A backyard swimming pool is a home improvement many Australians aspire to. It is a great place to relax and cool off during the warm summer months and can add value to a property. Throughout Australia, all backyard pools are required by law to be fenced off, to reduce the risk of drowning accidents especially from children getting into the pool unsupervised. Some of the specific regulations vary from state to state, but the general rules apply across the country. There are a number of different types of fencing, but regardless which one you choose, it must comply with the law. This article lists some of the regulations regarding fencing as well as types of fencing available.
Pool Fencing Requirements
Fencing is required for any pool with a water depth of 30 cm or greater. This includes above-ground and inflatable pools. Some states require a permit to install a pool and fence and also mandate inspection of the finished construction. Ensure you check what the requirements are where you live.
Regulations Which Apply Throughout Australia
- The fence must be at least 1200 mm high (to stop a child climbing over it).
- There must be no more than a 100 mm gap from the ground to the bottom of the fence (to stop a child getting under it).
- The pool gate must be self-closing. The latching device should be at least 1500 mm off the ground (out of a child’s reach).
- The pool gate must open outwards.
In addition to these regulations, there are variations between states in regard to other aspects such as gaps permitted between vertical members of the fence and whether the boundary fence of the property can be used as part of the pool fence.
Other Safety Aspects Once Installed
The area around the pool fence should be kept clear of objects such as garden furniture that children could use to climb over the fence. Never keep a pool gate propped open. It is important to be aware that fencing does not remove the need to supervise children around the pool.
It is recommended (and mandatory in some states) to have signage with instructions on how to perform CPR near the swimming pool.
Types of Pool Fencing
The two most common types of pool fencing are metal and glass panels. Timber can also be used. In fact, any material is permitted as long as it complies with the law.
Metal fences are usually steel or aluminium. Glass panels can be either framed or frameless. Glass pool fencing prices tend to be higher than those of a standard metal fence, but many still prefer glass panels as they are less obtrusive.
Once you have installed a swimming pool, ensure the fence is kept well-maintained. For example, check regularly that the latch still closes properly. Some states require periodic inspections of pool fences.
By ensuring you comply with the law when installing your backyard swimming pool, it will become an asset that you and your family can enjoy safely for years.