Pool and Spa Regulations

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Swimming Pool Registration

The Register is managed by the NSW Government and not Council.

Swimming pool owners are required to:

  • Register their swimming pools on the online swimming pool register provided by the NSW State Government.
  • There is a penalty for owners who fail to register a swimming pool (penalty notice amount of $220).
  • Self-assess, and state in the register that, to the best of their knowledge, their swimming pool complies with the applicable standard when registering their pool.
  • Obtain a Certificate of Compliance or Non-Compliance before they can sell or lease any property with contracts dated after 29 April 2016. Note that leased properties must be compliant prior to tenants taking the lease.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are selling your property, a current Compliance Certificate or Non-Compliance Certificate will need to be obtained from Council or an Accredited Pool Certifier. If you are leasing your property, a current Compliance Certificate will need to be obtained from Council or an Accredited Pool Certifier. To fill out the application form, click here.(PDF, 655KB)

Swimming Pool Approvals

What are the requirements for the installation of a new swimming pool?

A pool is considered to be a structure capable of being filled with 300mm of water or more and is used for swimming and other water activities including:

  • Concrete and fibreglass swimming pools.
  • Inflatable swimming pools.
  • Temporary or wading pools.
  • Above ground pools and spas.

These pools must be registered on the NSW Pool Register.

Approval is required for the installation of an above ground or in-ground swimming pool and spas with a volume more than 2000L.

Therefore residents are required to obtain a Development Consent and Construction Certificate, or a Complying Development Certificate prior to any works commencing.

Where can I build a swimming pool?

All applications for swimming pools will be considered on their merits, having regard to the siting, design and size of the proposed structure. A swimming pool shall be located within the rear yard and the water edge should be located a minimum of one metre (1.0m) from the boundary.

What if filling is required?

Filling associated with the construction of a new swimming pool should be kept to a minimum; however any filling that may be required as a result of site levels will be assessed on the merits of the Development Application. In this regard Council, when assessing an application where fill has been nominated, will consider the potential loss of amenity to neighbouring properties.

Landscaping

Consideration needs to be given to landscaping around the pool barrier. You need to ensure that any proposed screening or plantings do not impact the effectiveness of the pool safety barrier. 

Fees

Fees for all development within The Hills Shire are calculated on a sliding scale dependent on the cost of the work.

Notification

Adjoining neighbours may be notified in writing of any proposed development where there is a potential or likelihood to impact on the amenity of the surrounding neighbours. Council is required to allow a period of 14 days to receive any written submission by neighbours. If a written submission is received, Council’s officer will assess the concerns raised and try to mediate the concerns to achieve a win/win situation for all parties.

What details are required?

  • A site plan nominating the proposed location of the swimming pool in relation to existing site structures and boundaries.
  • Extent of cut and fill.
  • Out of ground levels with a relative datum reference point.
  • Location of filtration equipment.
  • Structural engineer’s details are also required to accompany the application.

Pool Safety Fencing Installation

Pool Fencing Requirements

Council administers the Swimming Pool Act and Regulations within the Shire. That means that Council must:

  • Ensure it is notified of all swimming pools in the Shire.
  • Have a swimming pool inspection program to assist in ensuring owner compliance.
  • Investigate safety concerns and complaints.

Swimming Pools Act 1992 No 49

Swimming Pools Regulation 2018

The NSW Swimming Pools Register also contains useful checklists for owners.

If you wish to view these documents or the Australian Standard AS1926.1-2012 Safety Barriers for Swimming Pools, a copy is available for viewing at Council's Customer Service Centre.

Summary of Safety Fencing Requirements this is a summary only and should not be taken to be to the only requirements applicable to pool barriers. Refer to the Australian Standard 1926.1, Swimming Pools Act and Swimming Pools Regulation for all information.

Pools must be surrounded at all times by a child resistant barrier that separates the swimming pool from any residential building or non-ancillary structures (i.e. BBQs and play equipment) and from any adjoining public or private properties.  Barriers and gates must remain in good repair and working condition. Non-compliance can result in penalties.

Internal fence and gate

Pool fencing and gates need to be a minimum height of 1.2 metres above ground level with the height measured from outside the pool area. Non climbable zones are required to prevent any access into the pool area.

Pool Boundary fence

Where a boundary fence is used as a barrier restricting access to a pool it needs to be a minimum 1800mm with the height measured from inside the pool area.  This may vary for older pools that have maintained full compliance with an older Australian Standard.

Gaps 

Gaps in pool fences or gates must be no greater than 100mm.

Gates 

Gates and other means of access to the pool are the most common failure for young children to gain access to the pool.  

  • Gates must be self-closing and self-latching and closed at all times. 
  • Gates to open outwards from the pool area.
  • The latch release needs to be positioned a minimum 1.5 metres above ground level.
  • Where the latch release is on the inside of a fence the latch must positioned on the pool side a minimum 150mm from the top of the gate. The gap between the gate and the fixed pool fence panel must be no more than 10mm. If it is a tubular style gate, a shield of 450mm radius is to be used. The shield makes it necessary to reach over the gate to reach the latch release mechanism.

