Australian Pool Fencing Rules

Australian Standard AS1926.1 – Safety Barriers for Swimming Pools

The current Australian Standard AS1926-2012 (the standard) is in place as the standard in NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and the ACT. In these jurisdictions, the standard is called up by the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and in many cases, there are local variations effected under legislation. Northern Territory operates under AS1926.1 – 1993.

Queensland has its own standard in place which is a modified version of AS 1926-2007 combined with a state standard QDC MP 3.4.

All jurisdictions other than Queensland have in place multiple Standards in the sense that as new standards have been adopted existing pools conforming to the then current Standard have been allowed to maintain conformity with that standard. Pool owners may continue to comply with the Standard that their pool was constructed.  under on the provision that there have not been any substantial changes to the barrier. If substantial changes have been made then the pool owner is required to comply with the most up to date Standard. 

Exemptions from the standard

There are two categories of exemptions to the national Standard:

  • Those that are effected through the BCA as a variation to the standard as it applies in a particular jurisdiction
  • Legislative exemptions to the application of the legislation.

In NSW, there are two cases of the first category of variation:

  • NSW spas are provided with an alternative to pool fencing and may have a lockable lid that is capable of being operated by one person and must be locked when the spa is not in use.
  • NSW does not permit an out of ground wall of a pool to be used as a pool barrier.

These NSW variations do not apply in other jurisdictions where fencing is required for spa pools, and out of ground wall of a pool can be used as a barrier if they meet the requirements of the Standard.

There are also exemptions applying to particular types of properties with pools in a number of jurisdictions. These apply in NSW (historic exemptions for small, large and waterfront properties), Tasmania (pools built before 1 November 1994), the ACT (pools built before 1970) and the Northern Territory (pools built prior to 1 January 2003 and pools on small and large properties).

Local councils have the power in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia to approve alternate barriers that can be demonstrated to provide the same safety as an AS1926.1 barrier.

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