• Home
  • Online Customer Service Centre
x

Swimming Pools

Please don't wait - shut that gate

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.

Don't be a fool - fence that pool



Swimming and Spa Pool FAQs


Below you will find the answers to the most common questions about pool owner responsibilities under the Swimming Pool Act 1992 (the Act).



What constitutes a swimming pool?


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.


This includes: 


  • Concrete Swimming Pools
  • Fibreglass Swimming Pools 
  • Inflatable Swimming Pools
  • Temporary or Wading Pools 
  • Above Ground Pools and Spas



Do I need to register my pool?


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: 


https://www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au



Do I need approval to construct a swimming pool?


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:


  • be protected by a child resistant barrier
  • be registered on NSW swimming pool register
  • have a resuscitation sign
  • comply with the requirements of the Building Code of Australia and the Swimming Pool Act 1992.


See https://www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/application-forms for applicable forms. 



Do I need to fence my pool while it is under construction?


Swimming Pools under construction that have the means to hold water to depth greater than 300mm are required to have:


  • A temporary child resistant barrier that complies with the requirements of the Building Code of Australia and the Swimming Pool Act 1992;
  • The temporary fence must be secured in a way that it cannot be removed without the use of a tool (screwdriver, spanner, wrench, shovel, cutting implement or the like);
  • The temporary fence must include a self-closing operating pool gate that opens away from the pool enclosure;
  • Display a sign in a prominent position in the immediate vicinity of the swimming pool that says “This swimming pool is not to be occupied or used until a Relevant Occupation Certificate is issued”. 


Signs are available for purchase from Council.



Do I need to provide a child-resistant barrier around my pool?


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.



Does my spa pool need approval?


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:


  • be for residential uses only, and
  • be located in the rear yard, and
  • be located at least 1m from each lot boundary, and
  • not exceed 2,000 L in capacity, and
  • not require structural work for installation, and
  • not impact on the structural stability of any building.


A child-resistant barrier must be constructed or installed in accordance with the requirements of the Swimming Pools Act 1992.


For further information visit: 

https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/EPI/2008/572/part2/div1/subDiv30



Does my spa pool/ swim spa need a safety barrier?


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.



Does my fish pond need a child-resistant barrier?


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:


  • not have a water depth of more than 300mm, and
  • not have a surface area of more than 10m2, and
  • if it is constructed or installed in a heritage conservation area or a draft heritage conservation area—be located in the rear yard.
  • a pond sump may be placed in a water feature or pond below a water depth of 300mm if the sump is covered with a bolted or anchored grate that is capable of supporting a weight of 150kg.


For further information visit:  https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/EPI/2008/572/part2/div1/subDiv40



Does my Dam need a child-resistant barrier?


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.



Can I erect a temporary portable pool?


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.


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.


  • However children can still drown in these pools so ensure adult  supervision at all times.
  • Empty the pool and store away from young children when not in use.


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:


  • Must be protected by a child resistant barrier,
  • Must be registered on NSW swimming pool register,
  • Must have a resuscitation sign, and
  • Council development approval is not required. 
  • Self-assessment checklist is available on NSW swimming pool register.


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:


  • Must be protected by a child resistant barrier,
  • Must be registered on NSW swimming pool register,
  • Must have a resuscitation sign,
  • Council development approval is required, and
  • Must comply with the requirements of the Building Code of Australia and Relevant Australian Standards.


Do I need a Compliance Certificate when selling a house with a pool? 


If you are selling a house with a pool, your contract for the sale of land must have one of the following attached: 


  • A Certificate of Compliance, or
  • A Certificate of Non-Compliance, or
  • A Relevant Occupation Certificate and a Certificate of Registration


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: 

https://www.olg.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/Factsheet%2016_01%20-%20Information%20for%20sellers_1.pdf 


Further information for buyers: 

https://www.olg.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/Factsheet%2016_02%20-%20Information%20for%20buyers_1.pdf



Should my rental property have a compliance certificate for the pool or spa?


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 



My hotel/ motel has a pool, does it need a compliance certificate?


The Swimming Pool Act 1992 stipulates that local authority being Council shall inspect pools associated with tourist and visitor accommodation, and multi-occupancy developments at a maximum of three year intervals. These premises include: 


  • Backpacker’s accommodation
  • Bed and Breakfast accommodation
  • Farm stay accommodation
  • Hotel or Motel accommodation
  • Serviced apartments


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:

https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/1992/49/part2/div5/sec22b



How do I apply for a compliance certificate?


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.



How much does a compliance certificate cost?


Please see our Fees and Charges


The Act provides that Council may charge a fee for an inspection conducted by an authorised officer.



What Australian Swimming Pool standard does my barrier get accessed under?


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:


  • 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.


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.



Do I need to upgrade my swimming pool to the latest Australian standards?


Council may require the upgrading of a swimming pool barrier, including those which had previously complied with an earlier standard where:


  1. illegal or non-complying works have been undertaken, or
  2. additional structures have been constructed, or
  3. there have been changes to the configuration of the pool area, or
  4. the swimming pool fence has been removed or relocated, or
  5. doors or windows have been replaced, or
  6. latches or locks have been installed, or
  7. any devices/mechanisms which had previously formed part of a barrier have been removed or replaced, or no longer comply, or
  8. Council is satisfied that the barrier did not comply with the previous standard.
  9. Or the alike.


