Pool laws in Australia


In Australia, pool laws exist to ensure everyone’s safety. To avoid penalties, fines and accidents, it’s essential to understand the rules and how they vary between states. An inspection by a qualified pool inspector will make sure your pool is compliant.


Standard Safety Laws

When buying, selling, or leasing a property with a pool, a safety certificate must be obtained by a licensed pool inspector. For a residential, non-shared pool, it is valid for two years. The certificate is only valid one year for a shared pool.

All safety standards apply to indoor and outdoor pools associated with homes and short-term accommodations. Regular pools, portable pools and spas must contain safety barriers when water is deeper than 300 millimetres. Each pool was required to be registered by 4 November 2011.

Date for Compliance

All pool owners must be in compliance with pool safety standards by 30 November 2015. When selling or leasing a property with a non-shared pool, a safety certificate must be obtained. If not, a no-pool safety certificate must be issued.

New Swimming Pool Construction

All new pools being constructed require building approval. Follow-up inspections are mandatory. If in compliance, temporary fences are allowed for up to three months during construction. After this time, permanent barriers are necessary and must be inspected and certified.

Safety Forms

When a person sells or leases a property with a pool, it is necessary to have a pool safety certificate. If a certificate is not completed, Form 36 must be filed. This is a notice of no certificate.poll inspection

New South Wales

Pool Fencing Laws

Total pool restriction is essential at all times so that children remain safe. Even though older pools built before 1 August 1990 may include doors and windows in the barrier, they must also be in compliance.

Pools established between 1st August 1990 and 1 July 2010 must have a fence that separates the pool from the house. Exemptions apply when a property is under 230 square metres, over two hectares, or against waterfront.

After 1 July 2010, all pools must be surrounded by a fence that separates it from the home. Inflatable pools must also comply with fencing laws.

Fencing Measurements

A pool’s fence must be at least 1.2 metres above ground level and the bottom gap can’t be over 10 centimetres. Spaces between vertical bars within the fence must be no more than 10 centimetres apart. To prevent a child from climbing the fence, horizontal bars must be at least 90 centimetres apart.

Establish a “Non-Climbable” Zone

Since safety is a top priority, it’s essential to have a “non-climbable zone” around the pool area. This means no trees, ladders, chairs, or other objects can exist within 90 centimetres of this area. Anything that remains in this zone can’t have horizontal bars.

Child-Resistant Barriers

Older pools may have doors or windows within the barrier. However, this is no longer allowed. If a door exists, it must be self-closing, self-locking with a device over 150 centimetres from the ground and must not have a pet door.

Windows must also contain locking devices or security screens that keep them from opening past 10 centimetres.

Pool Gates

A pool gate must always remain shut and swing away from the pool area. After it opens, it must close automatically and self-latch.

Fence and Gate Maintenance

It’s essential to examine the hardware on the fence and gate. All bolts, screws, and other fasteners must be completely tightened and in proper order. To make sure the hinges do not stick, they should be sprayed with a lubricating material.


Fencing Laws and Necessary Permits

In Victoria, residential pools and spas with water depths over 300 centimetres must be enclosed by safety barriers.

Before installing a new pool, a building permit is required. This document must be issued by a registered building surveyor and should include specifications of the project.

Construction must commence within one year of the permit date. An extension is possible, but a temporary barrier may be necessary. When the pool is finished, a final inspection must be completed.

Updated Regulations

According to the newest building rules, all new pools in Victoria require four-sided fences which must be properly maintained.

All fences must include self-closing gates with self-locking systems that open outward. Access to the pool can’t come from the house. Penalties for non-compliance may be as high as $5,000.

Specific Fencing Regulations

Fencing must be at least 1.2 metres high and a boundary fence must be at least 1.8 metres high. There shouldn’t be any footholds greater than 10 millimetres, and the gap from the ground to the fence shouldn’t exceed 10 centimetres.

Spaces between the panels shouldn’t measure more than 10 centimetres. For added safety, it’s essential to dedicate 90 centimetres around the pool fence as a non-climbable zone. This means climbable items must be removed so that children can’t gain access to the pool without proper adult supervision.

South Australia

Pool and Spa Fencing

Pool fencing in South Australia is mandatory. When a person is selling a property with a pool or spa established before July 1993, the safety barrier must meet the present standards for new pools.

The fencing must act as a permanent barrier for children and stand at least 1.2 metres high. The construction must prohibit children from crawling beneath or climbing over the barrier. A 900 millimetre non-climbable zone must surround the pool as well.

Gates to the pool must swing outward and be self-closing. Each gate must contain a latch that’s out of reach of children.

Pool Covers and Filtration Units

Although some people use hard pool covers as safety barriers, the laws in South Australia prohibit the use of these items. There are no regulatory standards in place for these covers. When they’re removed, nothing prevents children from gaining access to the pools.

