Complying with the NSW Pool Fencing Regulations in 2024

David's inspection after

Complying with the NSW Pool Fencing Regulations in 2024

Updated for 2024

In 2024 many people are confused regarding the most recent 2018 Swimming Pools Regulation and associated Standards that apply to Swimming Pool Compliance in NSW. Owning a pool with a non compliant fence comes with great risk. If a child gets into your pool enclosure and there is an incident, and even worse, an accident or death, you will find yourself self-insured unless you have notified your insurer that you do not hold a Compliance Certificate as per your duty of care. All pool enclosures must comply with the NSW swimming pool compliance regulations whether you are familiar with the regulations or not.

So, what can every swimming pool owner do to avoid the risk of penalties arising from a spot check from your local Council and ensure a safe swimming environment for your family? To keep yourself on track, there are some important things that you need to know to comply with the pool fencing regulations in NSW.  Feel free to Contact POOL CERTIFY with any enquiry.

While leasing or selling properties with swimming pools

Are you planning to sell or rent a property with a swimming pool? There are several points worth your consideration and if not addressed can have quite an impact on your liability.  First and foremost under the new legislation you cannot lease out your property with a pool or spa without first organising and obtaining a Certificate of Compliance.  Property Managers should not be advertising properties and it certainly is a huge risk to allow a tenant to reside in your property without including a current Compliance Certificate within the Leasing Contract.

Leasing or selling properties with swimming pools have specific rules in NSW. In 2013 it became mandatory for all swimming pools to be registered on the NSW Swimming Pool Register. If your pool or spa is not registered, the first step is to organise registration. How do you check? Go to www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au and type in your address. If there is no evidence of a registered pool at your address, read on for instructions on how to register your pool or spa.

Next step, book an inspection with an Accredited Certifier. This is essential for landlords with expiring compliance certificates and where tenants have given notice. Landlords must not enter into a new Lease without a current Compliance Certificate. Owners who are selling do have the option to sell with a Non Compliance Certificate, but must still have their pool enclosure inspected by an Accredited Certifier.

Are you Buying a House with a Pool?

When it comes to buying a house with a swimming pool, most purchasers prefer to buy a house where the pool that has been issued with a Compliance Certificate as this means the buyer can rest easy knowing that the pool enclosure is safe and compliant. We meet many new owners who have no idea how to rectify the issues because these were not explained to them. This is where our Accredited Certifier can assist with advice specific to your pool enclosure.

Making Sure Your Kid’s are Safe in the Pool

Kids want to spend all their time in the pool where they play and jump around with much excitement but kids are unaware of the hidden dangers that pool owners must become familiar with. Sure, your swimming pool is a great place for relaxation and enjoyment, but you should make sure that the safety of your kids shouldn’t be overlooked by ensuring your pool fences do the job they are intended for – keeping children out of the pool unless actively supervised by an adult. The Number 1 issue we see is where pool owners are using their swimming pool enclosure as an entertainment centre, with other activities going on such as dining, watching TV, cooking and hanging out the clothes. This is a recipe for disaster and many pool owners will prop the pool gate because all the leisure activities are going on inside the pool enclosure and supervision becomes passive as the adults are engaged in other activities and may be unaware that their child has quietly fallen into the pool water.  It happens… we lead busy lives with many distractions such as mobile phones that distract us.

You should supervise your under 5’s at all times and never allow them to play around the pool without active arms length supervision. Moreover, installing a compliant pool barrier is also vital to restrict the access of your kids into the pool without you. Children are attracted to water, but must learn that a secure fence is there to protect innocent youngsters from the dangers of getting into trouble in the water. Many pool owners are unable to identify the difference between a compliant and a non compliant pool fence as they are not familiar with the Regulations and Standards that apply to their pool. Our advice to contact our Accredited Certifier to ensure that your pool enclosure is compliant.

Check out our Pool Safety Checklist for Kids.

Pool Safety Certificate Sydney

Registering your Pool on the Swimming Pool Register –
To register your swimming pool, just fill out the on line registration form by answering four simple questions about your property and swimming pool or spa.

If your pool fails to meet the pool fence standards –

The private certifier or local council will issue a non-compliance certificate if your pool fails to meet the pool fence standards. The purpose of a non-compliance certificate is simple – it allows home owners to market and potentially sell their property without rectifying the non-compliances first. The purchaser agrees to rectify all non-compliances and they have 90 days to do that before they are in breach of the terms of the non-compliance certificate. However the proviso is that the pool closure has not been deemed a Significant Risk to the Public.  Persons who have allowed their fencing to fall into disrepair, who have inadequate separation from the residence, the street or neighbouring properties would typically fall into this category.  You may be required to carry out certain rectification works in order to reduce the risk to Insignificant and our Certifier will explain that to you during the inspection.

