Having a beautiful, sparkling pool in your backyard is a part of the Australian dream, as there really is nothing better than watching your kids, friends and family frolic and lounge around a crystal-clear pool on a hot summer’s day. 

With the pool being such an integral part of the Australian lifestyle, pool fencing is equally as important as it keeps everyone who swims or visits your backyard safe (whether they can swim or not). 

There is strict legislation and requirements surrounding pool fencing installation and pool gates which can differ depending on which state of Australia you are in, which can sometimes be a little tricky to follow. 

Whether you’re considering building a pool or you’re moving into a house with a pool and would potentially like to install some stylish new fencing (whether it be a steel rod/blade fence or glass pool fencing), we’ve clearly laid everything you need to know about pool fencing here. 

We’ve also included some fantastic pool fencing design tips from our Landart Director, Matt Leacy!

Pool fencing design tips

Whether you’re building an in-ground swimming pool or an above-ground swimming pool, pools can be more than just a source of entertainment for your friends and family. When designed correctly, they can maximise the use, aesthetic value, financial value, enjoyment and scale of any property. Pools have a unique way of creating a blend of indoor and outdoor living, and when designed correctly, they can be a truly stunning addition to your home. 

Pool fencing is a key style decision for your pool. Landart Director Matt Leacy’s top tip when planning a new pool is to “Explore the location of the pool fence first and then design the garden and pool around it, so it recedes as much as possible. The new laws mean that your pool fence needs to be well thought-out – not only from a practical safety point of view, but for the aesthetics of your yard.”

Matt says, “Pool fences shouldn’t be a division of spaces, but rather it should seem like the pool fence disappears and doesn’t create an obvious barrier between grassed areas, the pool space, and entertaining zones.”

He adds, “A lot of customers are surprised that we may start with the consideration of the pool fencing when designing pool and garden spaces. But to me, there’s nothing worse than pool fencing that creates an obvious visual or mental barrier. Working around where fences need to go and figuring out the best way to integrate them into a design provides the best end result: a space that flows naturally from one area of the yard to the next. Glass pool fencing installation and black steel rod fencing or black steel blade fencing is fantastic for this.”

Complying with NSW pool fencing regulations in 2020

Pool fencing, pool gate and pool fencing installation regulations in NSW can be difficult to understand. However, if you own a pool that is non-compliant (whether you’ve installed it, or it exists on land you’ve purchased) then this is very risky for a number of reasons. 

First of all, these regulations are in place to keep your family and others safe, so not following them properly could result in tragedy. You have a duty of care to hold a Compliance Certificate for your pool. You could also be at risk of financial penalties from your Council if they do a random spot check and discover your pool is not safe according to the state guidelines. 

Fortunately, we’ve made it easy to make sure you’re following all the regulation pool fencing and pool fencing installation guidelines in NSW, so that you can create a safe swimming environment for your family and friends.

Understanding Australian pool fencing laws

There are three different pool fencing safety standards that apply in the state of New South Wales, and these depend on when the pool was constructed. From the 1st of July 2010, all newly built pools must be surrounded by pool fencing that separates the pool from the house, according to the Swimming Pool Act of 1992. 

In May 2013, there was a change made to the Building code of Australia (BCA) (for NSW only) that now prevents the use of pool walls from being used as a pool barrier in pools with ‘out of ground’ pool walls.

When it comes to key pool fencing measurements, pool fencing must:

  • be at least 1200mm high (as measured from the finished ground level)
  • not leave a gap at the bottom bigger than 100mm from the finished ground level
  • be 1800mm high if a boundary fence forms part of the pool fence
  • not have gaps of more than 100mm between any vertical bars in the fence
  • if containing horizontal climbable bars, have these spaced at least 900mm apart
  • perforated or mesh barriers must have holes no greater than 13mm for fence heights of 1200mm
  • perforated or mesh barriers of 1.8m height with holes greater than 13mm must not exceed 100mm
  • the pool fence must be well maintained and in good working order

As well as this, pool fencing must have a ‘non-climbable zone’ around the pool. Rules surrounding this ‘non-climbable zone’ include:

  • any trees, shrubs or any other objects such as a barbecue, pot plants, toys, ladders and chairs must not be within the 900mm non-climbable zone
  • this zone is measured in an arc shape from the top of the pool fence arching towards the ground
  • it also includes the space extending 300mm inside the pool area – this space should also be cleared of any potential footholds or handholds
  • any horizontal climbable bars on the pool fence must also be spaced AT LEAST 900mm apart

Lastly, if your pool fencing has a gate included as part of the structure, you must make sure that:

  • it self-closes without the application of manual force
  • it self-latches and requires manual release
  • the latching device is at least 1500mm off the ground
  • it has a non-climbable zone of 900mm that is at least 1200mm above the floor
  • it does not open towards the pool
  • it does not have any pet doors.

Buying a house with a pool?

When it comes to buying a house with a swimming pool, it’s best to buy a house where the pool fencing installation has already been issued with a Compliance Certificate. This means that you can rest easy knowing your pool fencing is safe and in-line with the current regulations. If you’ve bought a home and believe the pool fencing or pool gate needs an upgrade, contact the glass pool fencing Sydney experts at Landart to have a chat about your requirements. 

Making sure your kids are safe in the pool

Keeping kids safe in your pool should be your number one priority when building or upgrading. Here are four pool safety tips for kids, beyond having regulation pool fencing. 

  1. The number one rule for pool safety for kids is ensuring there is adequate adult supervision on hand. Make sure that there is always someone over the age of 18 within arm’s reach of any child under five, especially during social occasions. 
  2. Establish and enforce safe swimming behaviours with children. Things like “no diving”, “don’t play near the suction pipes” and “no running” are key tips for pool safety. Get them into the habit when they’re young!
  3. Once you’re done with your swim, pool toys should be removed from the pool and stored in a safe place, out of reach from children. Having them laid out in a pool can look inviting to a child, making them inclined to go for a swim without you knowing. Any climbable objects like chairs and ladders should also be kept away from the area and surrounding pool gate, and trees and plants should be trimmed so kids can’t climb up into the pool.
  4. Do a thorough check of your pool fencing’s child safety features every six to 12 months. Screws can come loose, trees grow and branches can encroach on the non-climbable zone, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

Get in touch with the pool fencing experts

Whether you’re moving into a new home with pool fencing or a pool gate that definitely needs an upgrade, or you’re building a brand new pool and need expert advice about making your design beautiful and safe, let Landart make your pool a harmonious part of your property.