Swimming Pool Safety
Regulations came into effect on 1 October 2008 which require all homes with swimming pool pools to have up-to-date child-safety barriers in place before the property can be sold.
It will be the responsibility of the pool owner to make sure that current pool safety requirements are met prior to sale. Specific pool safety requirements are set by Australian Standards and adopted by the State Government.
Under the Standards, all swimming pools must have a continuous safety barrier that is maintained by the pool owner and which restricts access by young children to the pool and the immediate pool surrounds. There are specific requirements in the Standards regarding fences, gates and any doors or windows which provide direct access to a pool.
More information is provided below and in the brochure Is your swimming pool kidsafe?.
Legislation applying to swimming pools in SA
The Development Act 1993 and associated Development Regulations set the swimming pool safety provisions for swimming pools built since July 1993. The Swimming Pools (Safety) Act 1972 sets out requirements for swimming pools built before July 1993.
The responsibility of enforcement of swimming pool safety requirements is vested with the local council, for both above-ground pools and in-ground pools. All new above-ground swimming pools and spa pools deeper than 300mm and with a water filtration system require council approval (as do all in-ground swimming pools).
Swimming Pools Built Before 1 July 1993
From 1 October 2008, if the property on which a swimming pool is located is not for sale, the swimming pool can continue to comply with the old Swimming Pools (Safety) Act 1972, which requires the swimming pool owner to ensure that the swimming pool is enclosed is enclosed by a fence, wall or building or any combination of these, to restrict access by young children to the swimming pool.
Don't forget after 1 October 2008 it is the responsibility of the pool owner to make sure that current pool safety requirements are met prior to sale.
Swimming Pools Built On or After 1 July 1993
Swimming pools built from 1 July 1993 must comply with the Development Act 1993 and the Building Code of Australia - which restricts access to the swimming pool from the house, garage, street, and adjoining properties.
What are the requirements for fencing of swimming pools in SA?
All swimming pools must have suitable safety barriers or safety fencing to restrict access by young children to the immediate pool surrounds.
In South Australia, you can use any combination of fences, walls, or buildings to form the safety barrier around a swimming pool. Whereas some States of Australia require a swimming pool safety fence between the house and the pool, this is not the minimum requirement in South Australia. In South Australia, it is allowable to have access to the swimming pool via a child-resistant door for pools constructed between 1 July 1993 and 1 December 2010.
Where can I find the appropriate standards for swimming pool safety?
The relevant Australian Standards are:
AS 1926 Swimming Pool safety
Part 1: Fencing for swimming pools
Part 2: Location of fencing for private swimming pools
Part 3: Water recirculation systems
Fencing must be constructed such that:
- the outside of the fence is an effective barrier to young children
- it is permanent
- it does not provide access for young children to crawl under or to climb over by using foot/hand holds
- it is not less than 1.2m high
Gates to the pool area must:
- only swing outward from the pool area
- be self closing from any position
- be fitted with a latching device that is out reach of small children (generally 1.5m above ground level)
Doors providing direct access from the house to the pool area must be fitted with:
- a door closer
- a self-latching device located at least 1.5m above floor level
Windows, which can be opened, are less than 1.2m above the floor level and provide direct access from the house to the pool area, must have one of the following:
- - bars or mesh screen
- - mechanism limiting the size of the window opening or in some cases, a securely fixed flyscreen
Frequently asked questions
Can I get somebody to inspect my pool and tell me if the child-safety barriers comply?
Planning SA keeps a register listing people who can offer this inspection service.
Do I need to get Council approval of any upgrading work on child-safety barriers?
You should advise Council of any upgrading work on child-safety barriers.
How much will it cost to upgrade?
The cost of upgrading child-safety barriers should be minimal - the owner of a pre-July 1993 swimming pool should already comply with the old requirements, so the safety barriers should already be established.
Do I need to upgrade the pool recirculation system before selling my house?
No. The Development Act requires upgrading of the child-safety barriers before sale of properties - but doesn't require upgrading of pump safety. However, the Development Act does require that all of the existing swimming pool safety features (including pump safety) must be maintained in good order at all times.
How can I make doors child-resistant?
The requirements for a child-resistant door are similar to the requirements for a gate (i.e. the door must automatically close and latch). The handle to unlatch and open the door needs to be 1.5m above the floor.
Can sliding doors be made child resistant?
The same requirements for child-resistant doors apply to sliding doors (i.e. the door must automatically close and latch). There are door closers available for sliding doors, which are normally fitted to the sliding security screen door.
Can I use a roller door as part of a swimming pool safety barrier?
Only if it complies with the requirements of the Australian Standard 1926.1. The main requirements are the same as for gates and doors, i.e. the roller door must automatically close and latch each time after it is opened.
Are there any ways to make bi-fold doors child-resistant in accordance with the Standards?
Not that we know of. Where you have bi-fold doors, you will need to install a safety fence between the doors and the swimming pool.
What about double french doors/patio doors?
The same requirements for child resistant doors apply i.e. the doors must automatically close and latch. This is not easy to achieve with double French/ patio doors, however there are mechanisms available which make it possible to comply. It may be necessary to contact a specialist architectural hardware supplier to enquire about product availability and how to design it.
What are suitable barriers for above ground pools?
The sides of an above-ground pool can be accepted as being part of a pool safety barrier, provided they comply with the Australian Standard 1926.1. However a barrier must also be provided around the ladder (it's not good enough to say the ladder will be removed when an adult is not present).
Can I use a child-resistant hard cover as the safety barrier instead of a fence for above-ground spa pools?
No. The main reason for this is that there is no standard for covers on spa pools. Also, any time the cover is off the spa pool, there is no barrier. Remember, it is a legal requirement that Development Approval be obtained for the installation of an above-ground spa pool. There are important safety reasons for this.