Remember NSW laws says that all swimming pools and spas are required to be compliant. Just because you are selling does not mean you are totally exempt in fact your local council has a mandate to inspect every swimming pool in their area once in five years and they are out in force now, carrying out spot checks and issuing fines. However don’t expect your local council inspector to give you details of how to rectify your pool fencing so that you can achieve compliance as they generally will not. At POOL CERTIFY we ensure that you do know exactly how to rectify issue so we recommend you nominate and organise an inspection with us. Our Certifiers offer a premium inspection which includes a walk through with our Certifier to discuss the various options specific to your swimming pool enclosure, so that you can rectify with confidence and a full understanding of what you need to do. For example there is only one way to correctly extend the height of your Boundary Fence, yet many ways to do it incorrectly. Would you want to risk getting it wrong?

Checklist Item 1 – Pool and Boundary Fences

According to The Swimming Pool Regulations, your swimming pool should be surrounded by a sturdy and fully compliant pool barrier. As a swimming pool owner, you should understand that your pool fence should be at least 1200mm from finished ground level outside the enclosure. Where does that mean though? Can you identify if you pool fence actually does measure 1200mm and where to measure the height from? Many do not. In addition, any gaps below the fence or between the vertical rods must not exceed 100mm.

If you have a boundary fence which is also a part of the pool barrier, the height of the fence should be at least 1800mm measured from finished ground level at the base of the fence from your side of the fence (poolside – not from the neighbours’ side).  For pool owners with older pools be aware of Clause 30 & 31 of the Swimming Pools Regulation 2018.  These Clauses require pools built pre-2008 to be able to submit proof of continued compliance, with no changes made to the barrier configuration since construction and to be able to specifically confirm compliance on 31st August 2008, a date when you may not have owned the property.  As for boundary fence maintenance any gaps below the fence must be securely filled with compliant materials. Make sure you have an approved legible CPR sign securely and correctly installed near the shallow end of your pool.

Checklist Item 2 – Pool Gate

Your pool gate is required to be self-closing and self-latching from any position without manual force.  Slamming the gate shut is not the correct way to test a gate for closure. The gate must have a child-resistant latching device which is at least 1500mm above the ground level so that young children cannot reach the latching device. For glass fencing the gate release can be located at least 150mm below the top of the gate. In addition  the pool gate should open outwards from the pool so that kids cannot put a chair in front of the gate to reach the latch and then easily open the gate. Gates that are found incapable of self-closing and self-latching mean that your swimming pool is exposed not only to your family, but to visitors which may include persons interested in purchasing your home.  Take the time to learn how to re-tension your gate hinges, ensure support posts are plumb and secure and if necessary, replace the hinges so as to reduce your liability.  The most dangerous activity is propping the gate.   You might be surprised how often we see bricks, plant pots, chains, ties, hooks and other apparatus that are installed for this purpose.  This is a serious offence if an authority were to find these near your gate and it is an extremely dangerous habit.

Checklist Item 3 – Windows and Doors

If your pool enclosure has windows overlooking the pool area, they must not open more than 100mm. If you have a door from your Residence that opens directly into your pool enclosure, you need to seek guidance from an accredited certifier before you make any changes to your pool enclosure to rectify this.  Older pools with doors opening onto the pool will not comply under AS1926.1-2012. If you do not have compliant separation of the Residence from the swimming pool, you will need to comply with the current Standard; the right to comply with the older standard is lost.

Checklist Item 4 – Non-Climbable Zones (NCZ)

According to standard AS1926.1-2012 Standard, a Non-Climbable Zone is necessary to make sure that child’s access to the swimming pool is restricted. There are up to five non climbable zones and 1-2 clear zones within a pool enclosure.

For example, all swimming pools have a 900mm Non-Climbable Zone around the outside of the pool fence that extends in both an upward and downward direction. There shouldn’t be any potential footholds crested by object like gate hinges, chairs, shrubs, trees, ladders, pot plants, steps and other objects or changes in ground level that your kids can gain a foothold on.

Checklist Item 5 – Indoor Pools

Indoor pools have their own set of pool compliance regulations in NSW. Put simply, your pool should have an outward opening, self-closing, self-latching pool gate or door with a latching device which is at least 1500mm above the ground level. If there are any pet doors or wall openings, they mustn’t open more than 100mm. There are strict requirements for any windows that overlook an indoor pool, depend an upon the height of the window sill.

Certificate of Compliance Sydney

Relying on an Accredited Certifier for Pool Inspection –

E1 Accredited Certifiers are Public Officers who are authorised to inspect and check whether your swimming pool meets all the compliance standards proficiently. A Public Officer is engaged by the pool owner but is required to work in the public interest, which could mean the pool owner is asked to carry out works in order to comply. You should be aware that if the outcome of any inspection is not to your liking, this is not considered to be relevant and your inspector is legally obliged to issue you with a Notice to Comply. You may be asked to carry out works that you do not agree with however the authorities do not consider the pool owners viewpoints in the legislation.  Private Certifiers have no discretionary authority and are not permitted to apply discretion because the pool owners asks them to.  For further information on the roles and responsibilities of a pool owner and a private certifier, contact POOL CERTIFY, who can email you a Fair Trading Information Sheet.

