Swimming Pool Safety

Swimming pool safety is essential to prevent backyard drownings. 

We help to regulate pool safety by providing education, a pool inspection program investigating safety concerns.

A swimming pool is a structure that can be filled to a depth greater than 30cm of water. Types of pool include:

  • concrete and fiberglass swimming pools
  • inflatable swimming pools
  • temporary or wading pools
  • above-ground pools and spas.

All pools must be registered on the free NSW Swimming Pool RegisterIf your pool is not registered, you may be fined.

There are other pool safety requirements, such as displaying updated CPR signs. Find out more in the swimming pool specifications section.

Swimming pool inspection program

Inspections by Council

In NSW Councils must have a pool safety barrier program in place. This involves inspecting:

  • High risk properties, such as tourist and visitor accommodation.
  • A pool or spa on request of an owner for a sale or lease.
  • Pools without a current Certificate of Compliance or because of complaints or reports.

We inspect swimming pools to ensure they are compliant and are safe. We will then issue either a:

  • Certificate of Compliance or
  • Certificate of Non-Compliance from the NSW Swimming Pools Register.

To be prepared, owners should do a self-assessment of their pool fence before requesting an inspection. This not only makes sure the pool is safe, but it may also save you money. 

Inspections by private certifiers

Registered private certifiers can also inspect properties and issue a certificate of compliance or non-compliance. 

Certifiers must advise Council when a pool is not compliant.

You can find a private certifier through NSW Fair Trading or the Swimming Pool Register

Swimming pool specifications

There are many requirements that go with owning a pool. These include pool fencing and safety signage.

Here are some quick and easy specifications to help you ensure your pool is safe.


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.

Non-climbable zone (NCZ)

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.

Warning and CPR signs

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 us - see our fees and charges for current cost.

Demountable, baby and portable pools

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.

Indoor pools

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.

Child-resistant doors

  • 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.