Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in young children in NSW and is a serious issue that affects the whole community.
As a pool owner you are responsible for ensuring your pool is enclosed and access to it by children is restricted at all times. You are also responsible for ensuring that your pool barrier complies with relevant Australian standards.
Below you will find the answers to the most common questions about pool owner responsibilities and also what to do when selling or leasing a property that has a pool, and if you have any further questions Wingecarribee Council is always available to answer any questions or give advice on Swimming Pool barrier safety.
Below you will find the answers to the most common questions about pool owner responsibilities under the Swimming Pool Act 1992 (the Act).
Swimming Pool is defined by the Act as:
an excavation, structure or vessel that is capable of being filled with water to a depth greater than 300 millimetres and that is solely or principally used, or that is designed, manufactured or adapted to be solely or principally used, for the purpose of swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity, and includes a spa pool, but does not include a spa bath, anything that is situated within a bathroom or
any declared by the swimming pool for the purposes of this Act.
Pool owners must register their pools online on the NSW Government's Swimming Pool Register. Alternatively, you can pay a fee to council to do this on your behalf.
A certificate of registration will be issued to the pool owner. Go to the NSW Government's Swimming Pool Register website to check that your pool has been registered:
A pool that is capable of holding water to a depth greater than 300mm, and is capable of holding more than 2000 litres of water must have Council approval.
It also must:
See https://www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/application-forms for applicable forms.
Swimming Pools under construction that have the means to hold water to depth greater than 300mm are required to have:
Signs are available for purchase from Council.
Yes the Swimming Pool Act 1992 stipulates that every swimming pool (both outdoor and indoor) that are situated, or proposed to be constructed or installed, on premises on which a residential building, a moveable dwelling or tourist and visitor accommodation is located requires a Compliant child-resistant barrier.
Failure to do so could result in hefty fines or even worse the loss of a life.
According to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 the development standards for portable Swimming pools and spa pools not requiring a child-resistant barrier are:
A child-resistant barrier must be constructed or installed in accordance with the requirements of the Swimming Pools Act 1992.
For further information visit:
Yes it does, if the spa is capable of holding water to a depth greater than 300mm it must be covered and secured by a lockable child-safe structure such as a door, lid, grill or mesh.
A CPR chart is also required.
According to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 the development standards for water features and ponds not requiring a child-resistant barrier are:
For further information visit: https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/EPI/2008/572/part2/div1/subDiv40
A dam is not considered to be defined as a swimming pool according to the swimming pools act 1992, therefore a dam does not require a child resistant barrier.
Is approval required to remove a pool?
The basic guide is: if you require approval to build it then you need approval to demolish it. So yes, pools require approval to be removed/demolished. Approval can be obtained from council.
A portable pool means a structure that is designed as a swimming pool but is not a permanent structure e.g. a blow up pool.
A small portable pool is a pool that is not capable of holding water to a depth greater than 300mm and is not capable of holding greater than 2000 litres of water. These pools do not require a child restraint barrier, and do not require Council development approval.
A medium portable pool is a pool that is capable of holding water to a depth greater than 300mm, but is not capable of holding more than 2000 litres of water. These pools:
A large portable pool is a pool that is capable of holding water to a depth greater than 300mm, and is capable of holding more than 2000 litres of water. These pools:
If you are selling a house with a pool, your contract for the sale of land must have one of the following attached:
If Council is requested to inspect a property for this purpose or any other relevant swimming pool barrier inspection it will do so within ten working days of the application being made, and the relevant fee being paid.
A Certificate of Compliance is valid for three years and is evidence that a swimming pool meets the requirements of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and the Swimming Pools Regulation 2018.
A Certificate of Non-Compliance is valid for one year and is evidence that a swimming pool does not meet the requirements of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and the Swimming Pools Regulation 2018.
If the pool barrier is not deemed a significant risk at the time of inspection the owner of the property may choose to sell their property with a Non-Compliance Certificate (at owner’s request). This means the new owners of the property have 90 days after settlement to ensure the pool barrier is made compliant and contact Council for an Inspection.
A Relevant Occupation Certificate is valid for three years and is issued under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and authorises the use of the swimming pool. This is issued when the pool is first built.
Further information for sellers:
Further information for buyers:
When a residential tenancy agreement is entered into for a property with a swimming pool or spa pool, the landlord or real estate agent must provide the tenant with a copy of the valid certificate of compliance or occupation certificate. A certificate of non-compliance must not be used where a residential tenancy agreement is proposed to be entered into at the property.
This requirement does not apply to a lot in a strata scheme or in a community scheme if that strata or community scheme has more than two lots.
