This article was written in September 2021 and may not contain updated information about the pool fencing regulations within your local State or Territory. To find out the most up to date information and if your pool area is compliant, please contact your local authorised licensed pool dealer or local government council.
Planning for your new pool area is extremely exciting, however, one important safety and design aspect to consider is pool fencing. Under Australian law, every swimming pool within every State and Territory must have an adequate barrier to prevent and restrict unsupervised children from gaining access to the swimming pool area. Ensuring your fence meets the strict safety requirements doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on aesthetics. These days there are many different pool fencing design options available to suit every backyard design dream, budget and most importantly the safety requirements.
Australian Pool Fencing Regulations
Within Australia it is a legal requirement that every pool has a pool safety barrier around its pool area. The Australian Standard AS1926.1-2012 – Safety Barriers for Swimming Pools outlines regulations and safety standards for pool fencing. Most States and Territories use the Australian Standard for their own pool safety barrier regulations; however, some have modifications and multiple standards in place that pool owners must adhere to. In some areas the pool regulations differ depending on the year the pool was installed. Due to all these differences it is important to contact your local council or professional pool builder to find out what regulations are in your local area.
Generally speaking within Australia all pool fencing must be at least 1.2m high with gaps no greater than 100mm, and it is legally the responsibility of the pool owner to maintain the pool fence ensuring that it is legally compliant with local standards at all times. Below is a general pool safety checklist that does not factor in the local pool barrier regulations of your area. To find out if your pool is legally compliant with the law, please contact your local council.
Home Pool Safety Fence and Gate Reminder Checklist
Please note: The following home ‘self-assessment’ pool safety checklist is for general educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for a professional assessment of your pool’s compliance with the law. Please contact your local council for more information.
Swimming Pool Fencing Checklist
|Are all your fence panels in place and securely attached?||Yes||No- Replace and secure fence panels|
|Have you checked for any holes or gaps in your fence?||Yes||No- Check and repair the fence|
|Have you checked for rusted, loose or missing screws?||Yes||No- Check and replace|
|Have you checked your pool fence meets the local standards and is compliant with the regulations?||Yes||No- Request a pool safety fence inspection|
|Does your pool fence have a CPR sign clearly displayed?||Yes||No- Purchase a factually correct CPR sign and display it|
Swimming Pool Gate Checklist
|Does your pool gate open outwards?||Yes||No- Get it fixed|
|Does your gate self-latch & self- close (swing back to a closed position once open)?||Yes||No- Replace/ fix hinges and/or latches|
|Does the gate remain securely latched and does not open when pulled on?||Yes||No- Fix or replace latch|
|Is the gate secure and does not open if a child jumps on the bottom railing of the gate?||Yes||No- Fix or replace latch|
|Are you aware that it is illegal in some states and territories to prop open your pool gate?||Yes||No- Never prop open your pool gate!|
|Have you checked that your gate is legally compliant with the local laws?||Yes||No- Get it checked by a professional|
Landscape Surrounding Pool Fence Check List
|Have you removed objects that can be climbed on away from the pool fence? I.e. Chairs, ladders, trees, BBQ's, pot plants||Yes||No- Remove and store objects away from the pool fence|
|Have you ensured that any plants, trees, bushes etc. near the pool fence have been trimmed or removed, so as they cannot be climbed on?||Yes||No- Trim or remove plants close to the pool fence|
For more information, please refer to SPASA Australia’s Australian Pool Fencing Rules- An Overview
The Laws and Regulations for each State and Territory
Please note, the following State and Territory laws and regulations for pool barrier safety outlined below do not go into specific detail. To find out more about the exact local laws and regulations within your area please contact your local authorised licensed pool dealer or local council. The following should also not be used on its own to determine if your pool is compliant with the law.
QLD Pool Fencing / Barrier Laws
All Queensland (QLD) pools and spas need to be fenced with swimming pool barriers that adhere to the local standard. The standard outlines that pool fencing must be at least 1.2m high, have gaps no greater than 100mm and have no climbable zones within 900mm of the fence. A climbable zone is any area of the swimming pool barrier that is able to be climbed due to an object that is placed beside it. This means that any objects, such as trees, ladders, pot plants etc. must be removed if they are within 900mm of the fence. All QLD swimming pools must also be registered on the QLD pool safety register. The pool safety register keeps a record of all registered pools within QLD, the pool safety certificates issued and a list of licensed pool safety inspectors within the State. If you don’t register your pool with the QLD pool safety register, you risk being fined.