Final Consideration –

Meeting all the swimming pool compliance requirements seems like a complex and difficult process. Many pool owners tell us their pool is compliant but they have failed to recognise the changes they have made over the years, such as building in BBQ’s, garden beds, adding a deck or making other significant changes such as replacing boundary fencing or installing a new glass barrier. To follow the NSW swimming pool regulations, you may well need the guidance of our professional certifiers, however we know from experience that having a safe and fully compliant pool is achievable. Our advice is to only make changes to your pool enclosure after you have met with our professional. Many pool owners rely on conversations with non-professionals and go ahead with changes first and find that they have made costly mistakes and still cannot be issued with a Compliance Certificate.  If you won’t see the value in engaging a professional, wait till you see how much the free advice from a neighbour or friend can cost you!

Working with our trustworthy Pool Compliance Inspectors at Pool Certify is recommended to achieve a compliant pool enclosure in Sydney.

For more information about our services, please visit our website at https://poolcertify.com.au/.

The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only. While we strive to offer accurate and up-to-date content, it is not intended to replace professional advice. The publisher of this article cannot be held liable for the creation of any new non-compliances, a failure to comply issued by this or any other inspector,  that may have resulted after reading and acting on the general information contained herein, or any damages, injuries, or losses that may result from the application of the information provided where the pool owner has not sought appropriate professional on-site advice prior to taking action.

Book your pool inspection today

You may also like
What is NCZ5 and what objects can be located in this zone
Let’s talk Gates – the No. 1 Failure to Comply
Let’s talk Custom Fencing Designs
Are you planning a New Swimming Pool

107 Responses

  1. Michael

    Hi Carol,

    Thanks so much for the quick reply. Yes, totally understood with your first point. I guess it doesn’t have to be a custom fence either, e.g. a black aluminium fence that plants can grow through (and it might have to be for budget reasons!).

    With the second point, I found another image by Fig Landscapes that shows the sort of plant I’m thinking of:
    https://www.figlandscapes.com.au/the-plot-1/875gmh90ijq3mo3skqku7gour5egoz

    This is near Byron (so in NSW), they have used Pennisetum ‘Nafray’, which is an ornamental grass, they’ve planted at the base of the fence on both the inside and the outside. I don’t think anyone could argue this grass is climbable – so would you sign this off as compliant?

    Good point about visibility. This part of the fence would be behind the pool, where no one would be supervising from anyway. We want to have a glass fence between the pool and the house for just this reason!

    Thanks again,

    Michael

  2. Michael

    Hi there, this website is amazing, thanks for the informative info!

    I live on a 1 acre property in NSW (Shoalhaven Council) and am going to install a new swimming pool well away the boundary and house. We are now in the process of designing the fence and surrounds. I love timber batten fences, particularly what Fiona Brockhoff does down in Victoria, with “soft” non-climbable plants growing through the battens – see here for some examples:
    https://fionabrockhoffdesign.com/neal/
    (ignore the examples with trees near the fence – I know they’re not compliant!!)

    I’m wondering if this sort of thing will be ok? The plants I’m thinking of would be more around 0.8-1m tall, with very soft, dense foliage and no branches bigger than 1cm (so totally unclimbable and couldn’t support more than half a kilogram, let alone a super strong toddler). I want to plant these plants on both the inside and outside of the fence so the fence is kind of hidden, like in Fiona’s examples above. Could you please provide some advice on how this could be doable?

    1. Carol

      Hi Michael, so let’s break down your enquiry into two distinct requirements as per AS1926.1-2012.
      1. Any pool barrier must meet the minimum requirements for strength and rigidity as per Section 3. Commercially available fences have been tested, inspected and sold as compliant.
      So any custom built fence will need to be engineered to meet these requirements.
      Once you have an acceptable design, an engineer would need to sign off on the design and the installation. That would be our requirement under Section 3 of the Standard.
      Our Inspector has tested many custom fences and most owners have had to go back to the drawing board, so ensure you do not built something that cannot be passed.
      Just because a style is popular does not equate to being compliant as a pool barrier.

      2. As for vegetation, I’m not sure where you are getting your information from and I’m not sure what photo you are referring to that is showing “unclimbable” plants.
      It does sound like you have been reading the Queensland Standard, which does allow “soft” “leafy” plants with thin branches. But plants and therefore branches do grow.
      In NSW that is not the case under the prevailing Standard although that could change in the future.
      Vines for example could be thought as unclimbable, yet they form climbable points and grow thicker over time to the point that they are the size of a fist.
      I’ve looked at Fiona’s website and found one image of that style of pool fence with vegetation up against it, that actually engulfs the base of the fence.
      It’s possible that the plants would be deemed “finished ground Level” and therefore have compromised the fence height by being in the 500mm Exclusion Zone.

      Clause 2.2.1 States that the height and radius of the arc of all NCZ’s (other than NCZ4) shall not be less than 900mm. Within an NCZ there shall be no footholds or handholds,
      objects or plants that will facilitate climbing.
      Therefore if you plant vegetation in the NCZ’s what test are you assuming would be conducted by the Inspector? We are unaware of any standardised test and none is stated in the Standard.
      You would then be relying on the personal view of the Inspector who is going to be asked to sign off.
      We would suggest that you seek out an Inspector who holds the same view as yourselves with respect to this Clause.
      Bear in mind that the safety of young children in the pool area is likely to be compromised when plants obscure the view of the pool.
      Children are more often than not gaining access through a faulty gate but cannot be seen in the pool area when the fencing is obscured.

