If you are thinking about swimming pool for your home you must consider the barrier requirements.
The requirements are applicable to temporary or permanent pools or spas that hold more than 30cm of water for the purposes of swimming, wading or the like – so not applicable to a dam, fish pond or water feature. Even if you have no children living at the home, or even children visiting the home, the pool barrier must be in place – the legislation is applicable to all private swimming pools.
There are a number of variations to the requirements of the legislation applicable to the pool. This is because the requirements depend on the installation date of the pool, as there have been a number of changes over the years and cannot be applied retrospectively.
For new pools, a fence and access gate are required between the house and the pool to restrict access to the pool area by young children (4 years and under). The barrier is not designed to stop children, but to slow them down in their efforts to access the pool, as no barrier is 100% effective. There is no substitute for adult supervision in and around pools.
The barrier has a number of design requirements including location, distance from the pool and climbable obstructions, height, latching and non-climbable components. The gate accessing the pool must not swing inward toward the pool. The specifications of pool safety barriers are available from your local government or in the Australian Standard (AS1926.1). Pool barriers must be permanently fixed and durable.
Retaining walls, landscaping and other garden features can complicate the installation of a swimming pool barrier, so it is best to seek professional advice before you design your new swimming pool in the selected area. Remember there are other things to consider than just pool safety. Your front yard may be the only place to fit your new pool but planning legislation may limit the style of fencing and height that can be installed. Having a pool does not automatically justify a solid brick front fence to provide the safety and security from the road.
Before water is placed in the pool, the safety barrier must be in-place, inspected and approved by a representative of the local government authority. These inspections are on-going, and are undertaken at least every four years. Between these inspections it is the owner’s responsibility to maintain the barrier’s compliance.
If you are thinking about installing a pool or spa, contact your local government authority for information regarding the requirements for pool barriers, building permit application requirements and approval process that is necessary. Your pool company will be able to assist you with putting together the requirements for the application.