Swimming pools and spas

 As a swimming pool owner, you are responsible for;

  • Swimming pool safety barriers, such as fencing and gates, are installed, operational and maintained to the Australian Standard.
  • All gates and doors providing access to your swimming pool area are kept closed.
  • Registering your swimming pool with the NSW Swimming Pool Register. You may receive a fine if your swimming pool is not registered. 

If you are unsure whether your swimming pool meets the required safety standards, you may wish to apply for a Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate.

View the information on new and existing backyard pools, or check what steps to take to apply for a certificate of compliance.

Steps in obtaining swimming pool/spa compliance

1. Understand your responsibilites 

As a guide, download a self-assessment checklist from NSW Swimming Pool Register. You’ll find key compliance information that will help you plan

2. Fix areas of concern

If after reading the self-assessment checklist, you have any concerns or believe you are not complying, you should take corrective action. If you need further advice you can talk to one of our Building Surveyors.  

3. Register your backyard pool

All pools and spas need to be registered with NSW Swimming Pool Register. There is no fee to register your pool but unregistered pools could be fined $220.

If you are unsure if you pool is registered, check the NSW Swimming Pool Register by searching your address.

Register now

4. Lodge your Swimming pool certificate of compliance application

You will need to fill in the Swimming Pool Certificate of Compliance form. 

5. Payment and booking

Once the application is lodged, Council will contact you to arrange payment and book in a time. All fees must be paid prior to inspection. 

New backyard pool

Your backyard pool or spa may need approval to construct, install or alter if it can hold water more than 300mm deep and a volume of 2000 litres or more. 

You can obtain development consent either through a Complying Development (CDC) or Development Application (DA).

After installation, pools are required by law to be registered on the NSW Swimming Pool Register. Registering your pool is free.

Existing backyard pool

As a homeowner, you are responsible for the compliance, registration and certification of your Swimming Pool. 

Selling or leasing your property?

If your pool  has not got a current Complinac Certificate, you'll need to apply to council using our Application for Swimming Pool Certificate of Compliance form found on our forms page.

Once your swimming pool has passed inspection, you will receive a Compliance Certificate, which is valid for three years.

Only Council or a registered certifier can issue a certificate of compliance.


Spa pool

A spa pool (also known as a hot tub or Jacuzzi) is subject to the same requirements as an indoor or outdoor pool. The spa must be surrounded by either:

  • A child-resistant barrier (swimming pool fence) complying with Australian Standard AS1926.1
  • An exemption exists under the legislation that allows spa pool not to be surrounded by a child-resistant barrier (swimming pool fence) if the spa pool has a lockable child-safe structure, such as a door, lid, grille or mesh that is:
    • of substantial construction and has no opening through which a testing apparatus* could be passed, and
    • fastened to the spa pool by a device that is itself of substantial construction and having no opening through which a testing apparatus* could be passed

The lid must be capable of being operated, removed, reinstalled and locked by a single person. The exemption for a lockable lid does not apply to swim spas or spa pools that are manufactured for the purpose of swimming.

*A testing apparatus is defined within Australian Standard AS1926.1.


Inflatable, demountable and portable pool requirements

1. Inflatable, demountable and portable pools

Drowning is a leading cause of preventable death in children under five years of age. While fun for small children, serious hazards are associated with inflatable and portable pools.

Legislation requires all swimming pools, including inflatable or portable pools, to have a child-resistant barrier to prevent drownings.

Large inflatable pool (more than 300mm high)

You need approval to install an inflatable or portable pool that can be filled with a capacity greater than 2000 litres.

You must, by law, have a child-resistant barrier constructed to Australian Standards around any pool that is capable of being filled with water to greater than 300mm deep.

Small inflatable pool (less than 300mm high)

If you cannot provide a fence around an inflatable or portable pool that is capable of being filled with water greater than 300mm deep, your only option is to purchase a smaller inflatable pool that is less than 300mm high, which you can put away after each use.

Indoor pool

Owners must ensure that access to an indoor pool area is restricted in accordance with the legislation. The standard for restriction, for example, child-resistant windows and doors, is set out in Australian Standard AS1926.1. 

Indoor pool access door

A side-hung door forming part of a barrier for an indoor pool must open outwards from the indoor pool area and the latching device must be located at least 1500mm from floor level.

