Website Main content
Website Secondary navigation Development and planning

Pools and spas

On 29 April 2016, laws were introduced by the NSW Government applying to the sale and lease of properties with a swimming pool or spa pool in NSW. These laws have an impact on anyone who is buying, selling or leasing a property with a swimming pool or spa pool. These changes were introduced to further ensure the safety of children under the age of five around backyard swimming pools.

If you're unsure about whether these laws apply to your 'swimming pool', it may be helpful to know that the definition of a 'swimming pool' is an excavation, structure or vessel that is capable of being filled with water to a depth greater than 300 millimetres.

Pool structures that fall within this category include:

  • above-ground pools and spas
  • inflatable swimming pools
  • concrete and fibreglass swimming pools
  • temporary or wading pools.

Below you will find useful information about the requirements and responsibilities of owning a pool in NSW, such as pool registrations and inspections, and pool safety and barrier design requirements:

+ Expand all information for print

Pool barriers - details about pool safety barrier design requirements

Supervision is the key to preventing drowning deaths or injury to young children.

Under the Swimming Pools Act 1992, 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.

You can read all about the basic pool safety barrier design requirements within Eurobodalla Shire:

Pool safety requirements - new swimming pool laws and fencing/gate requirements

Council administers the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and the Swimming Pools Regulation 2018 in Eurobodalla Shire. In this regard, Council must:

  • implement a swimming pool barrier inspection program designed with the aim of ensuring that swimming pools are protected by a child proof barrier designed to meet Australian Standard requirements
  • ensure it is notified of all swimming pools in Eurobodalla Shire
  • conduct investigations in relation to safety concerns and complaints.

Any pool structure that has the ability of being filled with 300mm of water or more, and is used for swimming and other water activities, must be registered on the NSW Swimming Pool Register at:

Pool structures that fall within this category include:

  • above-ground pools and spas
  • inflatable swimming pools
  • concrete and fibreglass swimming pools
  • temporary or wading pools.

Safety self-assessment checklists

The NSW Swimming Pool Register also contains helpful safety checklists at:

These self-assessment checklists are designed to provide you with an indication about whether or not your pool or spa barrier meets the safety standards in New South Wales.

Fences and gates

Pools must be surrounded, at all times, by a child-resistant barrier that separates the swimming pool from any residential building on the premises and from any place (whether public or private) adjoining the premises.

Any pool barrier or gate must be maintained in a good state of repair as an effective and safe child-resistant barrier.

For diagrams showing the required measurements of pool fencing, and other NSW pool safety criteria, refer to the 'Pool safety booklet' below, which was compiled on behalf of 12 NSW councils:

You can also read information about the measurements and requirements of pool barriers to ensure that they meet NSW safety standards:

Pool boundary fence

Where a boundary fence is used as a barrier restricting access to a pool, it should be a minimum of 1800mm (height measured from inside the pool area).

Internal fence and gate

Gates and pool fencing should be a minimum height of 1.2m above ground level (height measured from outside the pool area).

Costs for a dividing fence

All expenses associated with constructing, repairing, altering, replacing or maintaining a dividing fence that is used as a pool barrier is at the cost of the pool owner.

In the event that a pool is situated on more than one property that shares a dividing fence used as a pool barrier, the cost of the fence should be shared equally by each pool owner.

You can read further information about how the expenses of constructing dividing fences are apportioned:

Gaps

Any gaps in your pool fence or gate must be no greater than 100mm.

Gates

Gates are one of the most common failure for children to obtain access to a pool.

In this regard:

  • Gates must be self-closing and self-latching and must be closed at all times.
  • Gates should be no more than 1m wide - the wider it is, the more weight is applied and this can result in failure of the latching mechanism.
  • The latch release should be positioned a minimum of 1.5m above ground level.
  • Gates are required to open outwards from the pool area.
  • Where the latch release is less than 1.5m above ground level, a shield is to be used with the latch positioned on the pool side, which should be a minimum of 150mm from the top of the gate. The purpose of the shield is that it makes it necessary to reach over the gate to access the latch release mechanism.

Non-climbable zone

To prevent children climbing over a fence into the pool area, the law requires pool owners to make sure they maintain a Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) around the pool.

The NCZ extends 900mm within, outside and above the fence and gate barrier.

Landscaping, barbeque, pot plants, chairs, steps, decks, retaining walls, associated lighting and any other furniture or fixtures must not be within the 900mm NCZ.

The NCZ is located on the inside (pool side), and extends 900mm from the top and outwards from the barrier, for boundary fences that are used as a barrier.

The NCZ extends 300mm inside the barrier, for barriers with openings greater than 10mm.

Portable, demountable and baby pools

If these pools are capable of being filled with water to a depth greater than 300mm, standard barrier rules apply.

For pools that are less than 300mm in height, you should always empty the pool immediately after use and pack it away so that it cannot collect rainwater and pose a risk.

Indoor pools

Access to an indoor pool should comply with the following requirements:

  • Child-resistant windows must be installed, ie, security mesh or grill permanently fixed over the opening of the window.
  • When not in use, doors must be closed at all times to restrict access for children.
  • The requirements for gates and fences mentioned above apply to indoor pools where the indoor area is separated into a pool area and non-pool activity area.

Child-resistant doors have the following requirements:

  • The width of the door must be a minimum of 1m to ensure durability of the self-latching operation.
  • Pet flaps or openings are not permitted within the door.
  • The door must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • A NCZ of 900mm applies to the outside face of the door. The NCZ should be positioned no more than 1200mm above the floor.
  • A glass viewing insert within the door is recommended to allow viewing into the pool area, and for safety purposes when the door is being opened.
  • The door must open outwards from the pool area.
  • The door release must be a manual operation so that a potential power failure does not render the door openable.
  • The door knob/latch release must be a minimum of 1.5m above the floor and must be located on the outside face of the door.
  • The door is required to be a side-hung door forming part of a barrier for an indoor pool.

Any means of access to an indoor pool must always restrict the entry of young children.

Any use within the indoor area of a pool, such as a gym, entertaining etc, is to be separated from the indoor pool component of the area by a suitable child-resistant barrier and gate.

Spa pools

Spa pools are required to be surrounded by a child-resistant barrier, the same as a pool or a child-resistant lid that is secured to the spa can be used, and it is to be kept locked in place when the spa is not in use. However, this does not apply to a spa pool that includes other uses such as a swim spa or plunge pool spa.

Objects near a barrier

In order to maintain the required height of a barrier, steps, retaining wall etc, level changes are to be 500mm from the barrier.

Resuscitation chart

All pools must have a warning notice with a resuscitation chart in a prominent place in the immediate vicinity of the pool (not within any landscaped area and facing the pool). The chart must be legible from 3 metres away and must be well maintained.

Resuscitation charts can be purchased from Council's customer service centre in Moruya.

Is your pool safety compliant?

You can apply for a pool barrier inspection and Certificate of Compliance:

Before you lodge your application with Council, however, you must have registered your swimming pool or spa pool online and have a valid Certificate of Registration; this will need to be lodged with your Pool Barrier Inspection Application.

  • Lodge your Pool Barrier Inspection Application with Council in person at:
    • the customer service centre, corner of Vulcan Street and Campbell Street, Moruya, between 8.30am and 4.30pm. Please note: ensure you arrive before 4pm so there is sufficient time to thoroughly check and lodge your application. You will also need to pay your application fees at the time of lodgement,
  • or, you can email it to Council at:
  • If you are mailing your application, include payment (inspection fees referred to below) with your application to avoid delay in lodgement. You can mail your application to:
    • Eurobodalla Shire Council, PO Box 99, MORUYA NSW 2537.

Inspection fees

Council will charge a fee of $150 (including GST) for an initial pool barrier inspection and $100 (including GST) for a reinspection, if required, (which includes the issue of a Certificate of Compliance for complying pool fences). Council will not charge additional fees to conduct subsequent follow-up inspections.

More information

Balcony pool barriers - balcony balustrade requirements and compliance with Australian Standards

Balcony barrier over a pool area

A balcony barrier is to comply with AS1926.1 requirements where:

  • the distance (h3) from any part of the floor of the balcony to the finished ground level of the pool area is less than 1800mm, or
  • the balcony has stairs into the pool.

AS1926.1-2007 (access to a pool from an upper level) guidelines may assist.

Balcony barriers adjacent to pool area

A balcony must have a balustrade that complies with AS1926.1. These requirements apply where:

  • the balcony has stairs that lead directly to access the pool
  • any part of the balcony floor encroaches the non-climbable zone.

More information

For diagrams showing these measurements and other NSW pool safety criteria, refer to the following:

Retaining walls - fence and gate barrier requirements

Retaining walls or cliffs that are used as part of a pool barrier

Ramps or stairs that provide access to or from the pool are required to be equipped with a fence and gate.

Where the cliff or retaining wall has a height of 1000mm or higher, this height is the minimum the safety fence must be to prevent falls from the cliff or wall.

Barrier below the pool

The following is required, depending on the height of the retaining wall or cliff:

  • The cliff slope or wall should be no greater than 15 degrees.
  • The wall/cliff fence barrier combination should be a wall or cliff and fence in order to achieve the minimum 1200mm high barrier, in addition to a fence on top of the wall, which should be a height for safety and should not cause a trip hazard.