Pool safety standard

The Queensland Government has introduced pool safety laws to reduce drowning and serious immersion injuries in swimming pools and spas.

From 1 December 2015, it is mandatory that all pools in Queensland – including spas (portable and fixed) and portable pools – comply with the pool safety standard. The pool safety standard for Queensland, the Queensland Development Code Mandatory Part 3.4, is to be read in conjunction with AS1926.1.   The standard covers such things as the height and strength of barriers, mandatory non-climbable zones, gates and their latching requirements and preventing direct access from a building into a pool area.  Fines apply for non-compliance.

Wading pools

Some inflatable wading pools are also subject to State regulation.  An inflatable wading pool is classified as a “regulated swimming pool”:

  • if it can be filled with water to a depth of 300mm or more; or
  • it holds more than 2,000 litres of water; or
  • it has a filtration system.

Council receives dozens of complaints each year about inflatable wading pools and in most cases the owners are ordered to empty and remove the pool.

If you are thinking of purchasing a wading pool and are uncertain of your obligations please contact Council on 4044 3044 for guidance.


Pool Safety Register and safety certificates

All new swimming pools and spas require building approval from a Private Building Certifier. Read more about building approvals, inspections and certifications.

All residential pools and spas in Queensland must be registered with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC). There is no charge to register a pool, however, failure to register a pool can incur a fine. The Pool Safety Register is a state-wide database that keeps a record of all the regulated pools in Queensland.

The Queensland Government requires you to have a Pool Safety Certificate (referred to as Form 23) when buying, selling or leasing a property with a pool or spa.  These certificates are issued by a licensed pool safety inspector are valid for one year for a shared pool and two years for a non-shared pool.  Once a certificate expires, a new certificate is not required unless the property is sold or leased again.

Pool owners seeking a pool safety certificate need to contact a Licensed Pool Safety Inspector to arrange an inspection. Pool Safety Inspectors can only issue a certificate when they have placed the certificate details onto the state-based Pool Safety Register.

Council has Licensed Pool Safety Inspectors who can conduct Pool Safety Inspections and issue Pool Safety Certificates – fees apply. Alternatively, you can engage a private Pool Safety Inspector. Visit the QBCC Pool Safety website for more information about swimming pool safety requirements and to search for a licensed Pool Safety Inspector.


Pool fences and safety barriers

Queensland’s pool safety laws require pool owners to construct and maintain a compliant fence around their swimming pool regardless of when the pool was installed.  The standard for fencing around a swimming pool is contained in the following legislation:

  • AS1926.1 -2007 Swimming Pool Safety Part 1: Fencing for swimming pools
  • AS1926.2 -1995 Swimming Pool Safety Part 2: Location of fencing for private swimming pools
  • Queensland Development Code Mandatory Part 3.4 – Swimming Pool Barriers

Where a boundary fence or wall of a building on a common boundary forms part of the pool barrier, the pool safety standard still applies.  If any part of the boundary fence or wall does not meet the requirements of the pool safety standard, the pool owner may need to construct a separate barrier inside their property to comply with the standard.

Pool owners are responsible for ensuring pool barriers are maintained and damaged fencing or barriers are fixed immediately. Read more about pool fences and safety barriers on the Queensland Government website.


Council pool safety inspectors

Douglas Shire Council does not provide pool safety inspections. Local pool safety inspectors can be found in the Yellow Pages. Complaints in relation to pool safety can be lodged with Council, where a compliance officer will inspect.


Frequently asked questions

Does a dam on a residential property require a pool fence?

No. Dams, rivers, creeks or other similar watercourses are not required to be fenced under the pool fencing laws.

I have a fish pond/ornamental pond. Does this need to be fenced?

No. There is no requirement to fence a fish pond or ornamental pond

I plan to put a portable spa on a deck attached to the house. Do I need to fence the pool?

Yes. A spa pool, whether portable or fixed, comes under the definition of a swimming pool.

I am constructing a pool and want to use my boundary fence as part of the pool fence. Will the fencing laws allow that?

Yes. The pool fencing laws will allow the property boundary fence to form part of the pool fence.

If my neighbour is constructing a pool and wants to use the existing boundary fence as a pool fence, do I need to move any climbable objects on my land?

No. It is the responsibility of the pool owner to ensure that pool fencing complies with the pool fencing laws.

The rear boundary of my property abuts a canal and I am proposing to construct a swimming pool between my dwelling and the canal. Do I need to erect a pool fence between the canal and the swimming pool?

A permanent body of water may only be used as a barrier if it is a canal, lake, river, creek, stream, pond, ocean, dam, or the like. See Queensland Development Code, MP3.4, Swimming Pool Barriers, Figure 19.

Can Council issue on-the-spot fines for breaches of the pool fencing requirements?

Yes. The Queensland State Government on 1 November 2003 enacted legislation that allows councils to issue on-the-spot fines for infringements of the swimming pool fencing requirements.

If a substantial proportion of my existing fence has not been properly maintained, and is in such a state of disrepair as to not be practicable to repair it, do I have to build a new fence?

Yes. The replacement fence must comply with the current pool fencing standards. If only a small part of the existing fence has fallen into a state of disrepair, it can be repaired to the same standard that applies to the existing fence.

In both instances a development approval for building work may be required to assess the work. See The Building Regulation 2006, Schedule 2B and 2C. Refer to www.legislation.qld.gov.au to view the Regulation.

I have an existing fence around my swimming pool that needs some minor maintenance which I have arranged to do. Once the fence maintenance work has been completed do I have to get it checked for compliance by a private certifier?

The work is prescribed (not requiring a pool safety certificate or building approval) if it complies with The Building Regulation 2006, Schedule 2B and 2C. Click HERE to view the Regulation.

The general rule is that if the owner intends to carry out the work he can repair up to 2.4m of fencing and up to 2 posts.

If the pool safety inspector intends to carry out the work then up to 5m of fencing may be repaired or replaced and up to 6 posts.

The pool owner must refer to the building regulation for specific details.

I have a complying pool fence that has been inspected and approved by a building certifier. However, works/alteration by my neighbour on their side of the fence means the fence is now non-complying with the Australia Standard. For example, a barbeque, table, chairs, retaining wall sited within the 1.2 metre radius is now at the top of the swimming pool fence.

Am I required to make alteration to my pool fencing to bring it back into compliance with the Australian Standard?

Yes. It is always the responsibility of the pool owner (not the neighbour) to ensure their pool complies with the pool safety standard.

If the neighbour’s side of the fence does not comply with the pool safety standard, the pool owner must either:

  • Raise the fence to a height of 1800mm or more and ensure a non-climbable zone is located on their side of the fence;
  • Construct a separate complying pool barrier entirely within their own property.
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