  3. Tony

    I am planning a new pool but I’ve been given very little information about size and placement of the pool by my PCA. In fact to the point where I think I’m about to make a big mistake. Are there any rules or guidelines for pool placement?

    1. Carol

      Absolutely Tony, there are a number of pitfalls as well as certain rules that I would suggest you follow. I’ve seen so many owners make costly mistakes, including some that cannot be fixed. The biggest error is in choosing the size of the pool and then where to position it.
      Compliance of the fencing is obviously a consideration and if you do not know how to identify the areas of concern, then errors can be made. The other is receiving no warning from your pool builder about earth-bonding. I would suggest to seek out our Inspector to assist you either by video chat or email us your plans.

  4. Sarah Kevin

    Hi there, our raised balcony fence will serve as our pool fence. The base of our balcony is 1 m from the ground where the pool is. Can you please tell me how high the balcony fence should be from the base of the balcony? Thank you

    1. Carol

      Hi Sarah, If your balcony fence is being used to form a part of the pool barrier, then as with any other barrier on the property the height must measure a minimum of 1200mm from finished ground level at the base of the fence and within the 500mm Exclusion Zone to the outside. Objects on the balcony could create non compliances. I am assuming that your balcony is less than 1800mm from finished ground level poolside. Therefore your current fence is far too low to act as a pool barrier and is currently there as a safety railing. Bear in mind that this advice is general in nature only as our Inspector has not viewed your property. It could be that the fencing on the balcony cannot be made compliant even if to the correct height. As always, we recommend that you organise a site visit with an accredited Inspector so that you can receive and act on the right advice.

  5. Jody

    Thank you for all the helpful informative on your site. It got me started on understanding the requirements and identify some of the issues. Where else could I am getting that kind of information from an Inspector?
    My experience is that this type of help is not usually shared with pool owners so I thank you for that and for coming out to explain how to re-configure my fencing so that I can sell my home as compliant.

  6. Phoenix

    I’m in the process of sorting out a non compliant fence for a new house that I just bought. I’ve found a lot of useful help on this website, which is great as the original inspector did not give me much to go on. I’m very appreciative.

  7. Anne

    Hi I am currently building a new pool in nsw.

    It will be fenced on all 4 sides without any intersection with a boundary fence.

    We are looking to build a fence using welded wire mesh with 12mm openings and 100x100mm wood posts.

    If the mesh is attached to the external side of the posts and the post sit on the internal pool side will the posts interfere with the 300mm minimum gap required between the barrier and pool.

    Would we need an engineering certificate if we built this fence ourselves or had a builder install it. Providing it met the minimum fence requirements. Or do we need to by a fence already deemed to meet the standards.

    Thank you for any advice or even if you could point me the right direction to find further info.

    1. Carol

      Hi Anne, any fencing material that is not sold as a compliance fence for use with a pool may be subjected to strength and rigidity testing. It might be prudent to have the panel design checked out by the Registered Inspector you would be engaging to sign off on the completed fencing.

  8. M OBrien

    Hi,

    We have a concrete plunge pool that’s about 1400-1500mm above ground, with no climbable objects near it. Do we still need to have a fence all the way around it?

    Thank you for your time.

    1. Carol

      To be able to give you information we would need to know the State that the pool is located in. We would recommend you read the details of the DA determination as this should give you the requirements in your State. I would also suggest to ask yourselves how to plan to enter a pool such as you have described. For example are you using a ladder or building a set of stairs ?

  9. Kelly

    I recently hired a contractor to do some repairs to the pool fencing and was astounded to find out that the works were not deemed compliant by the Inspector. What can I do now?

    1. Carol

      Hi Kelly, Sorry to hear that. Can I say that our recommendation is to provide any tradesman with a copy of the Notice to Comply that would have been issued by your Inspector. If you were not issued with a detailed scope of works, you would need to instruct the tradesman yourself and this can be a risk. I would suggest to reach out to your Inspector and seek guidance moving forward. Alternatively you can elect to choose any other Inspector to work with to ensure that the works will be constructed in a compliant manner.

    1. Carol

      Good question Kelsey. There are rules that do need to be followed before you try to improve the look of a boundary fence. Firstly the boundary fence itself must be constructed to a 1800mm minimum height measured from finished ground level poolside. If yours is too low, it must be increased which may require replacement anyway, resolving the “ugly” component. If built to the correct minimum height, then yes you can cover the fencing with a smooth covering. No climbable points are permitted in NCZ5 though. So a smooth board would be suitable. You could then paint on a mural or similar if that is your thing. We do not recommend installing anything decorative without seeking professional advice.

  10. Jasmine

    I want to thank you for offering this kind of information to pool owners.
    I’ve found it very difficult to get any reliable information from the regulatory bodies so much appreciate your willingness to share information.

