Pool safety and inspections

This page contains information on pool safety and inspections in the City. 

All private swimming and spa pools containing water more than 300 mm deep must have a compliant barrier installed that restricts access by young children to the pool and its
immediate surrounds.

Private swimming or spa pools include:

  • In-ground and above-ground pools (including inflatable and portable pools)
  • In-ground and above-ground spa pools
  • Bathing or wading pools.
Pool Safety

Safety hints 

  • Nearly all drowning incidents can be attributed to a lack of supervision
  • Supervision means constant supervising at all times
  • Supervision cannot be done through a window or through the pages of a newspaper
  • If you must go inside, take the child with you - they should not be left alone in the pool area at any time!
  • Children cannot supervise children - this is the adult’s responsibility
  • Regularly check and maintain your pool and spa safety barriers
  • Encourage swimming lessons from an early age.

Design and construction

Fencing

The fence and its immediate surrounds are to be designed to form an effective barrier against child access at any point. Fencing must be a permanent structure, unable to be removed or undone by hand or key at any point. Fencing must be free of sharp edges, sharp projections and similar hazards.

Types of materials

Fencing may be constructed of any material, provided it is durable and complies with the Australian Standard 1926.1.-2012. If the material used for the construction of
the fence is suspected to be non-compliant the City may request a copy of a test report confirming its suitability.

Fencing height

The effective fencing height shall be no less than 1200mm at any point (measured from the finished ground level and any climbable object outside of the fence). There must  be a 900mm non-climbable zone on the outside of the fence. Bushes, pumps, filters, taps, and meter boxes are examples of problematic climbable objects.

Perforated materials

Openings that are 13mm or less are deemed unclimbable. If the opening is greater than 13mm but less than 100mm, the fence must be at least 1800mm in height. 

Ground clearance

The space between the finished ground level and the lowest horizontal member of the fencing shall not exceed 100mm and the ground must be stable.

Horizontal surfaces (including rods/braces/hinges)

Unless gaps between the verticals are 10mm or less, and horizontal rails of the fence are inaccessible or on the inside of the fence, the horizontal surfaces must be at least 900mm apart. There must be a 900mm non-climbable zone anywhere within the vertical height of the barrier.

Vertical member

Spacing between uprights must not exceed 100mm. Vertical members must be strong and rigid with very little flexibility.

Indentations and projections

Any indentation, projection or gap greater than 10mm may be considered climbable. A wedge  or fillet of at least 60 degrees to the horizontal can be fitted to most  projections to render it unclimbable, although it must be flush with the wall/fence behind.

Boundary barrier (dividing fences)

If a dividing fence or front fence forms part of the barrier, it must: 

  • Be at least 1800mm in height on the inside of the barrier
  • Have 900mm non-climbable zone, measured from the top of the fence, on the inside of the barrier.

Above ground pools or spas

The walls of the pool or spa can be used as the barrier if they are not less than 1200mm in height and have no climbable projections or indentations. A fence and gate that complies with the Australian Standard 1926.1-2012 must be fitted around the designated access point to the above ground pool or spa.

 

 

Gates and fittings

Gate construction

Where a pool gate has diagonal bracing, the gaps between the uprights must not exceed  10mm. Where there are double gates, both gates must self-latch independently or one gate must be permanently fixed closed.

Direction of opening

Gates must open away from the pool area.

Automatic closing device

All gates that access the pool area must be fitted with a device that will return the gate to the closed position and operate the latching device from all positions from a stationary start without manual force.

Latching device

Gates must be fitted with a self-latching device that will automatically operate on  the closing of the gate and will prevent the gate from being re-opened without manually releasing the mechanism. The gate latch must not be able to be opened by the insertion of an implement particularly from underneath the latch. The gate latch must not be capable of being unlatched with the use of manual force (usually downwards) to the gate.

Location of latching device

Gate latches must be located at least 1500mm high from the finished ground level and 1000mm above the highest lower horizontal member OR located on the inside of the gate. If located on the inside of the gate, the latch must be located at least 150mm below the top of the gate and shielded so no opening greater than 10mm occurs between the top of the gate and a radius of 450mm from the latch and below the latch. Any hand-hole to the latch must be at least 1200mm above the ground and 150mm above the latch release.

Windows

A window may form part of a barrier as long as it is modified so that it meets the requirements of the Australian Standard 1926.1-2012. 

The lowest openable portion of the window must be higher than 1800mm when measured from inside the pool barrier. Alternatively, a fixed security screen must be provided or a fixed device that prevents the window opening more than 100mm must be installed (e.g. a self-tapping screw or a fixed block for a sliding window or a chain for an awning window). Key locking devices are not acceptable and the stopping device must be a permanent fixture.

Doors (pre 5 November 2001 pools and spas)

A door may form part of a barrier if the pool or spa was constructed, installed or approved prior to 5 November 2001. 

The door must be fitted with a self-closing and self-latching device that will return the door closed from any position to operate the latching device. The latch release must not be less than 1500mm above the inside floor level. Where there are double doors, both doors must self-latch independently, or one door must be permanently fixed closed. The doors must be non-climbable and of sound material. 

Nylon or fibreglass flywire (even behind a grill) are not suitable for pool barrier doors. Sliding doors must not be able to be lifted out of the door track.

Automated garage doors or perimeter gates do not comply with the requirements of the regulations.

Temporary fencing

If a swimming pool barrier is damaged and a swimming pool is exposed, temporary fencing is required. Adequate temporary fencing is described as non-climbable from
the ground to the top of the fence to a height of 1.2 metres alternatively a climbable fence with minimum height of 1800mm is acceptable. Please note this is a temporary
measure only.

Pool/spa covers

Placing a cover, even if it is lockable, over a swimming or spa pool does not meet the barrier requirements under the regulations and the applicable barrier standard. When the cover is off, there is no barrier. The barrier is required to be a permanent and compliant barrier to restrict access to the swimming or spa pool area by young children at all times.

Inspections and enforcement

The City of Stirling is required by law to inspect pool and spa barriers for safety and to ensure the barriers are compliant at all times. Pool Inspectors are authorised under
the entry power provisions contained within the Building Act 2011 to enter your property to conduct these inspections.

If you have been advised by the City that an inspection is required and you wish to make an appointment please phone 9205 8555 to book a mutually convenient time.
On the spot penalties of $750.00 apply to owners/occupiers who fail to enclose a swimming pool/spa correctly in accordance with the Building Regulations 2012.

If a building or demolition contractor removes a pool or spa safety barrier during the course of building/demolition work they must provide a compliant temporary pool or
spa safety barrier.

Did you know?

The City of Stirling is required by law to inspect pool and spa barriers for safety and to ensure the barriers are compliant at all times. Pool Inspectors are authorised under the entry power provisions contained within the Building Act 2011 to enter your property to conduct these inspections.

For further information about swimming pool and spa barriers, please visit the Building Commission website.

If an inspection is required, please make an apointment via the Contact Cente on (08) 9205 8555.