Pool barrier safety
As a pool owner, it is important to check your pool meets the current ACT standards for pool barriers and is as safe as possible for children. You can help keep our kids safe this summer by ensuring small children can’t easily access the pool.
What is a pool barrier?
A pool barrier is a structure designed to help restrict access to a pool or pool area. It can include traditional pool fencing, walls, boundary fencing and child resistant gates and doors.
Safety standards for pool barriers are designed to help restrict the access of children under five years old to a swimming pool, spa pool or pool area. They will not prevent access in every situation. Therefore, while a vital safety measure, fencing alone should not be relied on to protect against drowning risks. Children should always be supervised closely in and around pools.
Adult supervision in combination with a pool barrier is the most effective method of preventing children drowning.
The Building Code of Australia (BCA) sets out the current standards for constructing new or altering existing residential swimming pools or spa pools. These standards apply to pools in the ACT and include the requirements for pool barriers.
In accordance with the BCA a barrier must be provided around a swimming or spa pool that has a depth of water more than 300mm and must:
- be continuous for the full extent of the hazard
- be of a strength and rigidity to withstand the foreseeable impact of people
- restrict the access of young children to the pool and the immediate pool surrounds
- have any gates and doors fitted with latching devices not readily operated by young children, and constructed to automatically close and latch.
These requirements apply to in-ground and above-ground pools, temporary or permanent including wading pools, splash pools, inflatable pools, demountable pools, concrete pools, portable pools, kids’ pools and spa pools.
A pool satisfies the BCA requirements if it has safety barriers installed in accordance with the Australian Standard AS 1926 (parts 1 and 2).
AS 1926 shows the location, dimensions and other requirements for pool barriers including pool fences and gates. It does not permit outdoor pool access via a door.
The BCA is available as part of the National Construction Code series which can be accessed online at the Australian Building Code Board website.
AS 1926 is available online at the SAI Global website and can be downloaded for a fee.