  11. Complying with pool fencing regulations is paramount for safety. The risks involved in having a non-compliant pool fence are far too great to ignore. The importance of obtaining a Compliance Certificate cannot be overstated. It’s not just about avoiding penalties; it’s about ensuring a secure environment for everyone, especially children. A thorough understanding of the regulations is crucial, whether you’re a property owner, seller, or potential buyer. Consulting with experts like POOL CERTIFY is a wise move.

    1. Carol

      Bear in mind that in NSW a Compliance Certificate is not essential when selling your property. However in a buyers market, your purchaser and their lender will likely require it. Otherwise it is difficult for buyers to know what the rectification costs might be so they tend to be very wary of taking on repairs.

    1. Carol

      Hi Louie,
      There is no minimum width stated in the current Standard for a Gate. I will say that a gate cannot be a double gate.
      A gate that is self-built for example may require an engineering Certificate.
      A gate leading out to a public area or neighbours property is not permitted.
      Otherwise, as long as it meets all the other criteria for a compliant gate, there is no mention of width.

  12. Liam

    I am installing my pool gate at the bottom of a set of stairs that lead into my pool area . What are the requirements , for example if a child stands on the bottom step and attempts to reach around the and unlock the gate ?

    1. Carol

      So to clarify, the pool gate AND the barrier are at a lower level to the pool?
      There is a set of steps INSIDE the enclosure and these steps lead up to an out-of-ground pool ? This is the assumption from the information provided.
      You are asking about the minimum height of the latch from finished ground level ? That height is 1500mm from FGL.
      You don’t provide the height or location of the step in relation to the pool fence or the gate release mechanism.
      You will need enough clearance from raised ground levels located poolside depending on their height.
      The steps have the potential to affect barrier height as well as the latch height.
      If you are thinking that the steps may be in Non Climbable Zone 4 this article may clarify.
      https://www.poolcertify.com.au/what-is-the-300mm-clear-zone-and-can-objects-be-located-within-it/

  13. David Fub

    I’ve just had Council come out to inspect my Swim Spa. They’ve asked me to fence the Spa when it already has a lockable lid. Why?

    1. Carol

      Compliance for a spa pool can generally be achieved by relying on lockable straps, however Swim Spas are problematic for two reasons. One is that the segmented sections require additional straps to pass the lift test. Secondly the wording of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 determines what is a Spa Pool. A pool is for swimming and a spa has seats and jets and as such you cannot swim in it. When you swim against jets, it is still swimming and not a spa pool and therefore may not be eligible for an Exemption under Section 20 of the Act. Therefore Council may require you to fence it and that would be advised to you as a part of the DA process. If you did not apply for a DA for the swim spa, then that could be a problem for you as they can check their records for approval for the swim spa to be on your property. We hope you do have approval.

  14. WilliamCak

    Great information but I do have a question about screening materials. I don’t quite understand why I can’t cover up my ugly boundary fence? Is there a right way to do that?

    1. Carol

      Absolutely there is. First of all you need a robust boundary fence built to a minimum height of 1800mm. If you do want to cover it up, either because its ugly or because an Inspector has asked you to cover all the horizontal railings, then just use a smooth material. That smooth material must itself be robust as it will be attached to the boundary fencing and acting as such. Example shown in this Post
      https://www.poolcertify.com.au/why-are-screening-materials-problematic/

  15. Joe

    I am hearing about changes to the Legislation that might affect my pool compliance?
    Could you confirm that all pools now need to comply with AS1926.1-2012.

    1. Client Services

      That’s right Joe. The Swimming Pools Regulation 2018 requires pool owners to have held continuous compliance or be assessed under AS1926.1-2012.
      For owners of older pools, that will likely mean an upgrade of the pool fencing could be required.
      Have you read our latest post on improving your pool safety prior to an inspection.
      We recommend to all pool owners to carry out a check for reliable gate closure as this is by far the most common defect. https://www.poolcertify.com.au/people-also-ask-about-pool-compliance/

  16. HilaryKosta

    I have been quoted to build an infinity pool but I am wondering if I have to fence it all around? I live in NSW. Could you give me some advice.

  17. Clark

    In regards to NCZ 2, there is a minimum distance along FGL of 500mm to objects, structures or landscaping. Does this still apply if your pool fence is 1400mm high? I have my deck outside pool area, butted up to the glass pool fence. The deck is raised off the ground 180mm but to maintain the 1200 height I have installed 1400mm glass panels… I am yet to get it inspected and certified.

    1. So NCZ2 and the 500mm Exclusion Zone are 2 different zones outside a pool barrier.
      Objects in the 500mm Exclusion Zone may reduce barrier height.
      So if you have a 1400mm high barrier, you could have an object at its base of 200mm in height
      and still maintain a 1200mm high barrier.
      The 900mm Non Climbable Zone is measured from the top of the barrier in a downward arc.
      The two zones do intersect. NCZ 2 would not be the issue for small objects at the base of the fence.
      I hope that helps answer your question.

  18. Sean

    Hi,

    I am trying to understand what the height requirements of a boundary fence is immediately outside of the pool area.

    Where we are proposing to install our pool, there is a step in the height of our boundary fence where the 1.2m pool fence will meet it. Basically what this means is, inside the pool area, the fence is 1.8m from FGL, but immediately outside the pool area, the boundary fence is 1.6m from FGL, due to the step in the fence height.

