Re­search pool bar­rier laws

Pilbara News - - Property - Diane Gil­le­land Dianne Gil­le­land is the Re­gional Man­ager at the Mas­ter Builders Mid­west/Northwest.

We have bought a home with a pool. The pool doesn’t have a fence, in­stead it’s re­liant on self-clos­ing doors. I’d like to put a pool fence in as we have a baby on the way and fam­ily and friends with young chil­dren. Do I need ap­proval? What sort of fenc­ing would you rec­om­mend? Your pool must have been ap­proved or in­stalled be­fore Novem­ber 5, 2001, when bar­ri­ers be­tween the doors of the home and the swim­ming pool were not re­quired.

The ex­ist­ing bar­rier (that in­cludes self-clos­ing doors and re­stricted perime­ter ac­cess) would have been in­spected, and a re­port pro­vided to the pool owner of the com­pli­ance of the pool bar­rier at the time of the last in­spec­tion. You should re­quest a copy of this re­port so you are cer­tain the bar­rier in place is com­pli­ant.

There is no re­place­ment for su­per­vi­sion around wa­ter.

No bar­rier is 100 per cent ef­fec­tive, so it would be dif­fi­cult to ad­vise on the best pool bar­rier, as there are so many avail­able op­tions.

Un­der cur­rent build­ing reg­u­la­tions, a build­ing per­mit is re­quired for a pool fence when you in­stall a new pool.

Be­fore the pool is filled with wa­ter, the bar­rier must be in­spected.

At least once ev­ery four years, the bar­rier will be in­spected for com­pli­ance by a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the coun­cil.

Vol­un­tar­ily in­stalling a new swim­ming pool bar­rier does not trig­ger the re­quire­ment for a build­ing per­mit or in­spec­tion.

As the pool owner, you are re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing the bar­rier in place.

I rec­om­mend you get ad­vice from a rep­utable sup­plier or in­staller of pool bar­ri­ers that must meet strict Aus­tralian stan­dard re­quire­ments.

The in­staller needs to con­sider the lo­ca­tion of the bar­rier, tak­ing note of ex­ist­ing or pro­posed veg­e­ta­tion in the gar­den, hard land­scap­ing such as re­tain­ing walls, wa­ter fea­tures and even taps and built-in fur­ni­ture or bar­be­cues that might breach a swim­ming pool bar­rier.

You might find the de­sign of your yard does not al­low for the in­stal­la­tion of a com­pletely com­pli­ant safety bar­rier, so con­sider if a non-com­pli­ant bar­rier is bet­ter than none at all.

You may re­quest an in­spec­tion of the new bar­rier, but it is likely to at­tract a fee.

Con­tact the coun­cil or an in­de­pen­dent build­ing sur­veyor for ad­vice on com­pli­ance re­quire­ments so you are not re­liant on the ad­vice of the con­trac­tor you en­gage.

It is im­por­tant to un­der­stand that the Aus­tralian stan­dard used to de­sign and in­stall a com­pli­ant pool bar­rier is to re­strict, not pre­vent ac­cess to the pri­vate pools by chil­dren aged up to five.

The Aus­tralian Stan­dard for Swim­ming Pool Safety Bar­ri­ers (AS1926.1 — 1993) pro­vides the test­ing cri­te­ria for a num­ber of types of fences, gates and latch de­signs. It dis­cussed the use of pop­u­lar fenc­ing, in­clud­ing ma­sonry walls and picket, glass and tubu­lar steel fenc­ing.

With de­sign el­e­ments for dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als, the stan­dard also ad­dresses site and de­sign is­sues such as bal­conies over pools, re­tain­ing walls, bound­ary fences, climbable fenc­ing (such as mesh), and veg­e­ta­tion.

Should you wish to re­move your bar­rier later, you can as long as the doors and win­dows and other perime­ter ac­cess re­stric­tion cur­rently in place are re­in­stated or main­tained as pre­vi­ously ap­proved.

In­for­ma­tion on swim­ming pool safety bar­ri­ers and ap­pli­ca­tions or ap­proved re­quire­ments for pools is avail­able from your lo­cal govern­ment of­fice.

Most coun­cil web­sites have in­for­ma­tion on swim­ming pool safety.

This gives you some guid­ance on the re­quire­ments and how th­ese would ap­ply in the con­text of your pool.

Pic­ture: Louise Alling­ham

Pool bar­ri­ers are sub­ject to a suite of laws and reg­u­la­tions.

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