To check if your pool is compliant with the local regulations, please contact your local government council.
NSW Pool Fencing / Barrier Laws
Pool barriers within New South Wales (NSW) must adhere to the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and the Australian Standard 1926 (AS1926). Both these documents have been updated several times and as a result, the regulations for backyard swimming pools within NSW applies differently to each pool depending on the year of installation. For example, a pool built or altered in the 1970’s within NSW will have different regulations to a pool built or altered in NSW in 2021. Check with your local council to find out about the regulations your pool must comply with. Residential properties with swimming pools or any structure capable of holding water greater than 300mm (such as paddling pools) must be fenced with a legally compliant fence that is at least 1.2m high with gaps no greater than 100mm. All swimming pools within NSW must be registered with the NSW Swimming Pool Register, and it is the responsibility of each pool owner to ensure that their pool fencing is legally compliant at all times with the NSW Pool Barrier Regulations.
To find out more about the local pool regulations within your area and if your pool is compliant contact your local government council.
ACT Pool Fencing/ Barrier Laws
Within the ACT all swimming pools or pool spas must be fenced with adequate barriers that legally comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA). Generally speaking, pool fencing within this Territory must be at least 1.2m high with gaps that are no greater than 100mm. Swimming pool barriers within the ACT must also not have any objects within a 1.2m arc of the fence that could create a ‘climbable structure’. A climbable structure is any object that could be used to gain unsupervised access to the swimming pool and would reduce the safety aspect of the pool fence. In other words, you need to make sure that there are no objects, such as trees, BBQs, chairs etc. placed near or on the pool fence that could be climbed on and used to gain access to the pool area while unsupervised.
To find out if your swimming pool fence is legally compliant with the ACT Pool Barrier laws, please contact your local government council.
VIC Pool Fencing / Barrier Laws
Within Victoria it is the obligation of every pool and spa owner to ensure that their pool barrier is maintained correctly and always adheres to the local fencing safety standards. The pool barrier must have a self-latching and self-closing gate and must comply with the AS1926.1-2012 standard. From the 1 December 2019, new laws were introduced within Victoria to improve swimming pool and spa safety. This includes laws that state all pools must be registered with their local council, as well as introducing new laws around inspection and certification requirements for property owners.
For more information and to see if your pool is compliant with the local Victorian pool fencing regulations, please contact your local government council.
TAS Pool Fencing / Barrier Laws
Pools and spas within Tasmania need to comply with the Australian Standard 1926.1 & 2. This standard outlines the ‘rules’ that swimming pool fencing must adhere to. Fences must be at least 1.2m high, have a gap under the fence no greater than 100mm from the ground, and the vertical bars must be closer than 100mm apart. Tasmanian pool fencing must also have a self-latching and self-closing gate, and must be properly maintained at all times by the pool owner.
To find out if your pool is legally compliant with local laws, contact your local government council.
NT Pool Fencing / Barrier Laws
Within the Northern Territory (NT) there are two pool fencing safety standards: the Modified Australian Standard and the Community Australian Standard. The safety standard that your pool must comply with generally depends on what year your pool was installed. For more information, please contact your local city council.
SA Pool Fencing / Barrier Laws
Generally speaking South Australian (SA) pools and spas must adhere to the following pool fencing safety rules:
- The pool fencing must be a permanent effective barrier for children entering the pool area
- It must not have gaps below the fence that could allow children to climb under
- It must not be able to be climbed over by children through the use of foot or hand holds
- It must be at least 1.2 m high
- Any boundary fences used as part of the pool safety barrier must be at least 1.8m high on the side that faces the pool
- Gates to the pool fence must be self-closing, self-latching from any position and swing outward from the pool area. The self-latching device must be placed at least 1.5m above ground level.
To find out if your pool is legally compliant with the local regulations, contact your local government council.
WA Pool Fencing / Barrier Laws
In Western Australia (WA), the Building Regulations 2012 requires any private pool or spa (deeper than 300mm) to be fenced with an adequate, legally compliant safety barrier that restricts unsupervised children’s access to the pool.
There are currently two sets of safety barrier requirements within WA. The requirement your swimming pool must adhere to depends on the year your private swimming pool was installed, or the year the plans for installation of your pool were submitted to the permit authority for approval. These two requirements apply for pools installed (or permits submitted) before/ or after the 1st May 2016.
