Swimming Pool Safety and Requirements

Swimming Pool

Find out all you need to know about owning a pool or spa including safety regulations and registration.

Need to know

Swimming pools are wonderful if the appropriate safety precautions are put in place to ensure the safety of your family and friends. 

Legislation requires pool owners to provide a fence or barrier to pools and spas, display a resuscitation notice and register their pools on line at www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au. However this is only part of proper pool safety procedures. Supervision of children is essential to ensure tragic accidents are prevented. Remember - children can drown in fenced pools.

What is a pool?

Any excavation, structure or vessel including swimming pools and spa pools that is:

  • capable of being filled with water to a depth greater than 30cm, and
  • used, designed, manufactured or adapted for swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity.

Pool safety is the responsibility of the pool owner. You must ensure you:

  • register your pool or spa on the NSW Government Swimming Pool Register or
  • use the Pool Safety Checklists to inspect your pool's safety
  • have a child resistant pool barrier fence and ensure the gate locks
  • check that the gate self-closes from any position and self-latches
  • have a visible resuscitation chart
  • remove any objects or trees near the pool barrier that would allow a small child to gain access to the pool
  • have discussed with your family what to do in the event of an emergency
  • ensure children are properly supervised

Responsibilities when selling or leasing a property with a pool or spa

Selling your property

If you are selling a property with a swimming pool or spa you are required to include one of the following with your contract for sale:

  • A current certificate of compliance
  • A current certificate of non-compliance
  • A relevant occupation certificate issued within the last three years

Leasing your property

Prior to leasing a property with a swimming pool or spa the landlord or real estate agent must provide one of the following:

  • A current certificate of compliance
  • A relevant occupation certificate issued within the last three years

The pool must be inspected every three years to certify compliance over the duration of the lease.

Buying a property

When purchasing a property with a swimming pool or spa ensure you are provided with one of the following by the vendor:

  • A current certificate of compliance
  • A current certificate of non-compliance
  • A relevant occupation certificate issued within the last three years

If a certificate of non-compliance has been issued, you accept responsibility to complete required works and obtain a valid certificate of compliance within 90 days of obtaining ownership.

How do I obtain a certificate of compliance?

How do I obtain a certificate of compliance?

  1. Applications can be made to Clarence Valley Council by completing a Request for Swimming Pool Compliance form and paying the relevant fees.
  2. Engage an accredited certifier to inspect the swimming pool and issue a certificate of compliance under the Swimming Pools Act 1992.  For details on engaging a certifier, please refer to the NSW Swimming Pool Register website, and the NSW Fair Trading - Finding and appointing a certifier.

Prior to making an application you are strongly encouraged to use the Swimming Pool Register checklists to undertake your own self-assessment on whether or not your pool barrier meets required standards of performance.

Pool fencing requirements

The requirements for child-resistant pool barrier fencing vary depending on when the pool was built and where the pool is located.

Please visit the  NSW Fair Trading - Pool Fencing Requirements  for further information.

Warning Notice / Signage

All pools require a cardiopulmonary resuscutation (CPR) sign to be displayed in a prominent position in the immediate vicinity of the pool.

The CPR sign must be legible from a distance of at least three metres and maintained in good condition.

All Resuscitation Charts must comply with the Swimming Pools Regulations 2018 and can be purchased from most pool supply shops.

Spa pools

Spa pools are also covered by the legislation and should be separated by a child-resistant pool safety barrier in accordance with Australian Standard AS1926.1-2012.

Alternatively, the spa pool must be covered and secured by a lockable child-safe structure (such as a door, lid, grille or mesh).

Portable and inflatable pools

Pools that are able to be filled to a depth of 300mm or more must be surrounded by a safety barrier separating the swimming pool from any residential building or place adjoining the premises.

What can I do?

  • Check there are adequate child-resistant pool barrier fences in place separating the pool from the residence, adjoining properties and the neighbourhood
  • Are these barriers compliant with current legislation?
  • Ensure all of the pool safety barriers are maintained and operating eg check gates are self-closing and self-latching
  • Supervise children when using the swimming pool
  • Make sure pool gates are kept closed at all times
  • Keep articles, objects and structures at least 900mm clear of the pool fence at all times, eg chairs, pot plants.

Mandatory Swimming Pool Inspection Program

Councils have a legal responsibility to help protect the safety of children around swimming pools. As part of this responsibility under Swimming Pools Act 1992 Clarence Valley Council has implemented a Mandatory Pool Inspection Program(PDF, 628KB). For this program Council will

  • Inspect swimming pool barriers at least once every three years where the pool is situated on premises on which there is tourist and visitor accommodation or more than 2 dwellings.
  • Inspect swimming pool barriers without a current certificate of compliance if Council are attending the site for any other reason. If the swimming pool barrier is found to be non-compliant Council will  request rectification work be carried out to fix the issues.
  • Inspect swimming pool barriers when they are the subject of a complaint to Council.

Swimming pool legislation

The relevant legislative documents for pool safety are: