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Swimming Pools

Swimming Pools and Spas

New Swimming Pool and Spa Regulations

In 2012 a comprehensive review of the NSW Swimming Pools Act 1992 identified a number of amendments designed to enhance the safety of children under the age of five years around backyard swimming pools and spas in NSW.

The following now applies to swimming pool and spa owners, including multi unit complexes:

  • Swimming pool and spa owners are required to register their swimming pools and/or spas by Tuesday 29 October 2013 on an online register provided by the NSW State Government
  • The NSW State Government register is available online
  • Swimming pool/spa owners will be required to self-assess, and state in the register that, to the best of their knowledge, their swimming pool/spa complies with the applicable standard when registering their pool/spa, in accordance with an accompanying check list
  • There is a penalty for owners who fail to register a swimming pool and/or spa (penalty of $220)
  • Swimming pool/spa owners will be required to provide a valid Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate before being able to sell or lease a property with a pool/spa from Friday 29 April 2016. A Compliance Certificate will only be issued if the pool barrier complies with the NSW Swimming Pools Act 1992, as amended, the Swimming Pool Regulations and the Australian Standard as applicable to the date of construction of the swimming pool/spa
  • Swimming Pool Compliance Certificates are available from Council, subject to application and fee. Application forms can be obtained from this website or the Customer Service Centre. Compliance Certificates are valid for three years
  • A swimming pool/spa, subject to an Occupation Certificate, is exempt from an inspection program for three years from the date of issue of the Occupation Certificate


General Pool Requirements


Under the Swimming Pools Act 1992 (NSW) the owner of a swimming pool is responsible for ensuring that the pool is at all times surrounded by a complying child-resistant pool fence or safety barrier.

Pool fences must be maintained in a good state of repair as an effective and safe barrier restricting access to the pool.

General requirements

  • All pools, including pre-fabricated self-installed pools, require approval prior to installation. Council or another approval authority is required to inspect and approve the child-resistant barrier system prior to filling the pool with water
  • Pools must be separated from residential buildings and adjoining public or private properties by child-resistant barriers in accordance with the Regulations and AS1926.1-2007
  • Gates must be self-closing and self-latching and open outwards from the pool
  • No door access from a residential building into an outdoor pool is permitted
  • Walls of above-ground pools or self-installed prefabricated pools are not accepted as a child-resistant barrier
  • Only structures associated with the pool (filter housing, etc.) are permitted within the enclosed pool area

Information about Portable Pools


Structures within the Pool Area


Under the Swimming Pools Act only structures associated with the pool can be located within the pool area. Should the structure be used in any way with the dwelling or outdoor activity other than the pool then the structure can not be within the pool area.  This includes clothes lines, bar-b-que, sheds, entertainment structure and/or an outside toilet.

The relevant legislation and standards for pool safety are:

Note - Refer to the Regulations to inform you of the requirements rather than solely relying on AS1926.1-2007 as the Regulation excludes/restricts some clauses of AS1926.1-2007 for pools in NSW.


Need more information?


More information can be obtained from your Accredited Certifier (for pool construction) or contact Council on 1300 581 299.

 
Pool Gates

The following requirements apply to gates in pool fences or safety:

  • Barrier Gates must be self-closing and self-latching and must be closed at all times
  • Gates must open outwards from the pool area
  • No double gates are permitted
  • Latch release mechanism must be 1.5 metres above the ground, except where a shield is used. If a shield is used the latch is positioned on the pool side near the top of the gate. The shield makes it necessary to reach over the gate to release the latch mechanism
  • The latch release must be positioned a minimum 1.5 metres above ground level and 1.4 metres from highest lower horizontal barrier member
  • 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 with the self-latching mechanism failing


Pool Fencing


Pool fencing must comply with AS1926.1-2007. The requirements in general are:

  • Minimum height 1200 mm
  • Minimum 900 mm separation between the upper and lower horizontal members to maintain non-climbable zone
  • Maximum 100 mm gap under the fence
  • Maximum 100 mm gap in vertical members including any flex in material
  • Non-climbable zone extents from the barrier 300 mm into pool area and 900 mm outside pool area
  • Boundary fence to be 1800 mm in height

Australian Standard 1926.1-2007 provides details on a variety of barrier situations such as retaining walls, cliff faces and balconies.


Resuscitation Warning Sign

All pools require a resuscitation chart or warning notice to be displayed in a prominent position in the immediate vicinity of the pool.

The following warning statements must be contained within the resuscitation sign:

  • Young children should be supervised when using this swimming pool
  • Pool gates must be kept closed at all times
  • Keep articles, objects and structures at least 900 mm clear of the pool fence at all times

The resuscitation sign must be:

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

Resuscitation/warning signs are available for purchase from the Council's Customer Service Centre.

Any approved sign erected between 1 September 1995 and 31 August 2008 does not require replacement and may be retained. However, it is recommended that signs more than three years old be replaced, due to changes in best practice resuscitation techniques.


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 AS1926.1-2007.

Alternatively, the spa pool must be covered and secured by a lockable child-safe structure (such as a door, lid, grille or mesh). Such lockable structure must be able to be removed/installed and locked by a single person.


Pool Exemptions

Exemptions currently exist for some existing pools based on the age and location of the pool, however, the council recommends all pools be upgraded to comply with current requirements.

Effective from 1 May 2011 no new child-safe doors/ child-resistant doors are permitted to be installed.  Therefore Exemption referred to in this section no longer applies to properties where the dwelling is demolished or where child-safe doors/child-resistant doors are not maintained/operational, not in place, removed without consent or removed in connection with alterations/additions to the dwelling.

In these cases the pool is to be provided with child-resistant barriers complying with current requirements - pools must be separated from residential buildings and adjoining public or private properties by child-resistant barriers in accordance with the Regulations and AS1926.1-2007.  See general pool requirements and pool fencing/gates.


Existing pools and pools on small properties

This exemption applies to pools built prior to 1 August 1990 and pools on small properties less than 239 m2 in area (non-waterfront properties) built prior to 1 July 2010. The owner may choose to comply with the general requirements or utilise the option not to separate the pool from the residential buildings, provided access to the pool from the residential buildings (i.e. doors, windows, openings) is at all times restricted in accordance with AS1926.1-2007. The pool must still be separated from adjoining public or private properties by approved child-resistant barriers.


Selling or purchasing a property with a pool

Recent changes in the Conveyancing (Sale of Land) Regulation 2010 require a warning notion within the contract of sale that the owner of a property on which a swimming pool is situated must ensure that the pool complies with the requirements of the Swimming Pools Act 1992.

A Certificate of Compliance under s24 of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 is the only available document that an owner can rely on to ensure that their pool complies.

Purchasers and persons acting on their behalf are strongly advised to view a Pool Safety Barrier Certificate of Compliance prior to purchasing any property on which any type of pool is situated.


Pool Certificate of Compliance

If purchasing a property with a pool, or you just want peace of mind, apply for a Pool Certificate of Compliance from Council.

For a fee, a Building Compliance Officer will inspect the pool and provide you with a certificate of compliance, should all aspects of the pool comply. To arrange an inspection, call the Customer Service Centre on 1300 581 299.

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