible for an exemption based on the following:
- A property less than 230sqm
- A property over 5 acres (2 Hectares)
- A waterfront property
After 1 July 2010 all new pools must be surrounded by a fence that separates the pool from the house.
If you have an inflatable pool, you must ensure that you still comply with NSW pool fencing regulation. Depending on the pool you purchase, they will have their own independent warning labels and it is important that you’re aware of what they state.
Inflatable Pools under 300mm in height
- You must be aware of the potential of drowning, including in shallow water. You must supervise children when using these products.
- Water must be clean, water left in inflatable pools for long periods of time can become contaminated and cause illness.
- When the pool is not in use, empty the pool and store it away safely, away from young children.
Large inflatable pools 300mm or more in height
The same warning labels should be the same as the first three outlined above for smaller pools, however, in addition to this, NSW pool fencing regulations will also apply for inflatable pools that are 300mm in height or higher.
It is important to consult your local council to find out if they have any specific requirements for inflatable pools.
Spa Pools or Swim Spas
If your spa does not have a lid which can be securely fastened, which can prevent access to the spa when not in use, you must ensure that you install a fence to prevent access to the spa area.
Building a New pool?
It is important that you are aware of your responsibilities when constructing a new swimming pool. Your pool builder will also be able to assist and guide you. When construction commences, you must ensure that there is a compliant barrier if any excavation works can hold more than 300mm of water.
The responsibility of the builder finishes with the issuing of a final occupancy certificate at the completion of the construction of your swimming pool.
Fencing Requirements in NSW
A pool fence must comply with the following:
- Have a pool fence height of at least 1.2m high (as measured from the finished ground level height)
- Not leave a gap at the bottom bigger than 10cm from the finished ground level
- If a boundary fence is part of the pool fence, the barrier must be 1.8m high
- Not have gaps of more than 10cm between any vertical bars in the fence
- If containing horizontal climbable bars, have these spaced at least 90cm apart
- Perforated or mesh barriers must have holes no greater than 13mm for a pool fence height of 1.2m
- Perforated or mesh barriers of 1.8m height with holes greater than 13mm must not exceed 100mm
- The pool hence must be well maintained and in good working order
You need to ensure that there is no climbable objects where children can climb over the pool fence. This is called a ‘non-climbable zone’. It is the pool owner’s responsibility to ensure that:
any trees, shrubs, or other objects such as pot plants, chairs, ladders or BBQ’s are not within 90cm of the zone.
- The zone is measured in the shape of an arc from the top of the pool fence toward the ground.
- It also includes the space extending 30cm inside the pool area.
- Any horizontal bars on the pool fence must be spaced at least 90cm apart
Doors forming part of your pool barrier
If you have doors that form part of your pool barrier you must ensure that the door:
- Self-latches and requires a manual release
- The latching device is at least 150cm off the ground
- It has a non-climbable zone of 90cm that is at least 120cm above the ground
- It does not open toward the pool or includes any pet doors
Windows forming part of your pool barrier
You must have:
- A locking device of security screen that prevents the window being opened more than 10cm
You are required by law to ensure that you have the appropriate warning signs attached to your pool fence and gate.
- CPR Sign that is in good condition and can be easily read from 3 metres.