    I haven’t seen any requirement for the fence to be 1.8m outside. Just the 90cm non climbable zone from the top of the 1.2m fence. I am not sure how the 1.6m fence would be treated with respect to this. Obviously the top of the fence is within the 90cm arc, but so is the top of a 1.8m boundary fence.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    1. Yes you are correct in identifying this defect. The reason is that the upper surface of the boundary fencing is in NCZ3 of the pool barrier.
      To remove the climbable point from NCZ3 an acceptable fix is to maintain the minimum 1800mm fence height for a further 900mm past the intersection.
      Agreed that NCZ3 should technically end at a height of 2100mm however this is the accepted fix.

  19. Craig

    We all know that pool safety standards are necessary to guarantee the well-being of everyone, especially youngsters, surrounding swimming pools. This blog post gives vital information on complying with the pool fencing standards that I could not find elsewhere. The information is well-researched and underlines the necessity of following to these standards to prevent accidents and guarantee a safe swimming environment. The author has done an excellent job of clarifying the standards and providing practical advice for pool owners to meet the criteria.

    1. Carol

      Craig, your attitude to pool safety for all is much appreciated. Far too often pool owners contact us and advise “they just want a Certificate”. Sadly most make no effort to enquire what they can do prior to an inspection to achieve compliance, as they tend to think that having a fence is all that is required. The fence needs to comply though. Given that 98% of pools continue to fail on first inspection here are some tips for what to look for prior to having an Inspector attend. https://www.poolcertify.com.au/what-you-can-do-to-improve-your-chance-of-compliance/ Remember its a buyers market and your purchaser will expect Compliance. So will Council who are out and about doing spot checks.

  20. Al

    Hi,
    We have recently installed a pool and it has a 1.2m glass fence on three sides with the fourth side being a 1.8m colourbond boundary fence. We would like to build a nicer looking timber boundary fence inside the existing one. We are looking at hardwood screen panels sold by timber screens Australia.

    https://www.timberscreensaustralia.com.au/products/merbau-batten-screens-oiled-finish

    The panels vertical pieces of hardwood with horizontal battens holding them all together. These panels then attach to the fence frame. The spacing between vertical pieces of timber are 20mm but they also sell a special pool fence version with 8mmm spacing, I’m guessing so a child can’t get their hands in and potentially climb?

    My question is would either of these spacing options be compliant as a boundary fence within the pool area in NSW. The height would be 2.1m.

    1. Hi Al, please dont try to cover your boundary with a non compliant climbable screen or any other object in front of it. There is a 900mm Non Climbable Zone that must be kept clear of all scalable objects. A certifier will ask you to remove it. Clause 2.2.1 does not specify any depth for a finger hold and horizontal rails are a no-no. Only smooth materials can be attached to your boundary fencing.

  21. Sarah

    Our pool will be 1m off our property boundary fence. Can we plant a shrub/hedge in the space between the pool and the boundary fence and still be compliant? If so, is there a limit to how high we can allow that hedge to grow? We would like it to go above the boundary fence to provide privacy from our neighbours.

    1. Hi Sarah, that is not a lot of clearance for vegetation to be situated in between the pool and the boundary fence. Have a look at our blog post on NCZ5.
      Essentially any object within that zone is not compliant if it is scalable or reduces boundary height. To plant an 1800mm + hedge, you would need 900m separation from the boundary fence.

  22. Bernie

    Hi Team, thanks for providing this forum it is very helpful.

    Wishing to use a rear boundary fence which is fine as it complies to the 1,800mm at FGL etc. However, the pool will be constructed elevated between 200mm – 600mm from the FGL. There will be at least 500mm between the drop edge of the pool deck to the fence itself. Is this permissible or will i need to put another fence on top of the drop edge ?

    1. Hi Bernie,
      A minimum clearance of 500mm is fine as that keeps it out of the 500mm Exclusion Zone
      that applies to any Boundary Fence. Are you saying the pool edge will be out of the ground by 200mm-600mm?
      Are you constructing an out-of-ground pool rather than an inground pool. If so, then the BCA must be complied with.
      The height of the pool coping off the ground is a consideration though. Questions to ask your building certifier – Is this an out-of-ground pool configuration anywhere around the perimeter?
      What is preventing falls off the edge? Does the BCA require a safety railing to be installed?
      Will the safety railing intrude into the 500mm Exclusion Zone or NCZ5 the 900mm Non Climbable Zone? We can’t answer these as the BCA is the concern of the building certifier.

  23. Courtney

    Hi!
    Great article!
    Our pool has been deemed non compliant as the boundary fence is 1.5m due to a deck. The pool is pre 2008, and no changes have been made to the pool or the boundary fence, is there an exemption for that, or have I read it wrong? We are trying to gain compliance to rent the property out. It passed compliance 2 years ago when we bought it, and no changes have been made?

