We’ve responded to over 800 questions on our Live Chat over the past 7 years. There’s been some curly questions put to our Client Services Team, who are trained to answer simple questions relating to the Regulations surrounding selling or leasing your home with a pool, but many of these questions are extremely specific and require advice that is delivered on site as per Certifiers Code of Ethics. We’d like to be able to help clarify all your questions as we know there is a lack of education from local Councils and Regulators. However for these types of concerns pool owners can only rely on advice from a Registered Pool Inspector who has visited your home and viewed your pool on site. Comments are for general information only and cannot replace a site visit by an Inspector.
We’d like to share some of the most frequently asked questions posed to Client Services.
You will find our responses will refer you back to Legislation or to another post that goes into the query in more detail by sharing examples with images. What we can’t do is provide personalised responses that you can rely on. Our Certifier is bound by a code of ethics meaning that for him to stand by any personalised response, he must have carried out an on site inspection of your pool fencing, so be aware that our response may lead to further questions on your part that can only be answered by our Inspector.
Questions relating to a previous failed inspection by another Inspector
We get a lot of these – this one is fairly typical.
Question: Our pool was built in 1994 and we bought the house in 2014. Our local council inspected our pool enclosure yesterday as part of their ongoing programme. We had a verbal non-compliance decision by council and are awaiting their report but the part we don’t understand is that our boundary fence complies as far as the height is concerned but there is a very high hedge up against the fence and vegetation, palm trees etc close to the fence. The council have said that we need to put an additional fence round the pool as the boundary fences do not comply. Are you able to advise?
- We would advise you to choose one certifier and stick with their advice.. However if you don’t wish to deal with Council moving forward, you can engage any Registered Swimming Pool Inspector but we suggest you wait for the Notice from Council as you may receive an answer to your question.
Question: For a pool built prior to 2008 do you measure the pool fence from the inside or outside ? I know you measure back fence from the inside but it’s just the surrounding pool fence I’m worried about I just had Council come here and measure from inside around pool fence and boundary.
What the Regulations say: Pool barrier height it is measured from outside as being 1200mm minimum. It is also measured from surfaces or objects inside where NCZ4 is present. Ask Council to explain to you, or refer to the Notice that they issued to you.
Questions relating to new pools not yet approved
Question: We’re building a home and planning for a pool and we intended to use our rear boundary as part of the pool fence. The other side of our boundary has since been built up significantly higher than our ground level with a retaining wall however the wall sits inside the other properties boundary so we cannot put the fence on the wall. Will we comply if we put our fence on our boundary and the retaining wall is higher on the other side of the fence?
- With the absence of a site inspection by a Registered Swimming Pool Inspector we can only provide you with the relevant regulations to maintain an 1800mm high boundary fence.
- What is going on on the neighbours side is no longer relevant to your compliance, having changed in 2013 with the introduction of AS1926.1-2012. Your boundary fence is required to measure a minimum of 1800mm from finished ground level poolside. Finished ground level is any horizontal surface or change in ground level within the 500mm Exclusion Zone, such as raised garden beds, retaining wall (unless it does not project out or create footholds) intersecting retaining wall or raised hob, pool filtration equipment and so on.
- If you do not have a thorough understanding of all the requirements of your planned pool enclosure then we would recommend you seek advice from a professional so that the entire construction is built to be compliant. If you are concerned, feel free to organise a site visit with our Registered Swimming Pool Inspector prior to committing to placement and design..
Further Question: Our boundary is 140mm off the wall on the neighbouring property which is technically where we have to put our fence. We can’t fence on the wall as not on the boundary as we first assumed it would be.
Our Response: Your query goes beyond the Legislation as you are essentially asking me to confirm that you have identified the correct boundary line. We suggest you provide our Inspector with a survey plan that does identify the property line and discuss with him on site. That way you can rely on the advice provided.
Questions about expired compliance – usually asking if Certification can be issued without any inspection.
Question: My pool compliance certificate has expired. do I need another inspection? Nothing has changed to the pool or property in the past 3 years.
