When children drown in pools, they usually do it silently and this is why it’s essential your pool is legal and complies with all safety requirements. All pools, including spa and portable pools of a certain size, must comply with the pool safety standard.
According to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC), the standard applies to:
- Homes with new or existing pools
- Short and long-term accommodation premises
- New and existing pools in unit complexes, hotels, motels, backpacker accommodation, caravan parks and mobile van parks
Did you know? Anyone who props open a pool gate can get an on-the-spot fine of more than $400.
What classes as a swimming pool?
If your portable pool or spa can hold more than 300 millimetres of water then the laws apply to you. Laws don’t apply to fishponds, however, if you have a swimming pool that is now being used for another purpose e.g. as a fishpond, it is still considered a pool and must have a compliant barrier.
Do I need to register or fence my portable wading pool?
The laws do not apply to portable pools if they meet all three of the below criteria:
- hold less than 300 millimetres of water
- have a volume of less than 2000 litres
- have no filtration system
Pool safety compliance checklist
This covers the height and strength of barriers, mandatory non-climbable zones, gates and their latching requirements and preventing direct access from a building into a pool area.
- Minimum height from finished ground to top level of barrier is 1200mm
- The maximum gap from finished ground level to bottom of any barrier is 100mm
- A gap of at least 900mm must left between any horizontal rails on the outside and the gaps in the vertical members must not exceed 100mm
- If there is no gap between horizontal rails of at least 900mm, then the horizontal rails must be on the inside and the gaps in the vertical rails must not exceed 10mm
- For fences less than 1800mm high, climbable objects must be at least 900mm away from the pool barrier on the outside and, where the verticals are more than 10mm apart, 300mm on the inside
- For fences at least 1800mm high, the 900mm non-climbable zone may be on the inside of the fence and must be measured from the top of the inside
Note: This could be useful for a boundary fence, for example, where it is difficult to make the non-climbable zone outside the fence. Ensure there’s nothing underneath this zone that a child could jump on to that would reduce the effective height of the fence from the minimum 1800mm.
- Pool gates must not open inwards to the pool area and must be self-closing and self-latching from all positions.
- Latches must be at least 1500mm high from the ground level and 1400mm from the top part of the lower horizontal railings
- If not, the latch must be located inside so that it is necessary to reach over or through the fencing at a height of not less than 1200mm above ground level or at least 1000mm above the top part of the lower horizontal railings
- The latch must also be 150mm below the top of the gate or the edge of any hand hole opening and, if necessary, covered with a 450mm radius shield with no openings greater than 10mm
- Pool gate hinges thicker than 10mm must be at least 900mm apart or the lower hinge must have a non-climbable (sixty degree) safety cap fixed to prevent climbing.
Door and window requirements
- No direct access to the pool area is allowed through a door from the house or other building
- Generally, any windows opening on to the pool area must not open more than 100mm or must have a security screen fitted
- A compliant CPR signmust be displayed, either attached to the pool fence, or displayed near the pool, so that the sign is easily visible to anyone near the pool.
What to do if your pool is non-compliant
Get advice from a pool safety inspector about what to do. Take note that if you choose to get a formal inspection and your pool doesn’t comply, you will receive a non-conformity notice.
If you don’t request a re-inspection within three months, the pool safety inspector has to give a copy of the notice to your local government.
What are the penalties if my pool isn’t complaint?
Councils have the power to investigate compliances and can issue on-the-spot fines of $934 for individuals and $2669 for companies. The maximum penalty a court can impose is $22,019.
If you fail to register your pool, QBCC can issue on-the-spot fine of $266 for individuals or $800 for companies. The court can also impose a maximum penalty of up to $2669.
Need to get your pool compliant?
Get in touch with Oliver from Select Maintenance on 0403 592 271 and he’ll have your fence, gate or latch complaint in no time and you can rest easy in the knowledge that you’ve done all you can to make your pool safe.