    1. Hi Courtney, The Swimming Pools Regulation 2018 requires that when any amendment is made to the Regulations whereby the reference is to an updated or new Standard, the child-resistant pool barrier must comply with the prescribed Standard on the date of the amendment (31st August 2008) and continuously comply thereafter with no changes made to any part of the fencing and obviously be compliant on the day of an inspection. Written substantive documented evidence would be required for any Inspector to be able to justify their assessment of the pool enclosure under the old superseded Standard. That is why you will be asked to comply with AS1926.1-2012.

    1. Yes Adam, that is correct. Lattice is not compliant as a boundary fence under AS1926.1-2012. A smooth surface with no projections/indentations or climbable points is required in NCZ5. If you already have this material installed it would need to be covered with a smooth covering material to remove all climbable points in NCZ5.

  24. Olivia

    Great website! I am wondering if it is possible to install an infinity pool on a sloping site in NSW (Central Coast)? Or is a fence required around the entire pool?

    1. An infinity pool in NSW is no longer permissible unless:
      1) An A1 or A2 Building Certifier or your local Council Inspector has approved it as a Performance Based Solution.
      This is a process that you may have already gone through, depending on when you built the pool.
      If you do have approval in writing, you would need to provide that written approval to any E1 Certifier such as ourselves.
      OR
      2) The pool is surrounded on all sides by a separate fence that is a separate structure and is not attached to the pool structure.
      If it does not have a separate fence, it does not meet the minimum requirements of the BCA as amended in 2011.

  25. Laurel

    Hi. Are there any regulations for the width of fence posts? E.g. can I use 100x100mm timber posts to mount my metal bar fence panel onto.
    I ava’s a friend mention they should be 50x50mm, but can’t find any information.

    1. You can use 100x100mm timber posts but the problem is the intersections with a boundary fence.
      If your pool fencing surrounds the pool on 4 sides then no problem.
      But when 50mm+ wide posts are located at the intersections they are within NCZ5 the 900mm NCZ of the boundary fence.
      To resolve, the posts at the intersection must match the height of the boundary fence to remove them from within NCZ5.

    2. Hi Laurel, you can have the fence posts as wide as you like however the problem arises when a surface with a width exceeding 50mm intersects with a boundary fence. It would be safer to go with 50mmx50mm.

  26. Rachael

    We need to extend the height of a boundary fence (and also address a horizontal beam that we have in the NCZ). Can this be done by attaching 1800mm vertical palings to our side of the fence that ultimately go higher than the existing boundary fence in some places? Is this likely to pass an inspection in NSW?

    1. When extending boundary height, vertical palings are a good option.
      Just make sure that the taller palings are supported behind.
      If you are only extending let’s say 100mm, support probably would be minimal – maybe a horizontal stabilising timber to the back.
      If going up more, a more substantial framework might be needed in order to provide sufficient stability to the taller palings.

  27. Em Webb

    Hi: our neighbour has put up a pool wall at least 3metres high made of soft wood in a BAL29 rated area with sheets of corrugated iron. It is attached to the house and the house forms another part of the pool wall. That part of the house has windows . The entire structure wobbles in the 90km plus winds we get through our fully.
    Our council is being seriously fractious about our complaint – what more can we do?

    1. We suggest you write to the General Manager of your Council and if that is not successful, some pool owners have complained to the Office of Local Government, or their local Member.

  28. Chris

    My perimeter boundary fence is 1800 high and my internal property pool fence is 1250 high, As this is only a difference of 550mm, does the 900mm arc from the top of the 1800 fence lead to certification failure. I am hoping I am reading this wrong but if not, it means I need a perimeter fence of 2150 high to cater for the 900mm no climb zone (or are internal property pool fences exempt from the 900 NCZ? Cheers.

    1. Hi Chris, The current Standard permits a pool fence to intersect with an 1800mm high boundary fence provided that the surface width of the pool fence does not exceed 50mm. So if you have the usual metal pool fencing that is around 48mm or thereabouts in width its not a problem If the pool fencing is a brick wall for example, then no it would not be permitted.

    1. For properties 2 hectares or larger, there is more leeway in what is deemed compliant. The age of the pool and whether changes have been made have to be considered when determining if a fence is required.

  29. Peter Lawrence

    Can you clarify something for me about a 1800 boundary fence used as the pool fence. If there is a hedge inside the fence is it compliant if the hedge is trimmed back 300mm from the fence and down 900mm from the fence top? Thanks.

    1. Hi Peter, Not quite, as we don’t know what Standard applied to your pool. For example, you may have an 1800mm high boundary fence but your pool has been assessed under the older Standard that has a 300mm clear zone poolside. If you are trying to comply with AS1926.1-2012, then there is a 500mm Exclusion Zone at the base of your boundary fence, so any objects including the hedging must not reduce effective boundary fence height if in this zone. The 900mm NCZ from the top of the fence is correct for this Standard, but does not apply to AS1926.1-1986.

