Swimming Pool & Fencing Installation

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

Written Council approval is required for the installation of an above ground or inground swimming pool. Therefore residents are required to submit a Development Application form, Construction Certificate, or a Complying Development Certificate and get approval from Council 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 should be located a minimum of one metre from the side boundary. In exceptional circumstances Council may approve a lesser distance. Council will also take into consideration
the possible effect on the natural lighting and/or ventilation of the applicant’s property or adjoining properties. Consideration may be given to a proposal to construct a swimming pool in front of a home subject to there being no adverse impact on the adjoining properties or the streetscape.

Pool Fencing Requirements

Council administers the Swimming Pools Act and Regulations in the Shire.  The 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.

A pool 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 - Register your pool


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


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. Application form can be found on Councils website Pool Owner - Selling or Leasing?



Pools must be surrounded at all times by a child resistant barrier that separates the swimming pool from any residential building 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. 


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



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 tubular style gate, a shield of 450mm radius is to be used with the latch positioned on the pool side a minimum 150mm from the top of the gate. The shield makes it necessary to reach over the gate to reach the latch release mechanism. The gap between the gate and the fixed pool fence panel must be no more than 10mm.


Non climbable zone

  • 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, 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 wall, level changes are to be 500mm from the barrier. 


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 for $21.


Demountable, portable and baby pools

  • Standard barriers rules apply if these pools are capable of being filled to a depth greater than 300mm.
  • For pools less than 300mm in height always empty the pool immediately after use and pack it away where it cannot collect rainwater.


Spa Pools

  • Spa pools are required to be surrounded by a child resistant barrier the same as a pool or a child resistant lid that is secured to the spa can be used.  
  • It is to be kept locked in place when the spa is not in use. 
  • This option use a lid/cover does not apply to a spa pool that contains other uses such as a swim spa or plunge pool spa.  


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 a gym, entertaining etc., are to be separated from the indoor pool component of the area by a suitable child resistant barrier and gate.  

Access to an indoor pool is to comply with the following:

  • Doors must be closed at all times when not in use to ensure restricted access for children.
    • Child resistant doors:
      • The door is to be side hung door forming part of a barrier for an indoor pool.
      • 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.
  • 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.


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.



As with any proposed development, consideration to landscaping to soften the proposed and suggested development is often recommended. In relation to new swimming pools, consideration to landscape screening between the pool and boundaries may assist to minimise noise and increase privacy to neighbouring properties.



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



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 fi ltration equipment.
  • Structural engineer’s details are also required to accompany the application.


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.