Under the Swimming Pools Act 1992 (NSW) the owner of a swimming pool has the responsibility to ensure that the pool is at all times surrounded by a complying child-resistant pool fence or safety barrier.
Pool fences must be maintained in a good state of repair as an effective and safe barrier restricting access to the pool.
In 2012 a comprehensive state review of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 was finalised. This review identified a number of amendments designed to enhance the safety of children under the age of five years around private ('backyard') swimming pools in NSW.
As a result of this review the Swimming Pools (Amendment) Act 2012 commenced on 29 October 2012.
The Swimming Pools (Amendment) Act 2012 requires:
There is a penalty for owners who fail to register a swimming pool (penalty notice amount of $220).
Accredited certifiers under the Building Professional Act 2005 may conduct swimming pool inspections initiated by the pool owner.
Visit www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au to register your pool.
Further information on the new legislation is available here.
For a fee, Council can perform a barrier inspection on your pool and issue a Compliance Certificate once satisfied that the swimming pool barrier complies with the applicable requirements.
This Certificate is valid for a period of three (3) years, provided the barrier remains compliant. Please ensure your pool has been successfully registered and self-assessed using the checklists on the NSW Swimming Pool Register before lodging this application form.
Click here to access the Certificate of Compliance for Swimming Pool Barrier application form
The following requirement apply to gates in pool fences or safety
Spa pools are also covered by the legislation and should be separated by a child-resistant pool safety barrier in accordance with Australian Standard AS1926.1-2007. Alternatively, the spa pool must be covered and secured by a lockable child-safe structure (such as a door, lid, grille or mesh). Such lockable structure must be able to be removed/installed and locked by a single person.
All pools require a resuscitation chart or warning notice to be displayed in a prominent position in the immediate vicinity of the pool.
The following warning statements must be contained within the resuscitation sign:
The resuscitation sign must be:
Resuscitation/warning signs are available for purchase from the Non-Government Organisations listed below.
Any approved sign erected between 1 September 1995 and 31 August 2008 does not require replacement and may be retained. However, it is recommended that signs more than three years old be replaced, due to changes in best practice resuscitation techniques.
Exemptions currently exist for some existing pools based on the age and location of the pool, however, the council recommends all pools be upgraded to comply with current requirements.
This exemption applies to pools built prior to 1 August 1990 and pools on small properties less than 239 m2 in area (non-waterfront properties) built prior to 1 July 2010. The owner may choose to comply with the general requirements or utilise the option not to separate the pool from the residential buildings, provided access to the pool from the residential buildings (i.e. doors, windows, openings) is at all times restricted in accordance with AS1926.1-2007. The pool must still be separated from adjoining public or private properties by approved child-resistant barriers.
This exemption applies to pools on properties that have a frontage to a large body of water built prior to 1 July 2010 and pools on properties having an area of 2 hectares or more built prior to 1 July 2010. The owner may choose to comply with the general requirements or opt not to surround the pool by a child-resistant barrier so long as access to the pool from any residential building (i.e. doors, windows, openings) is at all times restricted in accordance with AS1926.1-2007.
Note – Where child-resistant doors are used under the above exemptions, such doors must have a latch that is a minimum 1.5-metres above the floor; be self-closing and self-latching; be capable of being opened from either side of the door and must be in the closed and latch position at all times except when actually passing through the door opening.
The Conveyancing (Sale of Land) Regulation 2010 requires an owner of a property on which a swimming pool is situated to ensure that the pool complies with the requirements of the Swimming Pools Act 1992.
The owner of a premises can apply to Council for a Certificate of Compliance under s 24 of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and this is the only document that can be relied on to ensure that a swimming pool complies.
From 29 April 2016 owners will be required to have a valid Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate before they sell or lease a property.
The relevant legislation and standards for pool safety are:
This depends on when your pool was built.
If your pool was built before 1 August 1990 then you do not have to have a swimming pool fence as such, but the pool MUST be isolated from access from the street or from adjoining properties. The pool does not have to be separated from any residential building on the land provided the means of access from the building to the pool is restricted at all times.
If your pool was built after 1 August 1990, then you are required to have a child resistant pool fence that complies with Australian Standard 1926-1986 “Fences and Gates for Swimming Pools”.
If your pool was built after 1 September 2009, then you are required to have a child resistant pool fence that complies with Australian Standard 1926-2007 “Fences and Gates for Swimming Pools”.
Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1987, it is usually the landlord's responsibility for providing and maintaining the premises in a reasonable state of repair, however the tenant is not to intentionally or negligently damage the premises and the tenant must notify the landlord of any damage.
Your local Council is responsible for the enforcement of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and can advise on the standards required. Councils can grant exemptions from the requirements of the Act in certain circumstances. There is a right of appeal against a refusal to grant an exemption.
Owning and operating a home pool or spa is in some respects no different from running a public pool. You are still aiming to provide a safe, clean environment for your family and friends. The major issue for you as a pool owner is children – your own, your friends and your neighbours. If you own a pool you should consider the following safety issues:
In order to maintain your pool at the standard of cleanliness to prevent infections and disease, you will need to sanitise the water. In most home pools this is done using a pump, a series of filters and chemical treatment of the water. There are a number of simple safety issues you should remember when using and handling chemicals, these include:
If your pool fails a water test at any stage DO NOT allow anyone to swim in it until it is corrected.
It is in the public interest. The Regulatory Impact Statement of the proposed Swimming Pools Regulation 2008 sets out the reasons why the NSW Government regulates swimming and spa pools.