Council is responsible for managing the Swimming Pools Act and Regulations in Sutherland Shire. We investigate reports of safety concerns, provide education on backyard pool safety and offer a swimming pool inspection program to help you ensure your pool is compliant.
Swimming pool safety is essential to prevent backyard drownings.
A swimming pool is defined as a structure that can be filled with 300mm of water or more and is used for swimming or other water activities. Pools include:
- 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 Swimming Pool Register. The NSW Swimming Pool Register includes resources such as checklists and fact sheets. You can also look up a pool on the register.
All new pools must display updated CPR signs. Owners of existing pools must update their signage if their pool is substantially altered or rebuilt.
Pools must be enclosed by a child-resistant barrier that separates the pool from residential buildings and adjoining properties.
Fines may apply if barriers and gates are not kept in good condition.
Internal fences and gates
Pool fencing and gates must be a minimum of 1.2 metres high, measured from outside the pool enclosure.
Pool boundary fences
If a boundary fence is used to restrict access, it must be at least 1.8 metres high, measured from inside the pool enclosure.
Costs for a dividing fence used as a pool barrier
The cost of constructing, altering, repairing, replacing or maintaining a dividing fence used as a pool barrier rests with the pool owner.
If a pool is located on more than one property that shares a dividing fence, the cost is shared by each owner. According to the Swimming Pools Act 1992, this takes precedence over any provision of the Dividing Fences Act 1991.
Gaps in pool fences or gates must be not greater than 100mm.
Gate hinges with a horizontal (top) surface greater than 10mm are not permitted in the non-climbable zone (NCZ) unless they slope at 60° and the opening between the gate post and stile is less than 10mm.
The NCZ is a designated area around a pool barrier that prevents children from climbing into the pool area.
The NCZ extends 900mm inside, outside and above the fence and gate barrier.
For barriers with openings larger than 10mm, the NCZ extends 300mm inside the barrier.
For boundary fences, the NCZ is located on the pool side of the fence and extends 900mm from the top and outwards from the barrier.
Landscaping, decks, retaining walls, steps, lighting or furniture must not intrude into the NCZ.
Level changes to barrier steps must be made at least 500mm from the barrier.
A CPR chart and warning notice must be placed in a prominent position facing the pool. Notices must not be placed in landscaped areas.
CPR and warning signs must be well maintained and legible from three metres away. You can buy signs from Council. See fees and charges for current cost.
Barrier and fence rules apply if a pool structure - including demountable, portable and baby pools - can be filled to a depth greater than 300mm.
Pools less than 300mm in height must be emptied immediately after use and stored where they cannot collect rainwater.
Spa pools must be surrounded by a child-resistant barrier or fitted with a lockable, child-resistant lid. The lid must be locked when the spa is not in use. This option is not available for spa pools used for swimming or plunge pool spas.
Council will assess a lockable lid as an acceptable safety option if:
- the spa is not for swimming, wading, paddling or any other aquatic activity
- the spa does not have swim jets and is not intended for swimming
- the spa is limited to a water surface area of 6.5m², with no dimension greater than 3 metres
- the lid can be installed and locked in place by one person.
Young children must not be able to access an indoor pool without adequate adult supervision.
Areas surrounding the pool, such as a gym or entertainment area, must be separated from the pool by a child-resistant barrier and gate.
Doors must be closed at all times.
Windows must be child-resistant. This usually involves security mesh or a grill fixed permanently over the windows.
Standards for fences and gates apply to the indoor pool area.
- Doors must be side-hung, forming part of the indoor pool barrier.
- Doors must be self-closing and self-latching.
- Doors must open outwards from the pool area.
- Doorknob and latch releases must be on the outside face of the door at least 1500m above the floor.
- A non-climbable zone (NCZ) of 900mm applies to the outside of the door. The NCZ can be positioned no more than 1200mm above the floor.
- Doors must not have pet flaps or other openings.
- Door releases must be manually operated to ensure power failures do not stop the door from being opened.
- Doors must be a minimum of one metre wide.
- Glass viewing inserts are recommended so you can see into the pool area before opening the door.
All pools in NSW must be registered and you can do this free of charge on the NSW Swimming Pool Register. The site also features checklists to help you meet all pool safety requirements.
A Pool Certificate of Compliance cannot be issued to an unregistered pool. If you do not register your pool, you may be fined.
Apply for a Pool Certificate of Compliance - PDF - 160 KB
Council’s swimming pool inspection program
This program identifies pool barriers that do not effectively restrict access to pools in accordance with the Swimming Pools Act 1992.
An inspection will result in the issue of either a Certificate of Compliance or a Certificate of Non-Compliance from the NSW Swimming Pools Register.
High-risk pools are inspected every three years. Council officers may also schedule inspections for pools without a current Certificate of Compliance or as a result of complaints or reports.
Swimming pool barrier inspection
You can request a pool barrier inspection either from Council or a registered swimming pool inspector.
You can find a private certifier through NSW Fair Trading or the Swimming Pool Register.
Council has a responsibility as a regulatory authority to identify non-compliant pool barriers. Council may issue a notice to the pool owner if a barrier is found to be non-compliant.
If a pool is recorded as “not a significant risk”, a new owner has 90 days from settlement to comply. This 90-day allowance does not apply to existing property owners.
If Council has issued a Notice or Order under the Swimming Pools Act 1992, we are required to reinspect the pool to complete the action, even if the barrier has been inspected by a private certifier. Re-inspection requests for properties under a Notice or Order from Council must be submitted to Council, along with exemption certificate applications.
- Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB)
- BASIX - Building Sustainability Index
- ePlanning tools NSW Planning & Environment
- Local Environmental Plan (LEP)
- NSW Fair Trading pool fencing requirements
- NSW Planning & Environment Exempt and complying policy
- NSW Planning & Environment Guide to the DA process
- Pool certificate of compliance form - PDF - 160 KB
- Compliance and enforcement - Council has varied regulatory functions that empower Council to enforce legislation and regulation.