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Pool safety and inspections

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Ensure you are compliant with pool and spa safety and protect your loved ones. The City is required by law to inspect pool and spa barriers.

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

Private swimming pool or spas include:

  • In-ground and above-ground pools (including inflatable and portable pools)
  • In-ground and above-ground spas
  • 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 or spa area at any time!
  • Children cannot supervise children - this is the responsibility of an adult
  • Regularly check and maintain your pool and spa safety barriers
  • Encourage swimming lessons from an early age.

Design and construction

Fencing

Pool safety

Fencing height, perforate materials and ground clearance

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
Pool safety

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.

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.

Pool safety

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.

Pool safety

Horizontal surfaces (including rods/braces/hinges)

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.

Gates and fittings

Gate construction

Where a pool or spa 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 or spa area.

Automatic closing device

All gates that access the pool or spa 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.

Pool safety

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.

Pool safety

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 or spa 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 or spa barrier is damaged and a swimming pool or spa 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 pool or spa 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 pool or spa area by young children at all times.

Inspections and enforcement

The City of Stirling is required by law to inspect swimming 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 contact (08) 9205 8555 to book a mutually convenient time.

On the spot penalties of $1,000.00 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 swimming pool or spa safety barrier during the course of building/demolition work they must provide a compliant temporary swimming pool or spa safety barrier.

Decommissioning and removal

What constitutes decommissioning?

By definition, decommissioning  is the removal of aspects that make the structure a swimming pool or spa. Methods to achieve this include complete removal or removal of the structures ability to contain more than 300mm of water. It is recommended that a 1m x1m hole is cut into in the deep end of the structure and any associated filtration system is disconnected. The main consideration is the inability for the swimming pool or spa to hold water.

Additionally, unless steps are taken, during the winter months a decommissioned swimming pool or spa can capture rainwater to a depth exceeding 300mm and as a result will either require a compliant safety barrier be in place or the hole maintained so it provides adequate drainage at all times.

A decommissioned swimming pool or spa remains listed on the City of Stirling’s register and will be reinspected at intervals of no more than four years. This may be done via aerial photos if applicable.

Should the property owner wish to recommission their swimming pool or spa at any time, they must ensure a compliant safety barrier that meets the latest Australian Standards is in place prior to the swimming pool or spa being refilled with water. A new Building Certificate may also be required.

What constitutes removal? 

For a swimming pool or spa to be removed from the City of Stirling’s Pool Register, the following is required:

All of the swimming pool or spa (including shell, pump etc.) must be fully removed off the property.

The Notification of swimming pool or spa removal form must be completed and submitted to the City. 

The removal of the swimming pool or spa will be acknowledged by the City once the removal has been confirmed by a City Pool Inspector (which may require an on-site inspection).

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 Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

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