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Swimming Pools and Spa Pools FAQs


Do I need Council's approval to build a swimming pool?

You must have an approval from Council for the construction or erection of any swimming pool whether it is on residential property, motel, hospital, institution, caravan park or the like.

It is our responsibility to make sure that your swimming pool complies with the Swimming Pools Act 1992, various Australian Standards and The Building Code of Australia.

Whose responsibility is it to provide a child-resistant barrier?

The owner of the premises on which a swimming pool is situated must ensure that a fully compliant child-resistant barrier is installed and maintained at all times.

How does Council determine whether my pool complies?

Firstly through the development assessment process

After you have considered the type of pool you wish to build and its general location you will be required to submit an application to us.

  • This can take the form of a development application, or in some situations, a complying development certificate.
  • Regardless of the type of pool or the process that your approval takes, you will be required to submit the appropriate application form complete with a site plan and specifications.

During the construction phase and at the completion of the pool

Council will perform inspections as per the relevant Consent documents.

  • After the final inspection and your pool is filled with water the onus for maintaining the area in a safe condition falls on the owner/operator of the pool.
  • We will not perform routine inspections but may be required to do so when properties change hands through the building certificate process or in the event of receiving complaints.
  • If however you wish to confirm that your pool fence complies before properties change hands or for your own piece of mind, an application for a Swimming Pools Certificate of Compliance(144KB, PDF) can be made for a fee of $150.00 to ensure that your pool fence complies with the Australian Standard.
  • An application fee applies in accordance with Council's Fees and Charges.

Pool users should be aware that if there is a death or injury at a pool, legal liability may fall on the person responsible for the pool at the time, even if a safety fence and signage is installed.

What building specifications does Council require?

This depends on the type of pool construction.

Prefabricated above-ground pools

The manufacturer's installation instructions will suffice. This requirement extends to relocated above-ground pools as well as new installations.

In-ground pools (either concrete or other prefabricated pools)

Council requires full structural details prepared by a practising Structural Engineer (being a member of the Institute of Engineers of Australia) or a person holding equal qualifications approved by Council.

How can I be sure that my pool fence complies?

The standards for pool fence design and construction are described in Australian Standard AS1926.

A pool fence and gate must be designed and constructed so that they will prevent a small child entering the pool area either under, over or through a fence.

  • To achieve this a fence must have an effective height of at least 1.2m at any point along its length on the outside of the fence.
  • This means that the top of the fence must be 1.2m from ground level or any projection when measured in a 900mm arc from the top of the fence.

For full details

What are the safety requirements for a swimming pool?

The owner must ensure that the swimming pool is surrounded at all times by a child-resistant barrier.

  • The barrier must separate the swimming pool from any residential building on the premises and from any adjoining property.
  • It must be designed, constructed, installed and maintained in accordance with the applicable Australian Standard prescribed at the time the swimming pool barrier was installed, altered or rebuilt.

More information

The NSW Swimming Pool Register provides further information on fencing backyard pools, frequently asked questions and checklists for pool owners.

Do I need any approval to install a spa?

You must have an approval if the spa pool is 300mm (the length of a standard ruler) or greater in depth and is used for swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity.

A spa pool is the same as a swimming pool which includes any excavation, structure or vessel in the nature of a spa pool, flotation tank, tub or the like but does not include a spa bath or anything that is situated within a bathroom and is drained after use.

What are the safety requirements for a spa pool?

These are similar to those that apply to a swimming pool but may also take the form of a locked and secure cover that is removed only when the spa pool is in use.

Under Clause 9 of the Swimming Pool Regulation 2008 - if a spa pool does not have a complying swimming pool barrier around it, access to the spa can be secured by way of a lockable child-safe structure (such as a door, lid or security grill) that is:

  1. of substantial construction and having no opening through which it is possible to pass a testing apparatus (ie: no opening greater than 100mm) and
  2. fastened to the spa pool by a device that is itself of substantial construction and having no opening through which it is possible to pass a testing apparatus (ie: no opening greater than 100mm), which can effectively restrict access when the spa is not in use.

Lockable means the lock can only be opened by use of a key or tool to undo the latching device. You may purchase replacement spa lid locks or straps and lock (combinations) from spa and/or spa pool shops.

AS2610.2-2007 Private Spas

1.3.23 Spa Pool

A water-retaining structure fitted with filtration and sanitizing equipment, a heater, equipment for creating turbulent water and a skimmer system, normally filled with water except for maintenance purposes, and not intended to be used for swimming

Swimming Pools Act 1992 - Definitions

swimming pool means an excavation, structure or vessel—

(a)  that is capable of being filled with water to a depth greater than 300 millimetres, and

(b)  that is solely or principally used, or that is designed, manufactured or adapted to be solely or principally used, for the purpose of swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity, and includes a spa pool, but does not include a spa bath, anything that is situated within a bathroom or anything declared by the regulations not to be a swimming pool for the purposes of this Act.

As a result, any inspections for a spa barrier will be carried out against these definitions.


Where can I go to obtain more information on swimming pools or spa pools?

The NSW Swimming Pool Register provides further information on fencing backyard pools, frequently asked questions and checklists for pool owners.

What are the requirements if I am selling or leasing my property?

If you are planning on selling or leasing your property, see the requirements for selling or leasing a property with a swimming pool or spa pool for more details.

Do I need approval to install a temporary above ground pool?

Temporary pools are readily available from many retailers.

  • Any pool containing water deeper than 300mm (the length of a standard ruler) requires development approval from Council.
  • We will assess the pool and its associated safety barriers for compliance and once approved will allow the pool to be installed.


Contact our Compliance Team
Phone: 02 4645 4000

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