Everything You Need to Know About Swimming Pool Fencing
Having a pool in your own backyard comes with plenty of benefits. It allows you to relax and cool down a hot summer’s day, exercise and practise your swimming skills, and also provides great entertainment and fun for you and your family in a private, secluded area.
As fun as they are, pools can be the site of various accidents too when left unattended. Especially if you have kids and/or pets at home, pools pose a significant danger without adult supervision. Whether it is drowning, slipping, or falling, it is crucial that you take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of everyone in your home.
With quality pool fencing, you can limit access to your pool and prevents various accidents. By acting as a controlled barrier for the swimming pool, it allows you, your family, and friends to enjoy all that your pool offers in the safest possible way.
Pool fencing regulations in Australia
In Australia, pool fencing regulations may differ from state to state. However, the Australian Standard AS1926.1-2012 is applied in most states. This standard clearly defines key aspects of pool fencing in Australia, including the fencing, gates and/or windows, as well as the definition of non-climbable zones.
If you want to design pool fencing for your backyard pool, it is important that you are well-versed with the rules and regulations you have to follow. Over the years, there have been several changes implemented in Australian pool fencing regulations to improve the safety and security of people using it.
As mentioned, major states such as Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, NSW, Western Australia and the ACT all have to adhere to the Australian Standard AS1926.1 – 2012. According to this standard, these are the following pool fencing regulations:
The pool fencing, when measured from the ground, must be a minimum of 1.2 m in height or 1.8 m if it is a boundary fence.
The distance between the ground and the start of the fencing must be a maximum of 100mm.
The distance between horizontal bars should be no less than 900mm.
The top of the pool fence must be at least 900mm away from any climbable objects such as trees, toys, barbecues, pot plants, pergolas, furniture, etc.
The distance between vertical bars or support struts should be a maximum of 100mm.
If the pool fencing has holes in its design, the hole should not be a maximum of 13mm.
The pool fences should be well-designed and should not have any unintended holes.
The pool fences must be constructed from quality, durable materials.
Gates and windows of pool fencing regulations
If your pool fencing has any gates and/or windows, then it is essential that you adhere to the following regulations as stipulated in the Australian Standard AS1926.1 – 2012.
The gate of the fencing must swing away from the swimming pool.
The gate should have a self-latching system that is mounted pool-side.
The latches of the gate should be at least 1.5 m above the ground level.
The gate of the pool fence should be fitted with a unidirectional self-closing mechanism.
If the pool fence has windows, the windows should be fitted with a highly secure locking mechanism.
The windows should bot be allowed to open more than 100mm.
These are the main regulations on pool fence gates and windows in most states and territories in Australia. In case of any doubt, your licensed builder or professional swimming pool fence installer will be able to help you make decisions and inform you of the current regulations in your state. Speak to your local Brisbane Pool Installer to find out the requirements in your local area/
What is a non-climbable zone?
A non-climbable zone, commonly referred to as an NCZ, refers to the areas around the swimming pool, pool fencing and barriers, where objects that can be climbed or can aid the act of climbing are not allowed. A non-climbable zone that is fully compliant of all rules and regulations and standards set by authorities can successfully keep children out of pool areas and ensure their safety.
As drowning among children becomes more and more common, it has become increasingly important to ensure the safety of swimming pools across the country. The NCZ non-climbable zone was laid down so as to set rules and regulations that would prevent small children from climbing over the pool fences or using other climbable objects around the barrier to gain access to the swimming pool.
According to the Swimming Pool Act of 1992, the non-climbable zone –
Must be at least 900 mm from the fencing, around the entire barrier of the pool.
Should extend upwards, downwards, as well as outwards in the shape of an arc from the top of the barrier or fencing.
Inside the pool area, a minimum of 300mm should be kept free from any potential handholds or footholds
If your pool barrier or fencing has any horizontal climbable bars, then they must have a minimum distance of 900 mm in between them.
If your pool fence is 1800 mm or more in height, then the non-climbable zone must be located on the inside of the fence.
If your pool fence is higher 1200 mm or more in height, then the non-climbable zone should be located on the outside of the pool fence.
What if your pool area has climbable objects within the non-climbable zone?
In case your swimming pool has climbable objects within the non-climbable zone, then there are solutions available. There are two common approaches to this problem. The first is to simply remove the climbable object so you can be in compliance with the law.
The second option is to make changes to the climbable object. You can make adjustments by raising the barriers or fencing to 1800 mm above the climbable object. If an object has a horizontal surface and is 10 mm or more, it is considered as an object that a young child can use to gain a hand or foothold. Therefore, it must not be located within the non-climbable zone. Some of the common objects that can aid in climbing include –
Trees, shrubs, and potted plants
If a tree, bush, or shrub has a thick branch that has a width of 10 mm or more, it can provide a horizontal foothold. However, you don’t have to remove the entire tree, bush, or shrub. You can simply cut that particular branch off. If there are exposed stumps or cur backs, they need to be removed as well since they are often considered as an aid to climbing for children.
If you have bushes, shrubs or trees within a non-climbable zone, then you as the owner is personally responsible for ensuring that they don’t grow exposed branches that can aid the act of climbing for children. This means that you need to monitor them and trim them frequently as required.
Is pool fencing required by law?
In Australia, every swimming pool, whether it is above ground or underground, must have pool fencing around it, as stipulated by law. If your swimming pool is 300 m or deeper, then you are required by law to install pool fencing. Details of regulations may differ according to each state and/or territory. The law also states that the swimming pool fencing must be a permanent structure.