As a swimming pool owner, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for safety
Drowning is the biggest cause of accidental death for young children and most occur in private backyard swimming pools. You can reduce the risk of such an accident occurring in your swimming pool by making sure that your pool is adequately fenced and young children are supervised at all times.
All swimming pools must have a continuous safety barrier that is maintained by the pool owner and which restricts access by young children to the pool.
In-ground or above-ground swimming pools and spas must have a water recirculation and filtration system that complies with AS 1926.3 to reduce the risk of injury to a young child due to entrapment by suction.
Swimming pool owners must ensure that all required swimming pool safety features are maintained in working order at all times.
Children can move quickly and do not recognise the dangers of a pool - close child supervision will help to reduce the number of drownings in private swimming pools.
Resuscitation skills are crucial because they save lives – make certain that someone on the property has these skills.
LEGISLATION APPLYING TO SWIMMING POOLS IN SA
Swimming pools built before 1 July 1993
From 1 October 2008, if your property contains a swimming pool built before 1 July 1993 and you are placing your property up for sale you will need to ensure that your swimming pool barriers are in line with Ministers Specification SA 76D - Swimming Pool Safety—new prescribed requirements for upgrading prescribed swimming pools.
From 1 October 2008, if the property on which a swimming pool is located is not sold, the swimming pool can continue to comply with the old Swimming Pools (Safety) Act 1972, which requires the swimming pool owner to ensure that the swimming pool is enclosed by a fence, wall or building or any combination of these, to restrict access by young children to the swimming pool.
Swimming pools built on or after 1 July 1993
Swimming pools built from 1 July 1993 must comply with the rules that were in place when the pool or child safety barriers were approved. Contact the local Council to find out what rules apply.
Acceptable safety barriers
All pools must have suitable safety barriers to restrict access by young children to the immediate pool surrounds, constructed in accordance with Australian Standard AS 1926.1.
Barrier requirements complying with AS 1926.1
Fencing must be constructed, such that:
- the fence is an effective barrier to young children
- it is permanent
- it does not provide access for young children to crawl under or to climb over by using foot and hand holds
- it is not less than 1.2 metres high
- boundary fences, if used as part of the childsafety barrier must be at least 1.8 metres high on the inside, with a 900mm non-climbable zone on the inside at the top. It can be less than 1.8 metres high and can be climbable on the outside (neighbour’s side).
Gates to the pool area must:
- only swing outward from the pool area
- be self closing from any position
- be fitted with a latching device that is out reach of small children (generally 1.5 metres above ground level)
- you should never prop the gate open or prevent it from latching.
Security measures on awning and sliding windows complying with AS 1926.1
Where the openable part of any window is less than 1.8 metres above the finished ground level and provides direct access from the house to the pool area, it must have one of the following:
- bars or metal screen or
- a mechanism limiting the size of the window
opening to a maximum of 100mm.
If you are selling a property with a swimming pool, you are not required to have an inspection or compliance certificate – however some council officers, building consultants and private certifiers are able to offer advice. Only council officers have legislative authority under the Development Act 1993 to enforce requirements for swimming pool safety.
For new swimming pools, your local council will inspect the pool and safety features including the finished child safety barriers. You need to notify your council at two stages:
- When the pool itself is ready for filling with water
- When the approved child safety barriers are finished and ready to inspect
You must not fill the pool until a complying safety barrier is in place. A temporary barrier that complies with the Building Code can be used for not more than two months.