11 Dec Pool Safety Laws in New South Wales
Having a pool on your property may be fun and relaxing, but it also entails responsibility.
Owners must take precautions to make sure the pool area is safe. New amendments to laws published in New South Wales in 2012 focus on protecting young children from accessing the pool area.
The Office of Local Government administers these laws. The law includes inflatable, portable, above-ground and below-ground pools that can be filled with water to a depth of 300 mm.
Pool Fencing Requirements
Proper childproof fencing is required to ensure pool safety. The Swimming Pools Act 1992 in NSW requires fencing to be placed around residential pools to increase the safety of small children.
The new amendments clarify and strengthen these requirements. Under the new amendments, the pool must be separated from residential buildings, from public access and from adjoining private property.
The purpose of fencing is to prevent young children from climbing over, sliding under or squeezing through gaps in a fence. The following clearances are required:
• The fence must measured least 1.2 metres high from ground level to the top of the fence.
• The gap between the ground and the bottom of the fence should be no more than 10 cm.
• The gap between any vertical bars should be no more than 10 cm.
• Any horizontal bars should be spaced at least 90 cm apart.
• A non-climbable zone must be maintained around the exterior and interior perimeter of the pool. The area should be free of objects and vegetation that can be used to scale the barrier including shrubs, trees, furniture, ladders and flower pots.
In addition, a warning notice and resuscitation sign must be displayed within the pool area.
A few exemptions apply to pools built before 1990. Because exemptions can be confusing, pool owners should contact their local councils to clarify that an exemption applies to their property.
Owners can also hire a certified pool inspector to evaluate whether fencing is in compliance with the rules.
Pools built before 2010 that have doors and windows as part of the pool barrier may be exempt. Barriers must, however, comply with other safety standards.
Doors must be self-closing, cannot have a pet opening and must open away from the pool. Windows must have bars or screens, have locking devices or not open more than 10 cm.
Properties smaller than 230 metres square, those larger than 2 hectares and waterfront properties with pools installed before July 1, 2010, may be exempt.
Exemptions apply only if the existing barrier has been kept in compliance since its exemption. If the barrier has been altered or has deteriorated, the exemption may be withdrawn. The owner must then comply with the new requirements.
Registration and Certification
Homeowners are required to register their pools using the new state-wide register that became effective in 2013. Local councils are required to certify that a homeowner’s pool meets the law’s requirements.
Owners can contract with a licensed inspector who is certified to verify compliance. Owners who do not register their pools may be fined. A valid certificate is required for an owner to sell or lease a property with a pool.
New South Wales Pool Inspections
The qualified pool inspectors at BPI Wollongong are familiar with the requirements of the pool safety laws in NSW.
We verify whether pool barriers on your property are in compliance with current laws. For barriers that are not compliant, inspectors will recommend measures to bring the fencing up to standard. We are licensed and insured.