When thinking about pool fencing it is important to place an emphasis on safety.
Each year children tragically drown in Australian pools. The Royal Life Saving Society shows the extent of the troubling statistics. A few recommendations in the report tell of steps we can take:
- Maintain pool fencing
- Active adult supervision when children are in, on, or around water
- Restrict access to water by correctly installing pool fencing
The scope of this article is to provide you with general information to help you understand fencing regulations. It is not possible to cover every permutation of pool fence layout and design, therefore we offer an abbreviated guide to show you key aspects of the regulations.
It can be difficult and confusing to understand all the rules, and ultimately you will require a qualified certifier to ensure compliance. But remember that the goal is to save lives.
Fence Height and Footholds
A pool fence must be 1200mm in height. Measurements are taken from any point deemed ground level.
Watch out for rocks, broad window sills and other surfaces that are easily stood upon, as these items will reduce the minimum effective height of your fence.
A foothold can be anything – such as a tap, tree branch, pot plant or fence rail – that a child can use to gain access into the pool area. Footholds must be at least 10mm in width to be a concern.
Measurements are taken in a 900mm arc from any point along the top of the fence.
Image showing some common regulations – QLD Development Code
There may situations where footholds exist, yet fence positions cannot be altered. In these cases you can make use of solutions including: tap covers, perspex shields and split-rail.
Most modern yards are restricted of space and a clever design may be needed to fit in both pool and fence. Luckily you can utilise existing structures.
Using your house
You may use walls as part of the fence providing that doors and windows have self-locking or -latching devices.
Wall surfaces should not be climbable.
Using boundary fencing
To minimise materials and save money it is often desirable to utilise the existing boundary fence. If so, the same regulations as above will apply to your neighbour’s fence.
If you cannot ensure this compliance, simply ensure that the fence is 1800mm high and has no footholds on the pool side 900mm from the top.
Gates are required to open outwards from the pool.
Gates must close automatically from any position. All GlassFit hinges are adjustable.
Gate latches should be at least 1500mm from the ground. When using glass gates this includes 1200mm(the height of the panel) and 300mm(return on back side of the panel). Ensure the gap on the latch side of the gate is no more than 10mm.
Pool Safety Inspections
In order to receive certification of full compliance to fencing regulations, you are required to seek the services of a pool safety inspector.
There are many companies that provide this service and a quick search will yield many results.
Pool safety laws require the latest Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation sign to be displayed near your pool or spa.
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When getting your pool fence certified by a registered inspector, they will require a form 15 (view example form 15). This document shows the material to be certified, conforming standards and other relevant information.