Swimming Pools Safety
The Swimming Pools Act 1992 (NSW) defines a swimming pool as an excavation, structure or vessel that is capable of being filled with water to a depth greater than 300 millimetres, and that is principally used or designed for the purpose of swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity (includes spa pools and temporary pools). This covers both privately owned and public pools and spas.
Pool safety is a system of child-resistant barriers that restrict access to the pool area by children. You can do the following to make your pool safer:
- never leave objects near a pool fence for children to climb on
- always provide adult supervision for children
- always keep your fence gates, doors and windows secured and in working condition
- always keep trees, shrubs and climbing plants clear of the pool fence/barrier
- always keep your filter skimmer box covered and chemicals stored in a safe place
- undertake CPR resuscitation training for emergency situations
- teach your child to swim from an early age.
Registering your pool
All property owners with a swimming pool located on their property must register their swimming pool details to the Office of Local Government. Registrations may be completed through the swimming pool register website. A paper application is available from City of Parramatta and incurs a $10 administration fee.
Swimming pool barrier inspections are conducted by City of Parramatta if:
- a complaint is received
- an application is made for a Compliance Certificate
- an application is made for an Occupation Certificate
- they are thought to be non compliant
- they are located on tourist or accommodation premises or have more than two dwellings as part of our mandatory inspection program
During the inspection, an officer will require access to all areas on the premises that form part of the child resistant barrier that may include parts of a house, garage or other dwelling. The officer will take measurements of dimensions of the barrier, take photos of the barrier and pool area and test strength of gates, doors and other openings.
Swimming pools must be surrounded by a child resistant barrier that:
- separates the swimming pool from any residential building situated on the premises and from any public or private place adjoining the premises
- is designed, constructed, installed and maintained in accordance with the standards prescribed by the regulations.
The specific requirements for child resistant barriers are detailed in the Swimming Pools Regulation 2008 and Building Code of Australia. Copies of the Swimming Pools Act and Regulations can be viewed on the NSW Legislation website.
Copies of the Australian Standard 1926 – 2007, Building Code of Australia, and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Guideline are available for review at Parramatta Library, 1-3 Fitzwilliam Street, Parramatta. The CPR Guideline can also be viewed online.
If non compliances are found with the child resistant barrier during an inspection, Council may issue a Direction to comply with the Swimming Pools Act 1992, requiring the owner of the premises to carry out works to the barrier to bring it up to compliance. Council will generally provide Notice to the pool owner prior to issuing a Direction, unless there are circumstances under which Council considers that the safety of a person would be at risk if the requirements of the direction were not carried out as soon as possible.
Section 22 exemption
The owner of a pool may apply to City of Parramatta for an exemption pursuant to Section 22 of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 under certain circumstances. An exemption may be granted if the following are met:
- it is impracticable or unreasonable for the swimming pool to comply with those requirements because of the physical nature of the premises, the design or construction of the swimming pool or special circumstances recognised by the regulations
- alternative provision, no less effective than those requirements, exists for restricting access to the swimming pool.
For further details on Section 22 exemptions, please refer to the NSW Office of Local Government website.
To apply to City of Parramatta Council for an exemption under section 22 of the Act, please complete the standard application form.
Compliance and Occupation Certificates relating to swimming pools are current for 3 years from date of issue. These certificates may be issued by City of Parramatta or an Accredited Private Certifier. To apply for a compliance certificate with City of Parramatta , please complete and return the standard form.
Selling or leasing a property?
Properties sold with a swimming pool must now have either a Certificate of Compliance or a Certificate of Non-Compliance issued from the NSW Swimming Pool Register. This means the:
- vendor of a property with a swimming pool is able to transfer to the purchaser the requirement to make a pool barrier compliant or non complaint through the attachment of a Certificate of Non-compliance or a Certificate of Compliance to the contract for sale
- purchaser of a property with a swimming pool has 90 days from the date of ownership transfer to address any issue of swimming pool barrier non-compliance or be subject to current penalties
- properties with more than 2 dwellings are exempt from the requirement to provide a compliant pool barrier on sale or lease as they are already regulated by mandatory 3 year inspection programs
- properties with 2 dwellings or less are required to have a certificate of compliance before entering into a lease