Requirements for Owner Builders Smoke Alarms/Detectors
Protection of Buildings from Subterranean Termites Carports and Fences
Construction in Bush Fire areas Swimming Pool and Spa Fencing

Part 4 of the Building Regulations 2006

Protection of Adjoining Properties
Swimming Pools and Spa Fencing

Pool and Spa owners in Victoria are required by law to comply with government standards and regulations, including the installation and maintainance of pool fences, self-closing and self-latching gates and other safety measures covering the entire pool enclosure area – no matter when the swimming pool or spa was built/installed.

What is a Pool or Spa?

Swimming pool means any excavation or structure containing water and used primarily for swimming, wading, paddling or the like, including a bathing or wading pool, or spa.

The definition of a swimming pool does not include a dam, or tank used on properties, nor watercourses such as streams or rivers nor ornamental ponds or fountains. Paddling pools and domestic spa baths emptied after each use are also excluded.

Do I Need a Building Permit for a Swimming Pool or Spa?

It is essential that all work done in a pool enclosure area is constructed properly. That is why, when putting in a pool, spa, safety fence or barrier, or renewing a safety fence, a Building Permit must be obtained. This Permit must include details of the type and location of the pool and its barriers, fences, gates, doors, windows, latches/catches, self-closing devices and permanent flyscreens.

A Building Permit is required for a pool or spa exceeding 300mm in depth.
This also applies to above ground pools and indoor pools. A pool safety fence or barrier is required before the swimming pool is filled with water.

If you own a property on which a swimming pool or spa exists and it was built/installed before 8th April 1991, it is a requirement that a safety fence or barrier be constructed to isolate the pool area.

Safety Fencing for Swimming Pools and Spas

Under controls in the Building Regulations 2006, it is a requirement that all swimming pools and spas have a pool safety barrier to ensure pool safety. However, there are different requirements as to how the barrier is constructed depending on when the pool was built.

ie. If your pool or spa was constructed before 8th April 1991, or if your pool or spa was constructed after 8th April 1991.

Specific Pool Safety fencing must comply with Australian Standard AS 1926-1993, which requires a minimum 1.2 meter high fence; with gates that open outwards, fitted with a self-closing and self-latching device, with the latch a minimum 1.5 meters above ground level, and to which provides no footholds.
Your typical boundary fences can only be used when a child cannot gain access under, over or through the fence, from the outside of the pool enclosure. Non-manufactured and Standards approved fences must be a minimum 1.5 metres high. A Dwelling can be used as a barrier, or part there of, however all doors and windows leading into the pool area must be child-resistant.

Note: sheds, garages, barbecues, clothes lines and the like should not be contained within the fenced area, nor within 1.2 metres externally. Trees, garages or the like should not overhang the area or provide footholds to facilitate climbing over the fence.

Constructed after 8 April 1991

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) requires that all pools constructed after 8th April 1991 must comply with Part 3.9.3 (BCA) or have barriers that are installed to comply with Australian Standard 1926, Part 1 Fencing for Swimming Pools and Spas.

The Regulations provide a number of options for the location of pool safety fencing. One option consists of inclosing the pool with safety fencing, completly seperating the pool area from any other part of the allotment and any appurtenant buildings. Alternatively the pool area can be protected with complying barriers that may include:
- Boundary Fencing
- Exisitng Dwelling

All these would need to be checked for compliance with the BCA and AF 1926.1. Safety Fencing must be located in accordance with one of the options shown below.
- The effective height of fencing must be not less than 1.2m

Retaining walls or other similar barriers, which form part of the safety fencing, must comply with the following:
The clearance between the bottom of the fencing and the finished ground level must not be more than 100 mm.
- Projections or indentations on the outside surface of the fencing must not exceed the dimensions shown above.
- The clear gap between adjacent vertical members must not be more than 100 mm provided that any horizontal rails are more than 900mm apart.
Gates and Fittings
- Gates must swing outwards from the pool area.
- Gates must be fitted with a self-closing device that will return the gate to the closed position and operate the latching device

1) from any position; and
2) from a stationary start without the application of a manual force (ie do not need to push gate shut); and
3) which cannot be re-opened without manual release; and
4) located and shielded as shown above.

If access is provided from the building to the pool area any access door and window opening to the pool area must be protected with child-resistant doorsets and child-resistant openable portions of window as detailed below or in AS 1926.1.

A wall of a building may be used as a barrier but only if
1) Any door in the wall is provided with a self locking or latching device at a height of not less than 1.5 metres from the approach side (inside) and

2) A closer that returns the door to its closed position from a stationary start, from any position without the application of manual force (Refer end notation); and

3) Any openable part of any window in that wall

a) is located more than 2.4m above the ground or paving immediately external to the window; or
b) is higher than 1.5m above the floor of the room containing the window; or
c) has a catch, bolt or lock located not less than 1.5m above that floor level; or
d) has a securely fitted fly screen