The ultimate guide to pool fence regulations around Australia

It’s that time of the year again. With spring and summer just around the corner, families across Australia are preparing their backyards for the warmer months. The backyard swimming pool is a hallmark of the Australian summer. Not only are pools a great way for friends and families to spend time together, they’re also a great exercise and fitness option for people of all ages. 

 

Like anything, backyard pools come with a set of risks. Approximately half of all drownings involving children under the age of five occur in residential swimming pools. That’s why pool fencing is an essential part of pool safety in Australia.  Ensuring that your backyard pool is compliant with Australian Standards and local regulations means that you’ll be keeping yourself and your family safe this summer. As we head into the warmer months, it’s a good time to check your pool fencing to ensure that it’s in good working condition and that it is fully compliant.

Are pool fences required in Australia? 

Pool fences are essentially safety barriers that restrict access to children and pets. Anyone who has children would know that kids are naturally inquisitive and curious. Left unguarded, they can easily find themselves in unsafe situations and dangerous territory. That’s why it’s critical that their access is restricted around bodies of water. 

In 1991, the Australian Government introduced a new set of pool fencing laws to reduce the risk of preventable drownings in backyard pools. Each state and territory was given the right to make adjustments to these laws over time as they saw fit. As such, the rules and regulations surrounding pool fencing do differ slightly depending on where you live. However, any swimming pool in Australia that has a depth of 300mm or more is required by law to have a pool fence. It’s important to note that this also includes portable or inflatable pools if they have a depth of 300mm or more. This particular requirement is the same across every Australian state, territory, and locality. 

What is the Australian standard for pool fencing?

Most Australian states comply with the Australian Standard AS1926-2012. There are local variations, but generally speaking, the Standard stipulates that:

  • Pool fencing must be at least 1.2m high;
  • Boundary fences must be at least 1.8m high;
  • Pool fencing must be constructed with durable material;
  • Gaps between the fence and the ground must not be greater than 100mm; 
  • The fence must have a Non Climbable Zone of 900mm on the outside of the fence the entire way around.  

 

The AS1926-2012 Standard is followed in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory. The Northern Territory, on the other hand, operates under the AS1926.1-1993 whilst Queensland has its own state-specific standard in place.

How tall should a pool fence be? 

Specific rules and regulations may vary depending on your location, however, some rules are the same no matter where you live. All Australian pools must have a fence that is at least 1.2m in height. The maximum gap from the ground to the bottom of the barrier cannot exceed 100mm. This is to prevent children or pets from crawling under the barrier to access the pool area. The latching device, on the other hand, must also be at least 1.5m off the ground, which is to prevent children from opening the door themselves or otherwise interfering with the gate.

Can a boundary fence be a pool fence? 

In most cases, a boundary fence can be used as a pool fence. It’s a safe and efficient way to comply with pool safety laws, so it’s a popular choice for many homeowners. According to the AS1926-2012, a boundary fence can be used as part of your pool fence if it is at least 1.8m in height. Like pool fences, this boundary fence must also have a Non Climbable Zone of at least 900mm. 

Although the requirements in each state and territory are similar, there are still some variances between localities. The Northern Territory and Queensland both have their own standards in place. Also, some jurisdictions–for example, New South Wales and Victoria–have different sets of rules depending on when the pool was built. That’s why it’s a good idea to get in touch with an expert before making any decisions. At Jim’s Fencing, all of our experts are well-versed in the fencing rules and regulations in their locality. If you want to ensure that your pool is compliant, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today. 

Can I use a pool cover instead of a fence? 

Pool covers are a great way to prevent unwanted debris from getting into a pool. However, they are not designed to prevent children from entering a pool. Pool covers give the illusion of being solid, but if a child walks on them, they could easily slip and fall into the water. That’s why it’s important to remember that pool covers should never be used as a substitute for fencing and safety barriers.

What is the fine for not having a fence around your pool? 

Failure to install a fence around a backyard pool can and will incur significant fines. The maximum penalty for breaking the rules depends on where you live. For example, in Queensland, councils can issue on-the-spot fines of $934 while in Victoria, they can issue on-the-spot fines of $330. If you’re unsure whether or not your pool is compliant with Australian Standards and local regulations, consider getting the area inspected by a qualified professional

 

Where can I learn more about pool fences in Australia?

Since regulations and rules can differ slightly depending on location, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with your locality’s exact rules. For more information about pool fences in Australia, visit:

 

If you’d like to discuss the specific fencing regulations of your area, contact Jim’s Fencing today. Our team of installation experts have years of experience in pool fencing and know their locality’s regulations inside and out. We’ll be able to set you up with a functional and efficient fencing solution that’s 100% compliant and safe for use. Make sure your pool is compliant before summer begins. Call us now on 131 546 to receive an obligation-free quote.