Pool Fencing is an especially important factor in helping to reduce the risk of drowning by providing a barrier to the pool or spa area. It is important to remember that even with a pool fence, small children must be supervised when they are in or near a pool or spa. Fencing is required by legislation for any swimming pool or spa that is more than 300mm deep and must be maintained for as long as you have the pool or spa. Swimming and spa pool fence regulations have changed over time and different requirements and standards may apply to your pool, depending on when your pool was approved, constructed, or installed.
In the following paragraphs we will help to explain current pool fencing laws as stated in the Australian Standard AS1926.1. It is important to remember that Queensland and the Northern Territory have their own standards in place. So, make sure to check the rules and regulations for your state or territory.
Pool Fencing – Barriers
You must make sure that the barrier or fence does not allow access for children to crawl under or climb over it. This also means that children should be unable to climb over the fence by using foot and/or hand holds. The fence must also be at least 1.2 metres high inside your property and boundary fences on the outside of the property must be at least 1.8 metres high.
Gates to your pool area must only swing outwards from the pool and be self-closing from any position. They must be fitted with a latching device that is out of reach of small children and at least 1.5 metres above the ground. The gate must be able to close and latch automatically and not re-open without the use of a manual release mechanism.
External walls of your building can be counted as a swimming pool barrier, if they do not have doors opening into the pool area and any windows are restricted to prevent access. Also, child-restraint doors are not considered an adequate safety barrier, and pools must have a proper barrier between them and the house.
Doors and Windows
As stated above, doors from your house can not open into a swimming pool area. However, there is an exception for doors coming from an enclosed building such as a pool house. Windows that do not have an opening of more than 100mm and are at least 1.2m off the ground or acceptable. Windows must also have security screens installed or be totally enclosed by grills.
Why is it Important to Maintain Your Pool Fencing?
The biggest cause of accidents in swimming pools and spas is the failure to maintain barriers and gates that give access to your pool area. It is essential that all self-closing gates and latches receive continual maintenance to ensure they operate correctly. It is also essential to ensure that the integrity of your fence has not been compromised. This includes making sure there is no furniture, rubbish bins, or any objects that can be climbed, near the fence or gate latch.
Your local council is required to inspect your pool fence or spa barrier once every four years. Although, this may vary depending on your local pool fence laws. The owner of the pool barrier may receive on the spot fines or even a court determined penalty if your fence does not comply to regulations due to faults or poor maintenance.
It is important to remember that providing an effective barrier from the outside to the pool or spa area is to help reduce the risk of drowning to small children. There is also no good substitute for supervision when small children are in or near a swimming pool or spa.
This guide is just a general summary of the Australian Standard AS1926.1 and standards may vary depending on your state or territory. For more specific requirements and information on installing a pool or spa fence please contact your local Jim’s Pool Care Professional.