Residential Swimming Pools

pool and fence

Do you require a permit to for a swimming pool or spa?

Unless specifically exempt under the Building Act 2000 permits must be obtained from the Council for the installation and set-up of pools and spas. Before building a swimming pool or spa, inflating a blow-up pool or spa and/or erecting related safety fencing, you need to check with the Council to find out if or what building and/or plumbing approval is required.

In accordance with section 60(2) of the Act, building work on the following buildings is exempt from the requirement for a building permit:

 - a swimming pool if: 
(i) the maximum possible water surface area is not more than 9 square metres; and
(ii) the maximum possible water depth is not more than 300 millimetres:

Swimming Pool Definition
The BCA and Australian Standards define a swimming pool as follows:
Any excavation or structure containing water to a depth greater than 300mm and used, or designed, manufactured or adapted to be primarily used for swimming, wading, paddling or the like, including a bathing or wading pool, or spa pool.

Swimming Pool Safety
For information on how to make your home pool safe please view the Home Pool Safety Checklist available on the Royal Life Saving website. 

Fencingpool and fence image
Above-ground swimming pools and spas are required to have permanent safety barriers in the same manner as in-ground pools and spas, however, the walls of an above-ground swimming pool or spa may provide a barrier if they are at least 1.2m in height and so not have a surface which enables a child to gain a foothold and climb into the swimming pool or spa. Any objects that could be climbable by a young child, such as a pool ladder, pool filter, pump equipment or plumbing connection into the side of the pool, should be properly fenced or otherwise isolated.

Fencing Regulations
•Fences must be a minimum of 1.2m high
•The gap under the fence to be a maximum of 100mm from the ground
•The vertical bars should be closer than 100mm apart
•Once a fence and self-closing gate are installed, they must be kept in good working order

The placing of a cover or lid over the swimming pool or spa DOES NOT comply and is not acceptable. A safety barrier is required.

The top five issues affecting pool barriers released by the AIBS include:

1. Gates and doors that are no longer self-closing
If the gate is no longer self-closing the gate will not comply with Australian Standards.

2. Gates and doors that are no longer self-latching

General wear and tear of the locking mechanism means that many gates and doors will no longer self-latch when they close, If the gate or door is not properly locked, children may be able to gain unsupervised access to the water area.

3. Gates that are propped open
Sometimes, especially during summer and pool parties, the pool gate is propped open (e.g. with a chair or esky) to allow adults easy access to the pool area while they are carrying food or drink.

4. Ground movement
Ground movement may cause parts of the barrier, including the gate, to shift which may cause gaps to appear in and under the barrier.

5. Climbable objects on the neighbours side of a boundary fence
Objects on the neighbours side of the fence may enable a child to climb over and gain access to the water area.

For more information, please contact Council's Building Department on 6323 9300 or email

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