Especially in the Australian climate, the decision to put a pool in your backyard is bound to provide enjoyment and relief from the heat for many years. Backyard pools are renowned for being the centre of fun for young and old, however, they are also one of the most dangerous features of a home. Keeping your home pool fenced is now more important than ever, not only to protect lives but also to comply with strict regulations.

Protection for Children

When it comes to the safety of children, fencing your backyard pool could not be more critical. The Australian government released an accidental drowning report in 2015 that showed drowning to be the third leading cause of death for 1-14-year-olds. Most of these deaths occurred in private backyard swimming pools.

Protection for Adults

Fencing around home pools can and will save lives, and not just those of the very young. While the National Drowning Report 2016 prepared by Royal Life Saving Australia noted that pool drownings have decreased by 31 percent for children under the age of five, overall, pool drownings in Australia in 2016 increased by 22%. Shockingly, one fifth of the drownings last year in Australia were people aged between 25 to 34 years old. The drowning figures for this age group are at a 10 year high.

Protection for Your Family Pet

A pool fence is important to the safety of animals as well humans. Even if you don’t have your own pet, there is always the possibility that a neighbourhood cat or more likely a dog, might wander into your garden and take it upon themselves to investigate the pool. If it is winter and the pool is covered by a tarp or pool cover, it is not uncommon for a dog to mistake the pool cover as a stable platform, which sadly can lead to drowning.

The Law

Backyard drownings have always been a concern in Australia. That is why when it comes to pool fencing the government enforces strict guidelines that any pool owner must obey. There are a number of rules that you are required to follow to ensure your pool fence is up to legal standard.

Some of the legal guidelines for pool and spa ownership in Australia include:

  • Any swimming pool or spa built after 2010 that is in excess of 300mm in depth is required by law to have a four-sided barrier
  • The barrier must be present during construction of the pool
  • The barrier is required to be permanent and maintained for the life of the pool
  • The fence should not allow direct access to the pool from the house
  • The pool fence must be at least 1.2 metres high
  • Boundaries of a fence that are used as part of the safety barrier must be at least 1.8 metres high on the side that faces the pool
  • The gate must be self-closing, fitted with a self-locking latch, and it must open outward away from the pool
  • The maximum allowable gap from finished ground level to the bottom of any barrier is 100mm

These regulations have been in effect Australia wide since 2010, however, additional rules and variations will depend on which state your property and pool is located in.

The Penalty

Local government has the authority to investigate whether or not a pool owner is being compliant with pool safety standards. Anyone who is not compliant with pool safety standards is at risk of receiving a fine. These fines are subject to the regulations of the state. In New South Wales, property owners who do not register their pools with the statewide online registry can receive fines of up to $2200.  In Queensland, a pool that has not be registered with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission can be fined up to $2,365.These fines may appear costly but are nothing compared to the personal costs that are at stake when pool safety is not taken seriously.

Ensure Your Pool Is In Compliance With The Law

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by all these rules and regulations when it comes to fencing your backyard pool, but at the end of the day, these rules are in place to protect you and your family.

Before construction begins, you must obtain a building permit from your local government. Not doing so leaves you at risk of receiving a fine.

You also have the option to consult a pool safety instructor who can perform a formal inspection and has the authority to issue a pool safety certification.

When it comes to your pool safety barrier, Steeline Sheds can manufacture a fence for your pool that will abide by all legal restrictions.

More importantly, a Steeline Shed fence will minimise the risk in your home by ensuring a compliant fence is securing the pool perimeter. For more information or to find out more about fencing pools, contact Steeline Sheds today on 1300 726 123.