To find out if your pool is compliant with the local regulations, contact your local government council.
Different Types of Pool Fencing Options
After safety the next most important aspect to consider when designing your new pool area, is the type of pool fencing that would suit your backyard design dreams. These days there are many different styles that suit a variety of different budgets, design choices and installation sites. Below, we will explore the most popular options available on the market at this time.
Glass fencing is one of the most popular and frequently asked about pool fencing options. Part of its popularity comes down to its aesthetically beautiful and seamless appearance that does not ‘take away’ from the overall design of your backyard pool area by being too ‘in your face’. The only downsides to glass fencing are that it can easily show smudge marks, fingerprints, or the white marks left from salt residue. Another thing to be conscious about with glass fencing is the risk of birds flying into it and decreased air flow within the pool area due to the enclosed nature of this barrier option. That may seem like a lot of negatives, but the overall seamless look of glass fencing cannot be beaten and undeniably adds visual value to any backyard design. Glass fencing comes in two different styles: frameless and semi frameless.
Frameless Glass Fencing
Frameless glass fencing has no frames or metal ‘posts’ between each pane of glass and is instead held together by small metal pegs located at the bottom of the fence. This type of glass fencing is excellent if you want to showcase your landscaping designs by using a pool barrier that seamlessly blends into you pool space. Keep in mind that frameless glass fencing is more expensive than semi-frameless glass fencing, to find out more please contact your local pool builder.
Semi-Frameless Glass Fencing
Semi-frameless glass fencing has metal fence posts between each sheet of glass. The overall effect is still visually seamless; however, the posts make the fence slightly more visible than the frameless option. If you are concerned about the possibility of birds, pets or loved ones accidentally colliding with your pool barrier due to its ability to blend into its surrounds, then semi frameless is perfect as it still creates a visually seamless look but is slightly more noticeable than frameless. Semi frameless glass fencing often costs less than frameless.
Earthing Your Glass Pool Fencing
Keep in mind that glass fencing within 1.25m of your swimming pool needs to be earthed by a qualified electrician to ensure your pool barrier doesn’t become an electrical conductor for any electrical current flowing within the ground. This is important, as water and electricity do not mix and by earthing the metal pegs within your fencing, you stop the risk of electrocution from happening when water comes into contact with your pool barrier. These days you can sometimes choose to install your glass fencing with composite spigots instead of the metal pegs. Composite spigots do not need to be earthed as they are not metal, but the downside of them is that they are not stainless steel.
The cost of glass fencing differs in price but ranges anywhere from $350m to $600m. To find out more about the glass fencing options for your pool area, please contact your local pool dealer.
Aluminium fencing is an affordable, popular pool fencing option that meets the safety standards in Australia. It is available in many different colours to suit most backyard design spaces and is very low maintenance in terms of cleaning. Aluminium fencing is highly practical but perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing or as popular as the glass options. This type of pool fencing does however allow for great air flow within the pool area and costs between $160 per m and $200 per m.
Pool Perforated Fencing
Pool perforated fencing is one of the newest design options available for installation within pool areas in Australia. This type of fencing is made out of aluminium, is highly customisable and available in many different design options including see through and patterned. Pool perforated fencing can be customised to include shapes and ‘see through’ sections within the design unlike traditional aluminium fencing which can only be customised in terms of block colour. This type of fencing is more expensive than traditional aluminium fencing options but does allow for more customisation. The average cost of pool perforated fencing is between $365m2 – $800m2
Mix and Match
There are no limits to the design options available for your backyard design dreams as you can mix and match any legally compliant pool fence to your heart’s content. This means if you want one section glass and another aluminium, you are more than welcome to do so. If you are looking for ideas on how to create and plan your new perfect pool area, contact your local pool dealer.
Temporary Pool Fencing
It is important to note that in most States and Territories within Australia, it is compulsory to fence your pool (whether construction is complete or not) as soon as the structure (e.g. pool shell) is capable of holding 300mm of water or more. During this stage of construction, temporary pool fencing options can be hired or purchased. These options range in price, but to find out more, please contact your local pool installer.
For More Information
SPASA Australian Pool Fencing Rules: An Overview https://www.spasa.com.au/consumer-info/fencing-laws