Swimming, spa and portable pools
The Building Regulations 2012 (the Regulations) requires all private swimming and spa pools that contain water that is more than 300mm deep to have a compliant safety barrier installed that restricts access by young children to the pool and its immediate surrounds.
In Western Australia, there are two sets of safety barrier requirements depending on when the private swimming pool was installed or when plans for the installation of the pool were submitted to the permit authority for approval.
- Post 1 May 2016 private swimming pools are required to have safety barriers that comply with the edition of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) currently in effect. The BCA references AS 1926.1:2012 (Safety barriers for swimming pools) and AS 1926.2:2007 (Location of safety barriers for swimming pools) incorporating amendments 1 and 2;
- Pre 1 May 2016 private swimming pools can continue to comply with their existing requirements under the Regulations or alternatively comply with the new requirements (that is the BCA).
Building and Energy has produced the following publications to assist swimming pool and spa owners to understand the barrier requirements for swimming and spa pools:
Publications for consumers
- Rules for pools and spas – May 2016
- Rules for portable pools – August 2018
- Thinking of installing a swimming pool or spa? (obtaining building approval) – September 2016
- Swimming pools and spas: electrical bonding – August 2018
- Danger – Swimming pool under construction – November 2018
- Do not pin the gate open - December 2018
- Simple pool safety checklist for residents - March 2020
Publications for practitioners
- Industry Bulletin 123 – Gate hinges in private swimming pool safety barriers
- Industry Bulletin 110 – Applicable building standards: Safety barriers for post-may 2016 private swimming pools
- Industry Bulletin 72 – Notice of completion - inspections and tests
- Industry Bulletin 67 – Building Amendment Regulations (No. 2) 2016 (swimming pool barriers)
- Industry Bulletin 64 – Changes to swimming pool barrier laws
- Progress report - Local government's four yearly inspections of private swimming pool safety barriers 2018/19
Please note: The figure on page 7 of 8.3% for the City of Nedlands should be 0%
- Progress report – Local government’s four yearly inspections of private swimming pool safety barriers 2017/18
- Ombudsman WA Investigation into ways to prevent or reduce death of children by drowning – November 2017
In 2018 the following information on the recall of unsafe pool gate latches has been released:
In April and May 2016, DMIRS held a number of information sessions on the changing requirements for swimming and spa pool safety barriers. An adaption of these presentations is available to view online:
Online information session:
Swimming and spa pool safety barriers – changes to the rules (Part 1)
Amendments to Building Regulations 2012
Building Code of Australia 2016
Online information session:
Swimming and spa pool safety barriers – changes to the rules (Part 2)
AS 1926.1-2012 Safety barriers for swimming pools
AS 1926.2-2007 Location of safety barriers for swimming pools
Professional Development for Pool Inspectors
In late 2020, Building and Energy teamed up with the Royal Life Saving Society WA and the City of Joondalup to provide its annual professional development content for pool inspectors.
The bite sized presentations are informative, topical and free to view online.
(Running time 1:52 min)
2. Toddler drowning – an overview
(Running time 21:09 min)
3. Isolation fences vs child-resistant doorsets – a comparative analysis
(Running time 36:31 min)
4. Home pool safety – adding value to home pool barrier inspection programs
(Running time 24:55 min)
5. Various issues and common queries
(Running time 15:09 min)
6. City of Joondalup – case study
(Running time 11:20 min)
For specific advice as to whether your swimming or spa pool barrier complies with the requirements, please contact your local government. Contact details are available on the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries website.
The BCA is now freely available via the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) website.
The Building Act 2011 and the Building Regulations 2012 contain laws related to swimming and spa pools and can viewed on the Parliamentary Counsel's Office website.
Specific information on portable pools can be found on the 'Portable swimming pool safety' webpage.
Consumer Protection 'Don't Duck Out – Make it Safe' campaign
Product safety recalls from ACCC – Product Safety Australia.
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