New NSW Legistlation for Swimming Pools 2012
The Swimming Pools Act 2012
In 2012, a comprehensive 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.
- NSW Swimming Pools Register available for use by 29 April 2013
- NSW Swimming pools to be registered by owners by 29 October 2013
- Pool owners require a compliance certificate before sale or lease of their property from 29 April 2014
Learn more from the Division of Local Government website
The Swimming Pool Act 1992 first commenced on 1 August 1992. The following general summary provides an indication of the various fencing provisions that apply depending upon the installation date of the pool.
Installation prior to 1 August 1990
Swimming pools must be either surrounded by a pool fence that separates the pool from any residential building on the premises, or alternatively, access to the pool area must be restricted at all times by fencing, or 'child resistant' barriers must be provided to all doors and windows which provide access to the pool area.
Installation after 1 August 1990
Swimming pools must be surrounded by a pool fence that is separated from any residential building on the premises or from any place (whether private or public) adjoining the premises.
Installation after 1 July 2010
The Swimming Pools Act 1992 permitted various automatic exemptions for swimming pools installed on small lots (< 230m2), large lots (> 2 hectares) and in locations where the pool adjoined a large water body. The Swimming Pools Amendment Act 2009 has since removed these automatic exemptions. The amendments provide for a delayed commencement with pools for which construction or installation has commenced before 1 July 2010 retaining the automatic exemption. All new private pools constructed in NSW after 1 July 2010 must be enclosed by a four-sided, child resistant barrier.
Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in very young children. Many of these deaths could be prevented by ensuring that the pool is enclosed by an appropriate swimming pool fence that is properly maintained at all times. Particular attention should be given to ensure that access points into the pool enclosure are self closing and self latching from any open position and that the latching devices are working correctly.
Is my spa / portable pool / wading pool required to be fenced?
The Swimming Pools Act defines a swimming pool as meaning an excavation, structure or vessel:
- that is capable of being filled with water to a depth of 300 millimetres or more; and
- that is solely or principally used, or that is designed, manufactured or adapted to be solely or principally used, for the purpose of swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity, and includes a spa pool, but does not include a spa bath, anything that is situated within a bathroom or anything declared by the regulations not to be a swimming pool for the purposes of this Act.
If you have or wish to install a swimming pool then you must ensure that it is at all times surrounded by a child-resistant barrier that separates the swimming pool from any residential building situated on the premises and from any place (whether public or private) adjoining the premises. The barrier must be designed, constructed, installed and maintained in accordance with the specified standards.
A spa pool is not required to be surrounded by a child-resistant barrier so long as access to the water contained in the spa pool is restricted, in accordance with the standards prescribed by the regulations, at all times when the spa pool is not in actual use.
The laws provide Council with the powers to issue directions to comply with the swimming pool legislation and to issue penalty notices and commence legal action where landowners and occupiers fail to comply with the requirements and relevant directions.
The current applicable fencing enclosure construction standards are regulated by the Swimming Pool Fencing Regulation 2008 which calls up Australian Standard 1926.1-2007 Swimming Pool Safety, Part 1.
To check if your pool meets the requirements, you can apply to Council for a Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate (go to the top of this page for the form).
Clause 10 of the Swimming Pool Regulation 2008 requires that an appropriate notice be displayed within the pool enclosure with the notice to incorporate the following words:
- YOUNG CHILDREN SHOULD BE SUPERVISED WHEN USING THIS SWIMMING POOL; and
- POOL GATES MUST BE KEPT CLOSED AT ALL TIMES; and
- KEEP ARTICLES, OBJECTS AND STRUCTURES AT LEAST 900 MILLIMETRES CLEAR OF THE POOL FENCE AT ALL TIMES.
The notice is also required to incorporate a simple flow sequence (which may be the flow sequence depicted in the Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Guideline) containing details of resuscitation techniques (for infants, children and adults).
A weatherproof sign can be purchased from Council for $20. Simply come into Council's main Administration Building to purchase.
Learn more from this simple brochure on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
The following links can be used to obtain further information in relation to the swimming pool fencing requirements that apply to your property:
- Swimming Pool Laws (PDF document)