    1. Hi Amanda, not in NSW no. Having said that Council can allow exemptions for certain configurations if they choose to.
      The reason that private certifiers like us cannot issue compliance for this type of pool is because in 2011 the legislation was changed so that a pool wall cannot form a pool barrier no matter how high it is. The pool must be surrounded by a separate fence that is at least 300mm away from the pool wall. So you could fence it and comply in NSW without having to seek out an exemption from Council (which is unlikely to be issued)

  30. Steve

    My pool is 50 years old, the boundary fence is part of the pool fence and is a 1500mm hardwood paling fence. We are looking to renew, my fencing contractor states that the new wooden paling fence must be 1800mm high and the palings must be on the pool side, can you confirm this is correct and if not please direct me to where it states this in the government legislation etc.

    Cheers Steve

    1. Pool Certify

      Hi Steve, Your fencing contractor is correct. All new Boundary Fencing for pools must comply with AS1926.1-2012 which requires an 1800mm High Fence, with no climbable points in the upper 900mm. Depending on whether your neighbour also has a pool, there is an etiquette generally followed regarding who has any horizontal railings on their side. This is resolved by both of you having vertical palings. If you do have railings on your side, they must be spaced 900mm minimum apart. Unfortunately all Standards are copyrighted by Standards Australia which prevents certifiers sharing this legislation. Some Councils have a copy in their library or visit Council and ask them to show you.

    2. Hi Steve,
      Unclear what part of that question is asking about the legislation. I’ve posted below the extract from the Swimming Pools Regulation 2008 that states that any changes made will impact the Standard applied to any pool enclosure. That means that if you install a new boundary fence it must measure 1800mm.
      As for where the railings go, it’s generally understood that if you had railings on your side initially, then the railings go on your side again.
      To resolve that, (as the railings may not comply) install vertical palings your side. What your fencer may not have advised you is that the entire enclosure would need to comply with AS1926.1-2012 once you change the Boundary Fence.
      Swimming Pools Regulation 2008 – Part 6 Clause 23
      Existing complying swimming pools may continue to comply with earlier standards, but note that this clause does not apply in relation to an outdoor swimming pool:
      – if the child-resistant barrier by which access to the swimming pool is restricted is substantially altered or rebuilt.
      – if the premises in which the swimming pool is situated are substantially altered or rebuilt in a way that affects the means of access to the swimming pool.

  31. Michael

    Hi, if a pool was installed pre 2008 can it have a self closing sliding door from the house to the pool area in NSW? I have tried to research this but I can’t seem to confirm if this is ok. I would greatly appreciate you explaining exactly what is ok in NSW if you have a sliding door leading into a pool area. Thanks so much in advance.

  32. Brett

    We have a rural property and installing an inground pool, It will be located in front of our large deck which is about 2.5 metres off the ground which is completely secured with no access underneath. Are we allowed to use the front portion of the deck as fencing?

    1. Put simply the requirements for a new pool are that it be surrounded by a pool barrier. Your plans may be ok but we cannot determine that any other way than to see the proposed site and existing structures.

  33. josh@europools.com.au

    Thanks for sharing information about complying with the NSW pool fencing regulations in 2020. I loved your blog and thanks for publishing this!! I am really happy to come across this exceptionally well written content. Thanks for sharing and look for more in future!!

  34. Mazie

    Thanks David Even though my pool was not compliant on its first inspection, thanks to your on-site help and a very comprehensive report highlighting the changes required, I am happy to now have a compliant enclosure. I can say to others that pool compliance can be complex and mistakes make during the construction of the enclosure will show up later when inspected and you then need professional advice on how to fix those problems. If you want more than just a non compliance certificate, you will find David very helpful and he responds quickly to any questions. I can recommend his services to others.

  35. Nancy Smithson

    I have to say pool compliance is more complicated that I thought. I knew I had a fence around the pool but wasn’t aware of all the non-climbable zones. Now I can see exactly what I need to do thanks to David’s time on site to explain all this to me.

  36. I am so happy I found your blog and I absolutely love your information on complying with the nsw pool fencing regulations in 2020. I liked and it is wonderful to know about so many things that are useful for all of us! Thanks a lot for this amazing blog!! I agree with all your points that you have stated here, love this blog. They offer same information here Poolpac.co.nz one must check them also.

  37. I am so happy I found your blog and I absolutely love your information about pool fencing regulations and the tips you have shared are awesome. I liked and it is wonderful to know about so many things that are useful for all of us! Thanks a lot for this amazing blog!!

  38. Earnest Lofink

    Superb post however , I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Appreciate it!

  39. Trent Nelles

    Admiring the time and effort you put into your site and in depth information you provide. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed information. Great read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  40. Thanks for the tip that signs for CPR procedure are often required when getting a swimming pool safety fencing Certifier to inspect it. I recently bought a property with a pool so this is most helpful.

    1. Pool Certify

      We appreciate that Georgio! I would warn pool owners that if you do not hold a Compliance Certificate for your pool or spa in Sydney, to get informed about what is required for a compliant pool enclosure.

    2. Pool Certify

      If you are a pool owner, I suggest you contact us to organise a pool inspection so that you can rest assured that the pool is compliant with NSW laws.
      Pool owners who do not have compliance are self-insured if there were to be an accident or incident in the pool

  41. Ed Birtwell

    I would like to point out my respect for your generosity supporting women who actually need help with this. These valuable guidelines can mean a lot a person like me so thanks.

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