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Understanding the legal requirements for pool fencing in your area


Swimming pools are an excellent addition to any Australian home, offering relief from the heat and a focal point for family fun. However, with the pleasures of a pool also comes significant responsibilities, particularly when it comes to safety. One of the most crucial safety measures is pool fencing. Fences are governed by stringent regulations in Australia, and are designed to prevent accidents and save lives. In this post, we’ll dive into the legal requirements for pool fencing in Australia, providing homeowners with essential knowledge to ensure their compliance with the law.

The importance of compliance

Before we discuss the specifics, it’s worth noting why adhering to these regulations is so vital. According to the Royal Life Saving Society, drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in young children in Australia. Proper pool fencing significantly reduces these tragic incidents by restricting unsupervised access to the pool area.

Nationwide standards

Australia’s pool fencing requirements are outlined in the AS1926.1 – Safety Barriers for Swimming Pools. While these standards provide a framework, individual states and territories may have additional or differing regulations. Generally, the law mandates that all swimming pools must have a barrier that meets the following conditions:

  • Height and Strength

  • The fence must be at least 1.2 metres high and must be strong enough to withstand force, preventing children from climbing over or breaking through it. A great way to ensure this is with aluminium pool fencing, as it is stronger and more sturdy than other options.
  • Gaps and Openings

  • The gaps between the ground and the bottom of the fence, as well as between the vertical bars, should not exceed 100mm, so small children cannot crawl under or through the fence.
  • Self-closing and self-latching gates 

  • Gates must swing outward from the pool area and automatically close and latch from any position.
  • Non-climbable zone

  • A 900mm non-climbable zone (NCZ) should be established around the outside of the pool fence, free from any objects or structures that a child could use to climb over the fence.
  • Clear area around the fence 

  • A clear area of at least 300mm should be maintained on the inside of the fence, ensuring that children can’t use overhanging branches or other protrusions to climb into the pool area.

State and Territory variations

While the national standards provide the basis for pool fencing laws, specific requirements can vary. For example:

  • In New South Wales, pool fencing must be inspected and a certificate of compliance obtained before selling or leasing a property with a pool.
  • Victoria has a mandatory register of swimming pools and spas, and new regulations as of 2020 require owners to have their pool barriers inspected and to lodge a compliance certificate.
  • Queensland requires that all swimming pools are compliant with the current standards, regardless of when they were built, and includes mandatory pool safety inspections.

Pool owners need to check with their local council or government authority to ensure they are aware, of and compliant with, the specific laws in their area.

Regular maintenance and inspections

Pool owners should regularly check and maintain their fences and gates. Weather, wear and tear, and ground movement can all affect the integrity of a pool barrier. In some states, such as Queensland, it’s a legal requirement to have your pool fence inspected by a licensed inspector at certain intervals.

Penalties for non-compliance

Failing to comply with pool fencing regulations can result in significant penalties, including hefty fines. More importantly, non-compliance increases the risk of drowning incidents. The legal consequences serve as a reminder of the critical nature of these safety measures.

Ensure your pool is safe this summer with aluminium pool fencing

Opting for aluminium pool fencing is a great option and provides a safety feature that is mandated by law across Australia. Understanding and complying with these regulations is not only a legal requirement but a moral imperative to ensure the safety of young children around swimming pools. By familiarising yourself with both the national standards and the specific requirements of your state or territory, you can enjoy your pool with the peace of mind that you have taken the right steps to prevent accidents. Remember, a well-maintained pool fence is a lifesaver. ToughGuard’s patented aluminium pool fencing is the perfect addition to your swimming pool. We’ve transformed countless pool areas into stylish, functional outdoor areas that look as sophisticated as they are safe. 

As a leader in the field for over 30 years, when you choose ToughGuard you can be sure that you’re getting the most premium quality aluminium fence available. Contact ToughGuard today for more information on your new pool fence.