ACT swimming pool and spa requirements

The following applies to all kinds of pools and spas, including toy pools and spas, blow-up, demountable, children’s, toddler’s, in-ground, temporary and permanent pools and spas. However it does not apply to swimming pools or spas not associated with a residence, such as a public pool or spa that is not part of a residential complex, nor to a swimming pool or spa not intended for swimming, bathing or wading, nor to a bathtub or spa in a bathroom that would usually be emptied after use.

In the ACT a proposed swimming pool or spa that can hold water deeper than 300mm is required to have a certified pool safety barrier and a Certificate of Occupancy & Use (COU) issued under the Building Act 2004. In the case of demountable swimming pools or spas that are exempted from building approval, the certification of the barrier should be in place before the swimming pool or spa is able to hold water.

The safety barrier must be certified as complaint with the Building Act 2004, by an ACT licensed building surveyor.

View EPD’s list of licensed professionals in the ACT. Licensed building surveyors can be found under Certifiers.

General information

One of the Building Act’s requirements for pool safety barriers, is that they comply with the Building Code of Australia (the BCA), which is available from www.abcb.gov.au.

A safety fence and self closing gate that has been certified by a licensed building surveyor may comply with the BCA if it is not less than 1.2m high with non-climbable vertical supports and has no gaps that exceed 100mm. Where a boundary fence acts a barrier to a swimming pool it must have a height not less than 1800mm with a non-climbable zone at the top on the pool side. Other options may be acceptable but must comply with the BCA. There are a range of options for swimming pool safety barrier locations, including:

  • separate fencing to isolate the pool in the backyard;
  • using the walls, which may include windows, but not doors, except certain doors in indoor pool situations, of a building as part of a safety barrier, provided they are made child-resistant in accordance with the BCA; and
  • using boundary fencing as part of the safety fence, provided they are BCA-compliant.

Old or pre-existing pools and spas

If a pool or spa was lawfully built in the ACT, there is no specific requirement to upgrade the pool or spa’s barrier if the pool or spa or the barrier has not be altered or relocated since installation. Alterations must comply with the Building Act. Ensuring that pools or spas comply with the Building Act can help prevent children from drowning, or from severe injury from nearly drowning. Continuous adult supervision of children near pool or spa water is recommended, rather than a reliance on safety barriers.

For more information please contact EPD customer services on (02) 6207 1923 between 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday.

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