Maintenance of pool fences and safety barriers is essential to reduce the number of immersion injuries and drowning of young children in swimming pools.  Pool owners are responsible for ensuring pool barriers are maintained and that damaged fencing or barriers are fixed immediately.

Pool fences and safety barriers commonly fail because:

  • the gates are not self-closing and self-latching from all points
  • the height of the pool safety barrier is less than 1200 millimetres because ground levels and garden beds have increased or grown over time and have, therefore, reduced the height of the pool barrier
  • the adjoining boundary fences have climable rails
  • the windows opening into the pool enclosure are openable with more than a 100 millimetre gap
  • there are climbable objects near the pool safety barrier.

There are a number of easy fixes to help ensure your pool safety barrier or fence complies:

  • replace, tighten or adjust the hinges on your gates
  • make sure the pool safety barrier height is 1200 millimetres from bottom to top
  • trim back any vegetation or branches that a child could use to climb over the pool safety barrier
  • shield or remove climbable objects within 900 millimetres of the pool safety barrier
  • install permanently fixed security screens on windows that open into the pool enclosure
  • remove climbable objects from the pool safety barrier and surrounding areas.

Replacing damaged, demolished or removed portions of a fence of barrier

If a substantial portion of a pool fence or barrier is damaged, demolished or removed, it must be replaced with a new pool safety barrier. The new safety barrier must comply with the current standard.

If a small part of the safety barrier has fallen into a state of disrepair, for example where palings, hinges or latches need to be replaced, the barrier may be repaired to the same standard that applies to the existing pool safety barrier up until the end of the five year phase-in to comply with the new pool safety standard, unless the property is sold or leased earlier.

Certain work for pool safety barriers, such as an entire new fence, requires a building development approval from either the Local Government or a private building certifier before the work can begin.  A building development approval is generally not required for minor work, such as adjusting a gate latch, however minor work must still comply with the pool safety standard.

Some pool safety inspectors are licensed to perform minor repair work.

Responsibilities

Owners of swimming pools

The pool owner is generally the owner of the land.  The owner of the property is responsible for ensuring that the pool safety barrier is compliant.

Tenant renting property with a swimming pool

Tenants are responsible for ensuring that the gate is kept closed and that there are no objects that would allow or assist children to access the pool.

If a person renting a property buys a pool that requires pool safety barriers, the owner of the pool must ensure the pool is a compliant pool safety barrier.

swimming pool safety guideline is available to assist with pool safety requirements.

Further Information

Further information about pool safety requirements can be obtained by contacting Council, the Department of Housing and Public Works or Standards Australia.