Pool fences and barriers
If you have a pool, it must have a pool fence or barrier. The barrier must be well maintained at all times.
Maintenance of pool fences and barriers is essential to stop children drowning or being seriously injured.
If your pool fence or barrier is damaged, you must repair it immediately.
All pool fences and barriers must comply with Queensland Development Code MP 3.4—Swimming pool barriers (PDF, 5.4MB). This code calls up and modifies the Australian Standard AS1926.2007.
Responsibility for pool fences and barriers
The pool owner usually owns the land and must ensure the pool fence or barrier is compliant.
Tenants renting a property with a pool must keep the pool gate closed and ensure there are no objects near the pool area that would allow children to access the pool.
If you’re renting a property and you buy a pool or spa, you must ensure it has a compliant pool fence or barrier (if needed by law).
Why barriers fail
Pool fences and barriers commonly fail because:
- the gates aren’t self-closing and self-latching from all points
- the height of the barrier is less than 1200mm (note: ground levels and garden beds can rise over time, reducing the pool barrier’s height)
- the adjoining boundary fences have climbable rails
- the windows opening into the pool area can be opened by more than 100mm
- climbable objects are placed near the pool fence or barrier.
Making your pool barrier compliant
To help make your pool fence or barrier compliant:
- replace, tighten or adjust the hinges on your gates
- ensure the pool barrier height is at least 1200mm from bottom to top
- trim back any vegetation or branches that a child could use to climb over the pool barrier
- shield or remove climbable objects within 900mm of the pool barrier
- install fixed security screens on windows that open into the pool enclosure
- remove climbable objects from the pool barrier and surrounding areas.
Replacing a pool fence or barrier
If part of a pool fence or barrier is damaged or missing, you must replace it.
If a small part of the barrier is damaged (e.g. where palings, hinges or latches need replacing), the barrier may be repaired to the same standard as the existing barrier.
However, if you’re selling or leasing the property, the barrier must comply with the current standard.
Some pool safety inspectors are licensed to perform minor repair work.
New replacement pool fences or barriers must comply with the current standard.
You don’t need approval if the barrier meets both:
- the pool safety standard
- any other building standard that applies to the work.
In addition, you need to make sure the pool fence or barrier is either:
- no higher than 2m above ground level
- no more than 2m above a retaining wall or other structure if it’s been built on one. If any part of the fence is more than 2m from ground level, it can’t be within 1.5m of a boundary
If the barrier is not compliant, you must obtain a nonconformity notice from a licensed pool safety inspector before starting work on the new barrier. The new barrier must be re-inspected by the same inspector within three months, and the work must be carried out during the inspection period stated in the notice.
Dividing fences as pool fences or barriers
Dividing fences that also serve as pool barriers are common in Queensland.
Both you and your neighbour are responsible for maintaining this barrier under the pool safety laws.
Read about using dividing fences as pool barriers.
Portable pools and indoor spas
Spas and some portable wading pools need a complying barrier, even if they have fully lockable, solid covers.
Read the rules for portable pools or indoor spas.
- Form 39—Notice of proposed fencing work for a pool barrier (PDF, 73KB)
- Form 40—Notice to contribute for urgent fencing work for a pool barrier (PDF, 106KB)
- Guidelines for pool owners and property agents (PDF, 2.3MB)
- Training in first aid, resuscitation and more (Royal Life Saving Australia)