See: https://www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au/checklists


 

Download the Certificate of Compliance (Swimming Pools) Application Form


Exemption


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:
 

  • the physical nature of the premises; or
  • the design or construction of the swimming pool; or
  • special circumstances of a kind recognised by the regulations as justifying the granting of an exemption, and

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.


Download the Exemption from Swimming Pool Barrier Requirements Application Form.



Where does my pool barrier need to be located?


The Swimming Pool Act 1992 stipulates that an owner may decide where the required child – resistance Barrier is to be located, however:


  • The fence must separate the pool from any residential building on the premises.
  • The distance of the swimming pool barrier to the edge of the water is to be a minimum distance of 1metre to discourage diving and jumping from the barrier into the pool, a distance of 1metre enables adult supervision from anywhere within the pool enclosure and also leaves an area if resuscitation needs to be performed.
  • The type of barrier and location of the swimming pool within the property should permit viewing through or over the barrier so that the pool area may be directly viewed from commonly used areas of the building or yard.
  • 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.


Southern Highlands Pool Safety


Can I use my house as a barrier?


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.



Can the wall of my pool be used as a barrier?


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.



What structures are permitted inside a pool enclosure?


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:


  • BBQs
  • Clothes lines
  • Saunas
  • Gymnasiums
  • Wet Bars
  • Food preparation and consumption areas
  • Digital entertainment (i.e. Television or the like)
  • Animal/Pet enclosures
  • Garden/tool sheds
  • Garages

All residential building situated on the premises and from any place (whether public or private) adjoining the premises are to be are to be situated outside of the swimming pool enclosure. Only structures that are wholly ancillary to the swimming pool
are to be permitted inside the swimming pool enclosure, including:


  • Shade structures
  • Chairs
  • Pool filtration plants
  • Pool equipment sheds
  • Diving board or slides
  • Flag poles
  • Change rooms and toilet facilities



Can I plant vegetation around my Pool Barrier?


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.



Can Council inspect my Pool at any time?


Your pool fence can be inspected at any time by Council.  


Click here for further information on our proactive swimming pool barrier inspection programme. 



Does my pool safety barrier need to be installed by a registered installer?


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.



CPR Signage?


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. 


A guide to CPR



A few key pool barrier measurements and non-climbable zones


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:


  • Internal barriers must be at least 1.2m/ 1200mm high (as measured from the finished ground level on the outside of the pool area). 
  • If a boundary fence is part of the pool fence, the barrier must be 1.8m/ 1800mm high (as measured from the finished ground level on the inside of the pool area). 
  • Not leave a gap at the bottom bigger than 10cm/100mm from the finished ground level.
  • Not have gaps of more than 10cm/100mm between any vertical bars in the fence.
  • Perforated or mesh barriers must not have apertures greater than 13mm.
  • The pool fence must be well maintained and in good working order.
  • If containing horizontal climbable bars, have these spaced at least 90cm/900mm apart.
  • Maintain a 90cm/900mm non-climbable zone on the outside of the internal barrier, (this is measured on an arc down from the top).  

    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.

  • Maintain a 90cm/ 900mm non-climbable zone on the inside of the boundary barrier, (this is measured from on an arc down from the top). The inside of the boundary fence must be a smooth faced type. There must not be lattice work, mesh or any other perforated materials with apertures greater than 13mm used inside this non climbable zone. 
  • Maintain a 30cm/ 300mm non-climbable zone on the inside of the internal barrier. 


Boundary Barrier 1800mm Non-Climbable Zones

Boundary Barrier 1800mm Non-Climbable Zones

Internal Barrier 1200mm Non-Climbable Zones

Internal Barrier 1200mm Non-Climbable Zones


Gate closing and latching devices


Check to ensure that your pool gate:


  • Latching Device located at a min of 1500mm from adjacent ground level
  • is never propped open and is always kept shut
  • swings outwards (away from the pool area). If it does not swing outwards, the gate must be re-hung so that it does.
  • shuts automatically from any open position, without having to forcibly close it.
  • automatically locks (self-latches) when it closes.
  • Where a latching device is located less than 1500mm then the Latching Device is not to be located on outside of the fence and the latch and its release will be located at least 150mm below the top edge of the inside of the gate and have a shield fitted of at least 450mm radius centred around the Latch.



Windows in pool barriers


If you have windows that form part of a pool barrier, they must have:


  • a locking device or a security screen fixed to the building that prevents them from opening more than 10cm/100mm.


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.



Pool Fence & Gate – Maintenance


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: 


  • Regularly check gate operates as intended.
  • Regularly check and adjust Latching Device as needed.
  • Regularly check fencing panels for correct gaps, rust and wear and tear.
  • Regularly check all fence bolts are tight and in good order.
  • Consumers should be encouraged to seek the advice and/or services of a Licensed Pool Technician, Builder or Fencing Contractor.


Don't be a fool fence that pool


Where can I obtain further information?


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:


  • AS 1926—1986, Fences and gates for private swimming pools as published by Standards Australia on 4 August 1986,
  • AS 1926.1—2007,
  • AS 1926.1—2012, Swimming pool safety, Part 1: Safety barriers for swimming pools as published by Standards Australia on 6 November 2012, including any subsequent editions,
  • AS 1926.2—2007, Swimming pool safety, Part 2: Location of safety barriers for swimming pools as published by Standards Australia on 12 July 2007, including any subsequent editions.

See the following for further information:


Please don't wait shut that gate

Last Updated: November 13th, 2019
Can’t Find It?