Non-climbable zone

  • A non-climbable zone is an area on a barrier or in the space adjacent to a barrier that is to restrict climbing of the barrier by young children.  
  • The non-climbable zone extends 900mm within, outside and above the fence and gate barrier.  
  • For barriers with openings greater than 10mm, a non-climbable zone also extends 300mm inside the barrier.  
  • For boundary fences used as a barrier the non-climbable zone is located on the inside (pool side) and extends 900mm from the top and outwards from the barrier.  
  • Landscaping, decks, retaining walls, steps, associated lighting and other fixtures or furniture are not to intrude into the non-climbable zone.

Features and objects near a barrier

To maintain the required height of a barrier; steps, retaining walls and level changes are to be 500mm from the barrier. 

Temporary Fencing

During the construction of a pool or building works where an existing barrier is compromised, access to the pool must be restricted. Suitable fencing must be provided for the period that the hazard exists. 

Warning notice/resuscitation chart

Pools must have a warning notice with resuscitation chart in a prominent place in the immediate vicinity of the pool (facing the pool and not within any landscaped area).  The notice must be legible from 3 metres away and well maintained.  

These can be purchased from Council's Customer Service Centre.

Demountable, portable and baby pools

  • Standard barrier rules apply if these pools are capable of being filled to a depth greater than 300mm.
  • For pools less that 300mm in height, always empty the pool immediately after use and pack it away where it cannot collect rainwater.
  • Approval is required for any pool or spa with a volume more than 2000L.

Spa pools

  • Spa pools that incorporate a swimming area such as a swim spa or plunge pool are required to be surrounded by a child resistant barrier the same as a pool.
  • A child resistant lid that is secured to the spa can be used for spas that do not incorporate a swimming area (i.e. seating area only). It is to be kept locked in place when the spa is not in use.
  • Approval is required for any pool or spa with a volume more than 2000L.

Indoor pools

  • Means of access to an indoor pool must always restrict the entry of young children.
  • Any other use within the indoor area such as a gym or entertaining area, etc., are to be separated from the indoor pool by a suitable child resistant barrier and gate.

Access to an indoor pool must comply with the following:

  • Doors must be closed at all times when not in use to ensure restricted access for children.
  • Child resistant windows must be installed. This is usually achieved by the placement of security mesh or grill permanently fixed over the opening of the window.
  • Where the indoor area is separated into pool area and non-pool activity area, the requirements for fences and gates stated above applies.

Child restraint doors:

  • The door must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • The door must open outwards from the pool area.
  • The door knob/latch release must be located on the outside face of the door and be a minimum of 1.5 metres above the floor.
  • A non-climbable zone of 900mm applies to the outside face of the door. This zone is to be positioned no more than 1200mm above the floor.
  • No pet flap or openings are permitted within the door.
  • The door release must be a manual operation to ensure any power failure does not render the door openable.
  • The door width must be a minimum of 1 metre to ensure durability to the self-latching operation.
  • It is recommended that a glass viewing insert be provided within the door to enable viewing into the pool area and for safety when the door is being opened.    

Further Information

For further information on swimming pools, contact Council’s Duty Building Surveyor on  61 2 9843 0470 or complete an online General Request Form.

Pool Owner - Selling or Leasing?

In NSW, all pool owners required to register their pool or spa with the Office of Local Government (OLG).

From 29 April 2016:

Properties sold with a swimming pool must have a relevant Occupation Certificate, Certificate of Compliance or a Certificate of Non-Compliance, issued from the NSW Swimming Pool Register.

Properties leased with a swimming pool must have a relevant Occupation Certificate or Certificate of Compliance, issued from the NSW Swimming Pools Register.

How to apply for a pool certificate of compliance

You can apply to Council or a private Accredited Certifier for this certificate. Fees are payable for such applications.  Council’s Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate application incurs a cost of $150. Should a re-inspection be required an additional $100 fee will be charged for each subsequent inspection carried out. To fill out the application for Council's Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate, click here.(PDF, 655KB)

An inspection of the pool will be undertaken and where the Council/Certifier is satisfied that the swimming pool complies with the requirements of The Swimming Pools Act 1992, and the pool is recorded in the NSW Swimming Pools Register, a Certificate of Compliance will be issued.

Subject to no changes to the pool barrier and proper maintenance, the Pool Certificate of Compliance is valid for 3 years.

If the swimming pool barrier is found to be in disrepair or fails to meet the requirements of the Swimming Pools Act 1992, the Council/Certifier will issue a Certificate of Non-Compliance. This certificate means:

  • The vendor of a property (with a swimming pool) may undertake the required work and have the pool barrier reinspected within 6 weeks of the inspection. If the work is not completed, a Certifier will advise the local Council of any non-compliant barrier and further action will be taken.
  • Th vendor may transfer the requirement to make a pool barrier compliant to the purchaser. The purchaser will have 90 days from the date of ownership transfer to address any issues of non-compliance in relation to the swimming pool barrier or be subject to current penalties.

NOTE: Receiving a Certificate of Non-Compliance for the pool does not negate your responsibility as the owner of the property to ensure that the swimming pool barrier is at a level of compliance with the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and Regulation 2018. Although the Non-Compliance Certificate is valid for 12 months, the pool cannot remain unsafe for this length of time and as such the works are required to be completed by either yourself or the new owner in a timely manner.

Properties with more than two (2) dwellings are exempt from the requirement to provide a compliant pool barrier on sale or lease as they are already regulated by mandatory three (3) year inspection programs.