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Pools and spas

If you own a backyard pool or spa, find out about your responsibilities to ensure that it is as safe as it can be.

What must an owner do to comply?

The owner of the premises on which a swimming pool and/or spa is situated must ensure it is entered on the NSW Government Swimming Pool Register.

In addition, the premises must have a valid occupation certificate less than three years old authorising the use of the swimming pool or a certificate of compliance.

A certificate of compliance can be obtained through our certification team. To organise an inspection, complete a swimming pool inspection form (fees apply). 

Alternatively you may choose to engage a private certification service. See the NSW Government Swimming Pool Register website and the Building Professionals Board for more information on private certification and associated costs.

Do I have to fence my pool?

Yes. The owner of a swimming pool must ensure it is at all times surrounded by a complying child-resistant pool safety barrier maintained in a good state of repair.

Prefabricated and inflatable pools capable of being filled with water to a depth 300mm or more may require also require child-resistant barriers to be installed.

Fencing requirements

Pool fencing must comply with AS1926.1-2012. Some of the requirements are:

  • minimum height 1200mm between the pool and the house
  • minimum height of 1800mm along a boundary. (An alternative boundary fence design is available under the Standard)
  • minimum 900mm separation between the upper and lower horizontal members to maintain non-climbable zone
  • non-climbable zone extents from the barrier 300mm into pool area and 900mm outside pool area
  • maximum 100mm gap under the fence
  • maximum 100mm gap in vertical members including any flex in material

Pool gates

  • Gates must be self-closing and self-latching and must be closed at all times
  • They must open outwards from the pool area
  • No double gates
  • Latch release mechanism must be 1.5-metres above the ground except where a shield is used. The shield makes it necessary to reach over the gate to release the mechanism
  • Gate width is to be kept to a minimum (no more than 1-metre) to minimise the possibility of the weight of the gate causing the gate to drop

Resuscitation/warning sign

All pools require a Resuscitation Chart/Warning Notice to be prominently displayed in the immediate vicinity of the pool. It is recommended that signs more than three years old be replaced.

The Resuscitation sign:

  • must be legible from a distance of at least three metres
  • must be maintained in a clearly legible condition.

Resuscitation / warning signs can be purchased from most pool supply shops.

What is the Mandatory Inspection Program?

Premises with a swimming pool and/or spa on which there is tourist and visitor accommodation, or more than two dwellings, or as defined in Council's approved mandatory inspection program must be inspected at least once every three years unless there is a valid certificate of compliance or a relevant occupation certificate in force.

Pool safety barriers

Swimming pools must be separated from a residence by a child resistant barrier.

For waterfront properties, those on land over two hectares or very small properties (230m2 or less) existing exempt property owners may continue to use an exemption under the Swimming Pool Act, but only if the barrier is continuously kept compliant with the Australian Standard.

For swimming pools constructed or completed before 1st September 2008, the barrier must comply with Australian Standard 1926 -1986 ‘Fences and gates for private swimming pools’.

Swimming pools that commenced construction from 1st September 2008, must have a barrier that complies with Australian Standard 1926.1~2012 ‘Part 1: Safety barriers for swimming pools’.

You can view the Australian Standards online at Council Libraries. Due to copyright restrictions, copies of the documents are unable to be made.

If you think your property may have an exemption, complete the Swimming Pool Barrier Exemption application form and return it to Council.

Spa pools

Spa pools are also covered by the legislation and should be separated by a child-resistant pool safety barrier in accordance with Australian Standard AS1926.1-2012.

Alternatively, a spa may be covered and secured by a lockable child-safe structure (such as a door, lid, grille or mesh).

Swimming pool checklist

Industry experience suggests that a significant number of swimming pools are found to be defective and require remedial works to be completed.

You are also strongly encouraged to undertake your own self-assessment via the NSW Government pool safety checklists.

  • Check there are adequate pool safety barriers in place separating the pool from the residence, adjoining properties and the neighbourhood.
  • Are these barriers compliant with current legislation?
  • Ensure all of the pool safety barriers are maintained and operating eg check gates are self-closing and self-latching.
  • Make sure pool gates are kept closed at all times.
  • Make sure there are no objects or trees near the pool barrier that would allow a small child to climb.
  • Check that you have a resuscitation chart visible in the pool area
  • Make sure you’ve discussed with your family what to do in the event that you need to use it. Use the o inspect your own pool.
  • Supervise children when using the swimming pool.

Swimming pool legislation

The relevant legislative documents for pool safety are:

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