For further information visit:https://www.olg.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/Factsheet%2016_06%20-%20Information%20for%20landlords%20and%20tenants_2.pdf
Owners of the above properties with a Swimming or Spa pool must contact Council to organise a swimming pool barrier inspection.
For further information visit:
Either come into council and fill out a swimming pool barrier application and pay the appropriate fee or download the application form and email or fax back to council and pay using credit card. Council will organise an appropriate date and time for a Council officer to come out and conduct an inspection.
Please see our Fees and Charges.
The Act provides that Council may charge a fee for an inspection conducted by an authorised officer.
The requirements for child-resistant barriers vary depending on when the pool was built and where the pool is located.
There are three different Pool Safety Standards that apply in NSW, depending on when the pool was constructed:
Any Swimming pool or Spa Pool constructed from 1 July 2010 must be surrounded by a compliant barrier that separates the Pool from the house.
Note: If the swimming pool barrier is modified, altered or rebuilt, then the current Swimming Pools Act 1992, Swimming Pools Regulation 2018 and Australian Standard AS1926.1-2012 is applied and previous exemptions cease.
A copy of the relevant standard is available for viewing at Council Civic Centre, Elizabeth St, Moss Vale.
Council may require the upgrading of a swimming pool barrier, including those which had previously complied with an earlier standard where:
Owners of a property who are proposing to construct a swimming pool may apply to Council for an exemption from any or all of the requirements of the Swimming Pool Act 1992.
For an exemption to be granted, Council must be satisfied that:
1. it is impracticable or unreasonable for the swimming pool to comply with those
requirements because of:
2. An alternative provision, no less effective than those requirements, exists
for restricting access to the swimming pool.
An exemption may be granted unconditionally or subject to any conditions Council considers appropriate to ensure that effective provision is made for restricting access to the swimming pool.
The Swimming Pool Act 1992 stipulates that an owner may decide where the required child – resistance Barrier is to be located, however:
The Swimming Pool Act 1992 stipulates that the wall contains no opening through which access may at any time be gained to the swimming pool. The wall must contain no door, window or other opening though which access may at any time is gained to the swimming pool.
The location of the swimming pool at its barrier within the property should not be a means of access to other areas on the property, when entering the swimming pool enclosure it should be for aquatic activities and supervision only.
Out-of ground pool walls (e.g. concrete) and the walls of above ground pool, including inflatable pools are not considered to be an effective barrier, there must be a separate compliant barrier on the outside these types of Pools.
Young children should be actively supervised within the pool enclosure when using a swimming pool. Therefore, structures that aren’t wholly ancillary to the swimming pool and that may result in insufficient supervision are not permitted within the pool enclosure, including:
If you’re planting vegetation around your pool barrier you must ensure that you plant the vegetation at least 90cm/900mm away from the pool barrier.
N.B. Hedges are not permitted directly on the outside of the pool barrier unless the barrier is at least 1.8m high.
Your pool fence can be inspected at any time by Council.
Click here for further information on our proactive swimming pool barrier inspection programme.
Consumers should be encouraged to seek the advice and/or services of a Licensed Pool Technician, Builder or Fencing Contractor or the like for any residential building work.
If the work costs more than $5000, the person or company doing the work must hold a NSW Builders licence.
Please contact council to organise an inspection to ensure the pool barrier has been installed to the Relevant Australian standards.
In case of an emergency the law requires that you have a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign displayed near your pool.
The sign must be in good condition and able to be read easily from 3 metres.
From 1 September 2019, new CPR signs come into effect. From this time, all new pools must use the updated signage. Owners of existing pools are not required to update their signage unless the pool is substantially altered or re-built.
Signs are available from Council.
To prevent children climbing over fencing into the pool area, the laws require pool owners to make sure they maintain a ‘non-climbable zone’ around the pool.
In NSW, a pool fence must comply with the following:
Any trees, shrubs, hedges or any other objects such as a barbeque, pot plants, toys, ladders and chairs must not be within the 90cm/900mm non climbable zone.
Boundary Barrier 1800mm Non-Climbable Zones
Internal Barrier 1200mm Non-Climbable Zones
Check to ensure that your pool gate:
If you have windows that form part of a pool barrier, they must have:
If it does not satisfy this requirement, you will need to install a locking device or security screen that reduces the gap to 10cm/100mm or less.
The owner of the premises on which a child-resistant barrier is situated must ensure that the swimming pool is at all times surrounded by a child-resistant barrier as well as keeping the child-resistant barrier maintained.
NOTE: Maintenance of the Pool Barrier includes but is not limited to the following:
Council is available to answer any questions or planning in relation to Swimming Pools either by phone or in person at council.
A copy of the following applicable Australian standards is also available for view at Council: