Pool Safety 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.
  • Promote awareness of the requirements in having a swimming pool

Open document  Pool-Safety-Stayhome information

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.


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.  

Costs for dividing fence when used as a pool barrier

The expense of constructing, altering, repairing, replacing or maintaining a dividing fence that is used as a pool barrier is at the cost of the pool owner.

In cases where a pool is situated on more than one property that shares a dividing fence that is used as a pool barrier the cost is shared by each pool owner.

These cost requirements prevail over any provision of the Dividing Fences Act 1991 that is to the contrary.  Further information can be found under section 33 of the Swimming Pools Act 1992.


    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 less than 1.5 metres above ground level, a shield 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. This internal latch is often used with solid glass panels.
    • Gate width is to be kept to a minimum (no more than 1 metre).  The wider the gate the more weight that is applied which can result failure of the latching mechanism.

    Gate Hinges

    Gate hinges that protrude out from the barrier with a horizontal top surface depth greater than 10 mm shall not be permitted in NCZs.

     A hinge may be within a NCZ provided.

    • The hinge has a top surface (cap) sloped at 60° to the horizontal and
    • The opening between the gate post and the gate stile is not more than 10 mm


    It is considered where the vertical gap (opening) at the hinge is more than 10mm the top of the splay hinge cap could aid climbing by providing a horizontal ledge the same as a piece of wire.  The concession for the hinge to be within NCZ is that the combination of the slay against a flat surface removes the aid for climbing.

    Non climbable zone (NCZ)

    • 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 $25 - Fees and charges 2019, subject to change confirm with customer service centre. 

    Current Pool Resuscitation Sign

    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. 

    Spa Lockable Lid Option - An option is available for the use of child resistant lid that is secured to the spa can be used instead of a pool fence.  The child-resistant lid is to be lockable and kept locked whenever the spa is not in actual use.  This option is not available to a spa pool that is used for other uses such as a swim spa or plunge pool spa.

    Sutherland Shire Council application of when a spa pool lockable-lid option is available for situations where;

    • The spa is not for swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity.
    • The spa does not have any swim jet facilities and not intended to be used for swimming
    • The spa is limited to 6.5 square metres, measured at the water surface, with no dimension (at water line) greater than 3 metres.
    • The lockable lid being capable of being installed and locked in place manually by a single person.

     Such items as swim spas and plunge pools do not qualify for a lockable lid under section 20 of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and require to be provided with a 4-sided barrier.

    For more information contact Council's Pool Safety Officer.


    Australian Standard - AS 2610.2-2007 Spa pools - Part 2: Private spas


    1.3.18 Private spa

    Any spa pool that is not designated as a 'public spa' by any State Act, Regulation or regulatory body.

    1.3.23 Spa pool

    A water-retaining structure fitted with filtration and sanitizing equipment, a heater, equipment for creating turbulent water and a skimmer system, normally filled with water except for maintenance purposes, and not intended to be used for swimming.

    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 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 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.

    Are you safety compliant? 

    Request a council inspection/Pool Certificate of Compliance

    Westmead Hospital Video 'NSW Study of Drowning and Near Drowning in Children'


    Address: ,

    More information

    Policies and documents

    Pool Safely Booklet Pool Resuscitation Warning Sign



    Pool safety concern

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