Glass viewing door insert

It is recommended that a glass viewing insert be provided within the door of an indoor pool area to enable viewing into the pool area and for safety when the door is being opened.

Pool fencing requirements

In line with legislation, outdoor swimming pools must be enclosed by a fence that acts as a child-resistant barrier. The fence must separate the swimming pool from any residential building situated on the premises and from any adjoining or private properties.

The fence must be designed, constructed, installed and maintained in accordance with Australian Standard AS1926.1-2012 - Safety Barriers for Swimming Pools.

Swimming pool fence requirements
  • Internal swimming pool fencing height must be at least 1.2m high around the perimeter, measured on the outside of the building
  • Boundary fence must be 1.8m high, measured from inside the swimming pool enclosure
  • There must be a minimum 900mm separation between the upper and lower horizontal components of the fence to maintain a non-climbable zone
  • The gap between the bottom of the fence and finished ground level must not exceed 100mm.
  • The gap between each barrier component must not exceed 100mm.
  • The non-climbable zone must extend 300mm from the barrier into the swimming pool area and 900mm outside the swimming pool area
  • All swimming pool fencing must be in good condition with no broken or loose pailings
  • There must be no objects, such as barbecues, furniture, planter boxes, trees or shrubs, within 900mm of the fence, which could allow a child to climb over the fence
  • Gates to the swimming pool area must open outwards and must be fully self-closing and self-latching from any open position, including from resting against the latch itself
  • An appropriate resuscitation sign must be displayed in the immediate vicinity of the swimming pool area

This is not a complete list of requirements. Please refer to the Australian Standard for detailed legislation and requirements. There are provisions for older swimming pool to comply with older versions of the Standards.

Is your pool located at the access point of you property or on a foreshore?

Access to and from residential buildings or the waterfront must be outside the swimming pool enclosure and not through the swimming pool area. 

Pool barrier exemptions

Council will only consider applications for exemptions in exceptional circumstances only in accordance with Section 22 of the Swimming Pools Act 1992. Exemptions will only be granted where it is impractical or unreasonable where the alternative requirement is no less effective than if the pool complied with Australian Standard.

Exemptions to pool fencing requirements apply to the following pools, so long as the access to the pool (i.e. from the associated dwelling), is restricted in accordance with the exception outlined in the swimming pool regulation for the year the pool was built:

  • pools constructed prior to 1 August 1990
  • pools on waterfront properties constructed before 1 July 2010
  • pools on properties smaller than 230-square-metres constructed before 1 July 2010
  • pools on properties greater than two hectares or more constructed before 1 July 2010
  • If you, or someone living at the property, have a disability and are not able to access the pool if fencing complied with pool barrier safety laws
  • The location of your pool is situated in a position where a barrier is difficult or impractical

Please speak with our duty planner and/or surveyor to further discuss your circumstances.

How to retain your swimming pool barrier exemption

To retain the exemption that was available when the pool was built, the pool barrier or means of access must continue to fully comply with the Australian Standard applicable at the time of installation, and be maintained in the exact same way as it was originally approved.

Swimming pool barrier and fencing exemptions will no longer apply if:

Access to a pool or pool barrier is substantially altered or rebuilt

When access to a pool or pool barrier is substantially altered or rebuilt (i.e. the swimming pool fence, door or window access from the dwelling to the pool is substantially changed from when it was approved), the entire swimming pool barrier must be upgraded to comply with the current legislation and Australian Standards.

Restricted access to a pool or pool barrier is not provided

Where a restricted means of access or pool barrier has not been provided (i.e. the doors or windows from the dwelling do not comply with the Australian Standards applicable when the pool was approved), then the exemption no longer applies and the entire pool barrier is required to be upgraded to comply with current standards.

Restricted access to a pool or pool barrier is not maintained or does not comply

Where the restricted means of access or pool barrier is not maintained or is not in accordance with the terms of the exemption, the exemption no longer applies and the access or pool barrier must comply with current standards. If you fence in a swimming pool voluntarily, even if it was not required by legislation when the pool was installed (it was exempt), the fencing must still meet current legislative requirements. By installing fencing, you are effectively removing the exemption. Once in place, the fence cannot be removed or altered to a lesser (older) standard.