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Understanding Western Australia’s Pool Fencing Regulations

Western Australia’s pool fencing regulations are incredibly complex and detailed, but having a basic understanding of how you can be compliant is vital.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to all the regulations. It is a summary of important regulations. To view the regulations in their entirety, click here.

Why Are Pool Fences Regulated?

During the decade between 2003 and 2013, forty children under the age of five drowned. Statistics show that approximately 40 percent of toddler drowning deaths occur in domestic swimming pools. For each drowning death, ten children will be admitted to hospital, with a number of them left with long-term impairments.

Almost all Australian states have been startled by sudden increases in domestic pool drowning rate. The Western Australian Government reported that approximately 160 children were admitted to the ER after near-drowning incidents in the five years prior to May 2016.

To cut down on the likelihood of these tragic incidents, the Government of Western Australia updated the pool fencing regulations for pools built after May 2016.

When is a Pool Fence Required?

In Western Australia, the legislative frameworks that govern the requirements of barriers for private swimming and spa pools include: the Building Act (2011), the Building Regulations (2012) and the Australian Standards for Pool Fencing AS1926.1 (2012).

All domestic swimming and spa pools that contain more than 300mm of water are required to have a compliant barrier surrounding the pool or spa.

Domestic swimming pools can include above ground pools, including inflatable and portable pools, as well as bathing or wading pools.

Spa pools include both jacuzzis and outdoor hot tubs, however, spa baths that are emptied following each use are not included.

Do Climbable Objects and Trees Impact My Fence?

Climbable objects such as trees, barbeques, pool filters, retaining walls, furniture, water features and shrubs can all provide a base for young children to climb onto. Depending on the object’s proximity from the fence line, there are two different rulings. When the climbable object is greater than 500mm adjacent to the pool fence, the object must be greater than 900mm from the top of the fence.

If the object is within the 500mm zone, anything that can create a foothold must not be within 1.2m from the top of the barrier.

Basic Fence Measurements

The default regulations require each part of the fence to stand taller than 1200mm, measured from the lowest high point in the fence to the ground on the pool’s side. The ground clearance – the space between the lowest low point of the fence and the ground – must not be bigger than 100mm.

For your pool fence to be compliant, the ground beneath the fence must be resistant to digging by children or animals – such ground materials include concrete, pavers, rocks and stones, grass and wood.

The pool fence should be standing vertical to the ground, but if not possible, angled fences of more than 15 degrees will not be passed as compliant.

What Materials Can My Fence Be Made Out Of?

Fences should be constructed from materials that are durable and satisfy the strength requirements of the Australian Standard. Steel, glass, aluminium, timber, fibre cement and a combination of the previously mentioned are suitable materials. The experienced and professional service team at Clear Choice Pool Fencing can advise you on the most cost-effective, rust-proof and durable materials to use for pool fencing. This puts us in a position to deliver pool fencing solutions that pass all relevant regulations, look great and last the test of time.

Regulations Regarding Pool Gates

There are a range of factors regarding the gate(s) fitted within your pool barrier that must be addressed to ensure they are compliant to Australian Standards and Regulations. Factors such as the opening direction, ground clearance, latch release mechanism and the presence of a self-closing device must all be considered.

  • Opening Direction: Some children will lean on the gate until it opens. To prevent this, all gates must open away from the swimming pool or spa area.
  • Ground Clearance: Similarly to the main fence, gate clearance must not exceed 100mm. If you’ve used grass underneath the fence, the gate must be over a paved area. This is due to the detrimental effect of long grass on the self-closing mechanism.
  • Latch Release Mechanism: The latch release of the gate must be located at least 1500mm above the finished ground level, when measured on the outside of the pool fence.
  • Self-Closing Device: All pool fence gates must be equipped with a self-closing mechanism that will fully close the gate without human intervention. In other words, the self-closing device must be able to shut the gate from any given position, even if it is resting on the latch. The wind direction and material of the gate must be considered to prevent the wind from counteracting the self-closing mechanism.

Who Is Responsible For Inspecting My Pool Fence?

Local councils are responsible for approvals regarding building a swimming pool in the first place, and then monitoring its compliance to the Australian Standards and Regulations.

To build a swimming pool, a permit is required from your local council. Upon completion, your pool will be registered and you will receive periodic inspections ensuring the barrier meets all relevant regulations. Most councils conduct inspections every four years, but this can vary depending on the local council.

Not complying with the regulations puts the lives of young children at risk and may carry substantial penalties.

Pool Fence Maintenance

Homeowners and occupants are responsible for ensuring the maintenance and operational effectiveness of all pool fences and pool restricting barriers, are upheld.

Keeping your pool or spa fence well maintained is essential. Glass pool fencing is susceptible to cracking and chipping, highlighting the importance of regular checks of glass fence panels. Ensuring all panels in the perimeter of your pool fence are stable and fixed is crucial. Your gate should be self-closing and self-latching at all times.

Pool fence hardware, such as spigots, latches and hinges, will experience wear and tear over time. Hardware that is in poor condition should be replaced promptly to mitigate the associated safety risks.

Why Choose Clear Choice Pool Fencing?

When planning to install a swimming pool at your home, it is essential that you have a compliant barrier installed by an experienced pool fencing specialist – such as the expert team at Clear Choice Pool Fencing.

With extensive experience and access to high-quality materials, we ensure we deliver pool fences that comply with all Australian regulations and building code standards. We have a deep understanding of the Western Australian standards, allowing us to use our expertise to provide advice on the best positioning of gates and access points. This attention to detail ensures that the wind or ground surface does not reduce the effectiveness of the gate and self-closing device.

We are members of the Master Builders Association, the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of WA (SPASA WA) and certified applicators of EnduroShield protective glass coatings. We pride ourselves on staying at the forefront of quality materials used in industry – demonstrated by our use of Polaris, Orion and Atlantic soft close hinge systems.

To start a pool fencing project of your own, get in touch with our expert service team!