Pool Fencing Regulation Review

young girl standing outside pool fence 

WA’s building regulator has released plans for an improvement to the regulation of private swimming pool fences. 

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s Building and Energy division conducted an extensive review of WA’s regulatory requirements for swimming pools and their associated safety barriers. The review followed an investigation by the State Ombudsman into ways to prevent or reduce childhood drowning deaths in Western Australia.

The Ombudsman’s report, presented to the WA Parliament in 2017, outlined 25 recommendations which formed the basis of the Building and Energy review. Following the review, a Decision Paper has now been released which details how the Government intends to reshape the legislative framework for swimming pools and their safety barriers.

The proposed changes will include areas such as:

  • Boundary barrier requirements
  • Building permit process for pools and pool fences
  • Inspections of safety barriers for new pools
  • Pool inspector training
  • Compliance process for non-compliant pool barriers

The Decision Paper states that safety barriers form part of a broader strategy in the prevention and reduction of the deaths of young children by drowning in private swimming pools. The broader strategy identifies supervision as the most effective element, with safety barriers acting as a second line of defence to restrict access of young children into a pool area.

“While active supervision is the best way to keep children safe around water, safety barriers provide a vital second line of defence, which is why they are compulsory for private swimming pools, portable pools or spas containing 30cm or more of water,” said Building and Energy Executive Director Saj Abdoolakhan.

“The valuable and diverse input we received during our consultation has shaped the decisions we intend to implement, alongside key partners, to improve the effectiveness of swimming pool safety barriers and ultimately save lives.”

Updates will be provided to relevant stakeholders, including swimming pool owners, as work progresses on implementing the proposed changes.

To ensure your pool barrier meets the current regulations, download the Rules for Pools and Spas handbook at the link below.

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