Swimming Pool Fencing

NEW CHANGES TO BACKYARD SWIMMING POOLS

  • As of 29 October 2013, all swimming pools must be registered on the state-wide pool register. As part of the registration process, pool owners must certify to the besst of their knowledge that their pool barrier complies with the legislation. To register your pool, please visit www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au
  • All local council swimming pool inspection programs for their local area commence no later than 29 October 2013. Local councils can charge pool owners up to $150 for the first inspection and up to $100 if a second inspection is needed (if faults are identified at the first inspection).
  • As of 29 April 2015, all tourist and visitor accommodation or properties where there are more than two dwellings must have a swimming pool inspection at least once every three years.
  • As of 29 April 2015, all residential properties with a swimming pool must have a valid certificate of compliance before the property can be leased or sold.

Please refer to the Protect Your Pool, Protect Your Kids online video and checklist for further information on the legislation and safe pool fencing.

Background information

Pool fencing is designed to save children's lives by preventing their access to pools. However, it is alarming to see that the majority of children under five years of age who drown in swimming pools, do so as a result of fencing that is not compliant with the legislation.1-3 In other words, pool fencing that is not working or not being used as designed is contributing to the number of children drowning. A four sided fence, that does not include any part of the home, has proven to be the safest.4

You must, by law, have a four sided fence around ANY pool that can be filled with more than 300mm of water. This includes inflatable and portable swimming pools.

The maintenance of pool fencing is extremely important, even if you do not have young children living at your home. Children are most at risk of drowning within 6 months of moving into a new property with a swimming pool,5 or when visiting the home of a friend, family or neighbour with a pool.

Pool fencing is a legal requirement and significant penalties of up to $5,500 can be imposed if your swimming pool does not comply. Pool owners should regularly check their swimming pool throughout the year, especially in the months leading up to summer. To learn how to check the safety of your pool, watch our "Protect Your Pool, Protect Your Kids' video.

 

Please click here to view a report from The Children's Hospital at Westmead on the latest research and our recommendations concering swimming pool safety.

 

With the assistance from The Samuel Morris Foundation and The Swimming Pool and Spa Association of NSW (SPASA NSW), The Children's Hospital at Westmead have developed the Protect Your Pool, Protect Your Kids video to educate pool owners about pool fencing and the common faults.

Please click on the Protect Your Pool, Protect Your Kids link to view the online video and pool safety checklist.

If you are not sure whether your swimming pool complies with the legislation, you should contact your local council to arrange an inspection or The Swimming Pool and Spa Association of NSW (SPASA) for more information.

To find out what council area you are in, please visit The Division of Local Government.

Pool Fencing Legislation

The legislation that applies to swimming pool barriers in NSW includes:

Local councils will allow members of the public to attend any of their respective offices, libraries or outlets to look at (but not print or take any copy away of) the Standard during ordinary business hours.

References

1. Williamson A, Irvine P, Sadural S. Analysis of drownings involving children aged five years and under in NSW. Sydney: NSW Water Safety Taskforce; 2002.

2. Blum C, Shield J. Toddler drowning in domestic swimming pools. Inj Prev 2000;6 (4):288-90.

3. Bugeja L. Drowning of 0-5 year old children in private swimming pools & spas in Victoria: 1997-2001. Melbourne: State Coroner's Office and Department of Human Services; 2004.

4. Thompson DC, Rivara F. Pool fencing for preventing drowning in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 1998, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD001047. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001047.

5. Barker R, Heiring C, Spinks D, Pitt R. Domestic pool immersion in Queensland children under 5 years of age. QISU Injury Bulletin No. 104. Brisbane: QISU; Dec 2008.

Links to Further Information

Please see The Children's Hospital at Westmead safety fact sheets for more information.

The Swimming Pool and Spa Association of NSW (SPASA)
The Swimming Pool and Spa Association of NSW is a non-profit organisation dedicated to maintaining and improving standards within the industry for the betterment of consumers, pool builders and suppliers.

The Samuel Morris Foundation
The Samuel Morris Foundation, established in March 2007, is Australia's only charity supporting children disabled by near drowning (or other hypoxic brain injuries) and preventing future drowning deaths and disabilities through education and awareness

St John Ambulance Australia (NSW)
St John Ambulance Australia (NSW) is a self-funded, charitable organisation committed to first aid. Whether it is training people in first aid or delivering first aid services at community and sporting events, we are passionate about saving lives. In Australia for more than 125 years, the St John of today is a modern organization where the practice of first aid by our 3,000 volunteers in NSW alone makes our courses and kits the most tested in the market.

The Division of Local Government
The Division of Local Government is responsible for administering the Swimming Pools Act 1992. They have a range of information available on their website, including a swimming pool laws brochure and home pool safety checklists in other languages.

The Office of Fair Trading

NSW Fair Trading safeguards the rights of all consumers and advises business and traders on fair and ethical practice. They provide information on what to know when building a new swimming pool, the dangers of skimmer boxes and inflatable swimming pool safety.

Farmsafe
Farmsafe Australia is the association of national agencies that share a common interest in farm safety with state Farmsafe organisations. Farmsafe Australia is interested in protecting the health and safety of farmers, workers, family members and visitors to farms.

The Royal Life Saving Society NSW
Royal Life Saving Society - Australia works to prevent drowning and facilitate healthy, active lifestyles by equipping all Australians with water safety skills.