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Pool Fencing Rules and Regulations

Any individual who owns a pool will agree that when it comes to pool safety, there is no such thing as too much secure fencing. Despite the regulations regarding pool fencing, many children continue to drown in outdoor pools; therefore, governments - both federal and state - have now tightened the legislation as an effort to reduce the amount of tragedies. To ensure compliance, it is necessary for an outdoor pool to be registered with state authorities before it can be used.

1. Pool Fence Measurements

To achieve state regulation, an outdoor pool must meet specific fencing requirements. This is to ensure that a child is not able to squeeze below, between, or climb above any areas of the fence. In NSW, a pool fence must meet these measurement requirements:

• the pool must be a minimum of 1.2 metres above ground level.
• any gaps found at the bottom at the fence can measure 10 centimetres maximum.
• no gaps of more than 10 centimetres between the vertical bars in the fence.
• all horizontal bars, if any, must be spaced a minimum of 90 centimetres apart.

2. The Non-Climbable Zone

To prevent a child from climbing over the pool fence, state regulation indicates that all pool owners must provide a 'non-climbable zone'. This means that any trees, shrubs, or objects that can be used as climbing agents must not be placed within 90 centimetres of pool fencing.

The non-climbable zone, as described above, is measures in the shape of an arc from the top of the pool fence heading towards the ground. In addition to space outside of the pool fencing area, the zone also includes space within the pool area extending 30 centimetres towards the pool. This space must be cleared of any potential agents that could act as handholds or footholds for climbing purposes.

Remember, horizontal climbing bars on a pool fence need to be spaced a minimum of 90 centimetres apart to eliminate potential climbing for children.

If your pool area does not meet the requirements noted above, it is possible to contact a qualified and licensed building contractor, pool technician, or fencing technician to complete the necessary work.

3. The Child-Resistant Windows And Doors

Older swimming pool fencing designs often include windows or doors as part of the barrier; however, this is no longer permitted as per state regulation. If you do, however, have a door in the pool fencing it is important that you follow these particular requirements to achieve registration.

If you have a door in your pool fencing, it is essential that the item:

• closes automatically.
• latches automatically.
• presents with a latching device at least 150 centimetres above the ground.
• has a non-climbable zone that is at least 120 centimetres above the ground.
• opens outwards from the pool area.
• does not present with pet flaps or pet doors.

If your pool fencing presents with windows as part of a traditional design, it is essential that they meet specific requirements to achieve state registration. For a window to be considered a child-resistant window as part of a pool fencing barrier, the locking device must be present. It is also required that the window has a security screen opening no more than 10 centimetres.

If the requirements for both doors and windows are not met, it is possible to contact a licensed fencing contractor to assist with the situation. Many of the locks and security screens for windows can be purchased from hardware stores.

4. Latching Devices And Gate Closing

Latching or locking devices and appropriate gate closing are essential when meeting state regulations for pool fencing safety. To ensure these requirements are met, it is necessary for you to ensure that the pool gate:

• is not propped open, but always remains shut.
• opens outwards from the pool area.
• closes automatically.
• locks automatically or self-latches when closed.

Automatic shutting and locking are highly important when installing or checking a pool fence door. If the door or gate does not close automatically or self-lock, it is essential that the item is re-installed to rectify the issue. Self-closing and self-locking devices can be purchased from hardware stores and are easily installed independently.

5. Pool Fence And Gate Maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential to ensure that the fence and gate remain secure. Fence bolts, fasteners, and screws must be in good order and tightened to ensure no problems will occur. If the items present with faults, they must be re-tightened or replaced. All self-closing hinges and locks must tended to with oil on a regular basis.

It is important that the manufacturers of pool gates and fences provide written instructions regarding maintenance of the fences. By reading and following these instructions, you can ensure accurate maintenance and correct safety of children.

For further information feel free to contact us and ask us a question.