Splash out on pool safety

10 October 2019

Being around water is part of everyday Australian life and, for many, that is based around a swimming pool in their own back yard.

In 2018/19, 19 Australian children aged up to four years drowned, the majority of which occurred in swimming pools. Toddlers can drown in as little as a few centimeters of water and need adult supervision around water at all times.

Swimming pools are required to abide by standards in relation to fencing and security – specifically Australian Standard AS1926.1 - Safety Barriers for Swimming Pools. While there are some differences from state to state, some rules are common to every state.

Home pools are required to have safety fencing in place.

The common requirements are:

  • The height of the fence should be at least 1.2m.
  • The maximum gap from the ground to the bottom of the barrier should be no more than 100mm.
  • The pool gate should self-close from any position.
  • The latching device height should be at least 1.5m off the ground.
  • The pool gate should open outwards.

For those seeking to enhance their garden space with a new pool or spa, there are a few things to remember:

  • A building permit is required before installing a new pool, spa or barrier.
  • The permit needs to be issued by a registered building surveyor.
  • Building work must start within 12 months of the date the permit was issued.
  • During construction, if a new pool is filled with more than 30cm of water it must have a temporary safety barrier put around it.

When work is complete, it’s important to keep tabs on the safety features of your pool and ensure that everything is in working order.

There are rules and regulations around home pools.

Life Saving Victoria’s online Home Pool Safety Assessment tool is a good way of carrying out a self assessment with just a copy of the checklist and a tape measure. Otherwise, building surveyors can carry out inspections and issue certificates of compliance – ensure they are registered with the Building Practitioners Board and have full public liability insurance.