Drowning is the major cause of death for children under the age of 5. 70% of these drownings occur in backyard swimming pools. Whilst supervision is the first line of protection for young children near water, a proper well maintained pool fence provides extra protection by preventing young children from accessing the pool area that can pose a life threatening danger when supervision lapses.
Visit Council's forms page for the Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate form.
Register Your Pool
- All backyard pools and spas need to be registered and assessed against relevant safety standards. You can register your pool on the NSW Government Pool Register.
Is your pool safe? Pool safety is the responsibility of all pool owners – an unsafe or unsupervised pool can affect the whole community. Check that the gate self-closes from any position. Make sure there are not objects or trees near the pool barrier that would allow a small child to gain access to the pool. Check that you have a resuscitation chart visible in the pool area, and make sure you’ve discussed with your family what to do in the event that you need to use it. Use the pool safety checklists to inspect your own pool.
Are you planning to sell or lease your property with a backyard pool or spa? All properties with a pool or spa that are to be sold or leased require a Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate. Contact us to find out more about pool inspections in the Armidale Regional LGA.
Do I have to fence my pool?
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 safety barrier.
Pool safety barriers must be maintained in a good state of repair as an effective and safe barrier restricting access to the pool.
Pool safety barriers
Swimming pools must be separated from a residential dwelling by a child resistant barrier.
From 1st July 2010, swimming pools located on properties which are waterfront, on land over two hectares or on very small properties (230m2 or less) can no longer use the automatic exemptions from the Swimming Pools Act 1992 .
Previously, pools located on the above mentioned properties could use the dwelling as the swimming pool barrier. This required all doors and windows from the dwelling to be made child resistant in accordance with the Australian Standard. Existing exempt properties may continue to use the exemption but only if the barrier is continuously kept compliant with the Australian Standard. If the barrier is found to be non-compliant, Council may remove the old exemption and require compliance with the current Australian Standard.
For swimming pools constructed or completed before 1st September 2008, the barrier must comply with Australian Standard 1926~1986 ‘Fences and gates for private swimming pools’.
Swimming pools that commenced construction from 1st September 2008, must have a barrier that complies with Australian Standard 1926.1~2012 ‘Part 1: Safety barriers for swimming pools’.
Does my inflatable pool really need a fence?
The answer is yes. In Australia, if you have a portable or inflatable pool that can be filled to a depth of 30cm and is used by people, you need to install a pool fence. Other water sources such as irrigation channels and fishponds, where people don't swim, don't share the same regulations.
The Swimming Pool Act 1992 defines a pool as:
swimming pool means an excavation, structure or vessel—
(a) that is capable of being filled with water to a depth greater than 300 millimetres, and
(b) that is solely or principally used, or that is designed, manufactured or adapted to be solely or principally used, for the purpose of swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity,
and includes a spa pool, but does not include a spa bath, anything that is situated within a bathroom or anything declared by the regulations not to be a swimming pool for the purposes of this Act.
Inflatable pools are deemed swimming pools under the Act and so the land owner to which a pool is located requires
(1) The owner of the premises on which a swimming pool is situated must ensure that the swimming pool is at all times surrounded by a child-resistant barrier—
(a) that separates the swimming pool from any residential building situated on the premises and from any place (whether public or private) adjoining the premises, and
(b) that is designed, constructed, installed and maintained in accordance with the standards prescribed by the regulations.
Royal Lifesaving Australia has a wonderful online resource of information about your responsibilities when owning and operating an inflatable pool.
Keeping your pool clean for the health of all pool users
Keeping the pool clean and well maintained ensures that when the pool is used the risk of illness from poor water quality is reduced. Not maintaining your pool can lead to the production of organisms in the water which may be dangerous to people's health.