Pool Fencing Regulations
Prior to the 1990s there had historically in Australia been an alarming number of children who had drowned in backyard swimming pools, so as a result the Australian government introduced strict pool fencing regulations in 1991. The result of these new pool fencing laws was a reduction in the number of backyard pool drownings.
In 2012 the Australian Standard for pool fencing was updated again and toddler deaths by drowning in pools have been reduced even further since then.
Australian Standard for swimming pools and fences
Australian Standard AS 1926.1-2012 is the most recent update to home pool regulations and addresses the requirement for pool fencing. It mandates that if the depth of the pool is 300mm or more, the pool must be fenced in, even if it’s an inexpensive blow-up pool. That is, all swimming pools and spas on residential properties with a depth greater than 30cm (300mm) are required to be surrounded by a safety barrier (e.g. a pool fence).
Section 2 of Australian Standard AS 1926.1-2012 covers pool fencing requirements. It defines pool fencing as a barrier that restricts access by young children. In addition, a pool fence must:
- be a permanent structure
- be at least 1.2 metres high as measured from ground height outside of the fence enclosure
- not have gaps between vertical members of the fence exceeding 100 mm
- have a ‘non-climbable zone’ of at least 900 mm in height and radius.
So in summary a pool fence must be 1200mm in height. Measurements are taken from any point deemed ground level.
When considering your fence location you must also look out for footholds, a surface that can be stood upon, as these will reduce the minimum effective height of your fence. A foothold can be anything – such as a tap, tree branch, pot plant or fence rail – that a child can use to gain access into the pool area. Footholds must be at least 10mm in width to be a concern.
Other sections of AS 1926.1-2012 go into further detail, including details about openings (apertures) in perforated and mesh fencing materials, hinges, gates, latches and more. For example, Section 2.4 lists specific details about gates and latches:
- Latches must be installed inside the pool enclosure and not be accessible by toddlers.
- Gates must close and latch automatically.
- Gates must open outwards.
These and all other requirements specified in AS 1926.1-2012 are designed to prevent young children from gaining unsupervised access to a swimming pool.
It is important to remember that the best person to ensure your pool fencing complies with all pool fencing regulations is a licensed and experienced pool fence supplier or pool builder. Our recommendation is to used a professional pool fencing company when you’re ready to get your pool fencing installed or when replacing a pool fence.