What the Regulations say: An expired Compliance Certificate can only be renewed following an inspection by a Registered Swimming Pool Inspector. Previous compliance, despite your confirmation that nothing has changed, does not equate to compliance on this occasion. There could be maintenance issues as described here https://www.poolcertify.com.au/what-you-can-do-to-improve-your-chance-of-compliance/.
Question: I just had Council out here to renew my expired Compliance buy they issued a Non Compliance Certificate. Why?
Our Response: Firstly we would recommend you ask the Council Inspector why, or wait for them to send you the Notice to Comply.
What the Regulations say: If you do not agree with that assessment you are entitled to seek a second opinion from any Registered Swimming Pool Inspector.
Question: spoke to the staff one week ago and would like to check with you about the rough guide regarding the fence requirement. Attached are the photos towards the pool.
Our Response: Our Client Services Team are unable to offer you any comment whatsoever on your photos. It would be unethical. We will be happy to send you a Checklist for AS1926.1-2012 however it is as prepared by the Regulatory Body and is quite basic and not conclusive. If you are selling or leasing the property we suggest you book in a formal inspection.
Questions about interpreting the Legislation and applying that to an existing pool.
Question: If I install a Colorbond fence as a pool/boundary fence at 1500 mm with a 300mm Colorbond height extension , does that then comply with standards ?
What the Regulations say: The height would comply if you are correctly measuring the fencing of course. However depending on the type of extension material and how it is attached to the top of the existing fencing, your Inspector may determine that climbable points have been created in NCZ5. https://www.poolcertify.com.au/what-is-ncz5-and-what-objects-can-be-located-within-this-zone/ . We recommend to increase height from the ground up for a ColorBond fence – its a much safer option.
Question: General confusion about pool gates. Such as must they open away from the pool?, I checked mine and its fine but my inspector failed it, why? Why can’t I have a double gate? What can I build a gate out of? Why does the gate latch need shielding? and so on.
What the Regulations say: AS1926.1-2012 Clause 2.4 requires gates to be self-closing and self-latching; have security of gate closure, correct height and/or shielding of the latch; hinges at least 900mm apart and constructed such that they comply with all the requirements of the Standard. It is up to your Registered Swimming Pool Inspector to interpret and apply the Standard when he inspects. We would advice against building your own gate as you may be asked to provide an engineering certificate in some cases. The gate unit will undergo a series of tests during the inspection. The main failure to comply is that the gate cannot demonstrate security of closure. It cannot be slammed shut, then bounce out of the latch. It cannot be a double gate. It cannot be slammed at all; that is not how a gate is tested. You’ll find several examples of how to test your gate here. https://www.facebook.com/PoolCertify/ Glass Gates require the latch to be shielded within a 450mm radius; that means no gaps exceeding 10mm.https://www.poolcertify.com.au/is-your-glass-gate-latch-correctly-shielded/
Question: our pool deck is attached to an existing verandah. The fence to access the pool area will be on the existing verandah..Can we attach the pool fence panels to the vertical posts of the verandah or do the posts have to be inside the pool area?
What the Regulations say: The 900mm Non Climbable Zones NCZ2 & NCZ3 apply to all pool barriers. Providing the posts have the appropriate Non Climbable Zones observed and without any information to the contrary, specifically about the deck as we have no idea whether that is a part of your query. Given that you are installing a new fence there could be a requirement to upgrade the entire pool enclosure to AS1926.1-2012 which you may not have considered. For example the deck position could impact the boundary fence height. We recommend a site visit to ensure that what is constructed will be compliant.
Questions relating to Old Superseded Standards
Question: Can I replace an existing pool certified door?
What the Regulations say: As Swimming Pool Inspectors we are not legally permitted to provide any sort of advice about earth-bonding other than to say that the legislation exists. Whilst it is mandatory for metal pool fencing and components pool owners should discuss with a licensed and experienced electrician. It is not as yet a part of pool fencing compliance, despite being mandatory legislation. Fair Trading advises that a Pool Inspector cannot provide specific technical advice for obvious reasons. Apologies to the many concerned pool owners who cannot find an experienced electrician or find information from the National Electrical & Communications Association.
You can ensure your pool enclosure is compliant by working with our trustworthy Pool Compliance Inspectors at Pool Certify. For more information, please visit our website at https://poolcertify.com.au/.