All swimming pools and spas require some type of filter and recirculation system that’s in compliance with Australian Standards so that children are less likely to become trapped.

New Pool Approval

Before a new pool can be constructed, development approval is necessary. The local council will review the plans regarding the location of the safety barrier and support structure. Before a pool can be filled with water, fencing must be installed.

Above-Ground or Portable Pools/Spas

When a portable or above-ground pool is installed, it’s sides may be used as barriers when they are at least 1.2 metres high. A barrier must always be placed around items that can be climbed, especially a pool ladder.

Legal Obligations

When selling a property with a pool or spa built before 1 July 1993, the seller must make sure all safety requirements are met. Fencing or another type of barrier may need to be installed. However, a property with a pool that isn’t for sale can continue to follow the rules of the Swimming Pools Safety Act 1972, which states pools must be enclosed by fences or other barriers so that small children remain safe at all times.

Since 1 October 2008, all properties with pools sold must be in compliance with Minister’s Specification SA 76D, which states barriers must be in place to separate a home from its pool.

Spas and pool constructed after 1 July 1993 must comply with rules established at the time of application submission. These include the Development Act 1993 and the Building Code of Australia. These rules restrict access of a pool from a house or any connected property.
Pool Inspections

During the sale of a home with an existing pool, it’s not necessary to have the pool inspected. However, if an inspection is performed, a homeowner is advised to use a private certifier. This professional has the experience and qualifications to ensure safety rules are followed.

Western Australia

Required Permits

Before the installation of a swimming pool in Western Australia, a building permit is necessary. It’s also required when making alterations to existing pools or pool barriers.

Compliant barriers are required for any structure that can hold water at a depth greater than 300 millimetres. Inspections are performed, and penalties are issued for non-compliance.

Barrier Requirements

A barrier is defined as a structure that encloses an area with a pool or spa. It may include a fence, wall, window, or other barrier in agreement with Australia Standard requirements. A self-closing and self-latching gate is necessary and must open away from the pool’s location.

For pools established before 2001, a barrier may be a wall with a door that’s in compliance with the Standard rules. Pools approved after this time can’t use a wall with a door as a barrier unless it’s permanently sealed.

A barrier can be constructed from any durable material that complies with the Australian Standard. All walls must be higher than 1,200 millimetres, and barriers must stand vertical. If this isn’t possible, they can’t lean toward the pool by more than 15 degrees.

Climbable Objects

To completely comply with barrier rules, climbable objects must be kept 1,200 millimetres from the outside of a fence. This includes shrubs, patio furniture, and BBQs.

To make sure a child can’t climb from inside the pool area, a barrier must not have horizontal surfaces closer than 300 millimetres.

If a fence is used as part of a barrier, it may be difficult to control the neighbour’s property. Standard regulations encourage pool or spa owners to discuss barrier requirements so that everyone’s aware of compliance issues.

If a horizontal surface is larger than 10 millimetres in protrusion, it must be spaced more than 900 millmeteres from another horizontal surface. The highest of the low indentions must be at least 1,100 millimetres under the barrier’s top.

When a fence contains horizontal pieces, the spaces between them must not exceed 900 millimetres. Gaps between vertical pieces must not exceed 100 millimetres, and the bottom of a barrier can’t be over 100 millimetres from ground level.

If a retaining wall is used as a barrier, the high side must measure more than 2,400 millimetres to the ground inside the enclosure.

The exterior wall surface must meet Standards and not slope more than 15 degrees to the vertical. The low side must measure over 1,200 millimetres and meet Standards as well.

Gates and Hardware

All pool gates must open away from the area and contain self-closing devices. The gates can’t be higher than 100 millimetres from ground level. A latching device must be included so that each gate closes without assistance. The release mechanism must not be higher than 1,500 millimetres above ground level and must be located at least 1,400 millimetres over the highest horizontal members.

Above Ground Pools/Spas

As long as a pool or spa has side walls over 1,200 millimetres from the ground, a barrier may not be necessary. However, features like ladders require self-closing and self-latching gates on barriers. Lockable covers don’t meet the requirements.

Windows and Doors

Windows are allowed to be part of a barrier but must meet Standard requirements. If a pool was approved before 5 November 2001, the barrier may contain a door that complies with the Australian Standards.

All sliding or hinged doors must contain self-closing and self-locking devices. Garage doors and perimeter gates aren’t in compliance with regulatory requirements.

In all parts of Australia, pools are common. Rules exist to keep children safe. When a person is not sure how to comply with Australian Standards, consulting with a licensed pool inspector will make the entire process much simpler and help keep accidents to a minimum. Call BPI today for your next pool inspection. Find your nearest BPI inspector here.