A swimming pool is a permanent addition to your yard. Even if you were to get an above-ground pool, it would be a long and tiring process to have it moved once you have it installed. Before you call a contractor to have your swimming pool dug, there are some factors you need to consider:
- Have you chosen a spot with enough privacy, or are you okay with some of your neighbours seeing you?
- Does your backyard have enough shelter from storm surges or strong winds?
- Can you properly supervise your kids when they’re playing near the swimming pool, even if you’re doing something else?
As you consider these, let’s go over the standard inground pool distance from houses and how to comply with these laws. We will also cover how close a pool can be to a boundary fence, and what a good distance is between your swimming pool and the boundary lines of your house.
Every year in Australia, at least one child below five years old dies from drowning in a private pool, and in some years past, that number soared to double-digits. Many more nearly drown and suffer trauma because of these occurrences. You can stop a tragedy like this by putting a safety barrier at the borders of your pool.
The amendment to the Swimming Pools Act of 2012 is one of the most level-headed pieces of legislation in place to prevent children from drowning in a pool. Aside from proper supervision and teaching your kids to be good swimmers, you should comply with this act to guarantee their safety.
In the Swimming Act, a swimming pool is a vessel, structure, or excavation that’s at least 300mm deep when filled with water. In New South Wales, you need to register your pool with the government at www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au. Depending on the policies of your local council, you may or may not need a pool compliance certificate, which you can obtain after they inspect your pool.
If your outdoor pool predates February 1, 1991, how close can a pool be to a boundary fence? In this case, it is cleared from local fencing requirements unless you decide to modify its existing fence. If your swimming pool is encased in all directions by the walls of your house or building, or it’s on the roof deck, you can consider it cleared from prevailing fencing laws. However, if your pool is of the portable variety and can hold more than 2000 litres of water with a depth of more than 450mm, fencing laws will apply.
While some types of swimming pools are exempt from several fencing laws, all swimming pools, by default, must have a surrounding fence to prevent children from diving in without supervision. But how close can a pool be to a boundary fence?
Fences should have:
- At least a height of 1.2 meters
- No gaps exceeding 10 centimetres close to the ground that children can squeeze under
- No gaps more than 10 centimetres from one vertical bar to another
- Climb-proof rails that are at least 90 centimetres away from each other horizontally
- At least a 1.1-meter distance between the highest lower support bar and the tip
- At least 1.2 meters space between something a child can stand or climb on as a foothold
- A 90 cm arc around it is a “non-climbable zone” where there are no nearby trees, fences or anything that children can use as a foothold
All fences should have doors that:
- Have bars or grills with a maximum gap of only 10.5 centimetres
- Have a maximum gap from the floor of only 120 centimetres
- Have a form of lock that doesn’t let it open beyond 10 centimetres
Things to Remember
Fences or walls from your neighbour’s yard do not count as part of your fence, so plan around these barriers as you calculate the distance between the pool and fences. Also, all pools that are not encased by a building must have a fence around it
After you build your pool, you may be tempted to toss in some water to see how it looks, but don’t do this! An approved inspector by your local council must inspect your pool before you can fill it with more than 30 centimetres of water