Swimming Pools and Spas

If the works for a swimming pool or spa including the safety fence is over $5000 you will need to contact the Council for the relevant permits i.e. Building Permit, Plumbing Permit, Special Plumbing Permit and possibly also a Planning Permit IF: 

-         The maximum possible water surface area is greater than 9 square metres; and

-         The maximum possible water depth is greater than 300 millimetres. 

For the installation of a portable pool under $5000 you will only require a building permit for the safety fence. Please contact the Council for documentation required to lodge your building application.Pool 

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) defines a swimming pool as an excavation or structure that:

-         is capable of being filled with water to a depth of 300 millimetres or more

-         is capable of being used for swimming, bathing, wading, paddling or other human aquatic activities

-         is used, designed, manufactured or adapted for the purpose mentioned above, despite its current use

-         includes spas and inflatable swimming pools

It does not include a:

  • fish pond
  • ornamental pond, manufactured to be used for ornamental purposes
  • dam used for aquaculture, marine research or storage of water
  • watercourse
  • spa bath situated in a bathroom which is not continually filled with water
  • birthing pool used solely for water births
  • portable wading pool

A portable wading pool is defined as:

  • capable of being filled with water to a depth of less than 300 millimetres; and
  • has a volume of no more than 2,000 litres; and
  • has no filtration or pumping system

Swimming Pool Safety (fencing and access)

All pools and spas must comply with Australian Standard 1926.1 & 2. This standard sets out design rules for fences, pool gates and child resistant doors and windows. 

These requirements are also set out in the Building Code of Australia Volume 2, part 3.9.3 'Swimming Pool Access'. 

Please refer to the below PDF link for Safety & Access for Swimming Pools:

Swimming Pool Drainage

Water in swimming pools becomes contaminated by use and by adding chlorine and salt. Cleansing pool filters by backwashing also produces contaminated waste. Therefore, provision for drainage directly to the sewer is required. Drainage to the ground or to the stormwater system is not allowed.

Note: ornamental pools and fish ponds are not subject to the above requirements, but owners still have the same duty of care. 

Above-ground swimming pools and spas are required to have permanent safety barriers in the same manner as in-ground pools and spas, however, the walls of an above-ground swimming pool or spa may provide a barrier if they are at least 1.2m in height and so not have a surface which enables a child to gain a foothold and climb into the swimming pool or spa. Any objects that could be climbable by a young child, such as a pool ladder, pool filter, pump equipment or plumbing connection into the side of the pool, should be properly fenced or otherwise isolated.

Fencing regulations

  • Fences must be a minimum of 1.2m high
  • The gap under the fence to be a maximum of 100mm from the ground
  • The vertical bars should be closer than 100mm apart
  • Once a fence and self-closing gate are installed, they must be kept in good working order

Fencing Materials

You don’t have to construct your traditional pool fence. You can use the following combinations:

-        Colourbond

-        Paling

-        Shade Mesh (as long as there is a top and bottom rail. No horizontal middle rail) 

All fencing details should be provided to Council along with your site plan for an assessment. You will still be required to following the safety access guidelines which are featured in this document ‘inset PDF here’.

The placing of a cover or lid over the swimming pool or spa DOES NOT comply and is not acceptable. A safety barrier is required.

The top five issues affecting pool barriers released by the AIBS include:

1.   Gates and doors that are no longer self-closing
If the gate is no longer self-closing the gate will not comply with Australian Standards.

2.   Gates and doors that are no longer self-latching
General wear and tear of the locking mechanism means that many gates and doors will no longer self-latch when they close, If the gate or door is not properly locked, children may be able to gain unsupervised access to the water area.

3.   Gates that are propped open
Sometimes, especially during summer and pool pool parties, the pool gate is propped open (e.g. with a chair or esky) to allow adults easy access to the pool area while they are carrying food or drink.

4.   Ground movement
Ground movement may cause parts of the barrier, including the gate, to shift which may cause gaps to appear in and under the barrier.

5.   Climbable objects on the neighbours side of a boundary fence
Objects on the neighbours side of the fence may enable a child to climb over and gain access to the water area

For a free checklist which alerts pool owners to potential dangers, go to www.homepoolsafety.com.au

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