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Swimming Pools and Spas

Information about safety, fencing and permits

All swimming pools and spas on residential properties in Victoria with a depth greater than 30cm (300mm) are required to be surrounded by a pool safety barrier. This includes bathing, wading, inflatable, above-ground, indoor pools, hot tubs and jacuzzis capable of holding more than 30cms of water.

It’s the responsibility of all owners and occupiers of a property to maintain all parts of a pool barrier and to ensure that the barrier is operating effectively all-year-round.

Why do I need a pool fence?

Adequately fencing off your pool or spa is an essential part of safeguarding children, who can drown in as little as 5cms of water. According to the most recent Life Saving Victoria statistics, there were 47 fatal and 60 non-fatal drowning incidents in Victoria in 2013-2014.

Victorian Pool Fence Legislation

There are currently three sets of requirements for pool/spa barriers in Victoria that apply depending on when your pool or spa was constructed:

  • Before 8 April 1991 - must comply with Building Regulation 5.13
  • Between 8 April 1991 to 30 April 2010 - must comply with AS1926.1-1993
  • After 30 April 2010 - must comply with AS1926.1-2007

Below are some important points to help explain the current requirements for pool barriers. For more detailed information please download the fact sheet relevant to your pool or spa from the links at the bottom of this page.

  • If a Victorian residential pool or spa has a depth of 30cm or more (300mm), it is required to be surrounded by safety barrier. This includes inflatable pools.
  • All pools and spas built after 2010 require a four sided barrier (isolation fence), with no direct access from the house or any other building to the pool or spa.
  • Placing a cover or lid over a swimming pool or spa does not comply and is not acceptable. A safety barrier is required.
  • A pool safety fence must be a minimum of 1.2 metres high.
  • Barrier gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • It is illegal to leave a pool or spa gate propped open.
  • Climbable objects such as pot plants, eskies, pool pumps and chairs must be moved away from the barrier.
  • A building permit is required to install a swimming pool or spa and safety fence and barriers.
  • A swimming pool or spa must not be filled until the pool barrier is completed and approved by the Relevant Building Surveyor.
  • A Swimming Pool capable of containing a water level of less than 300mm and that is emptied after each use does not require a pool barrier.

Safety Checklist - pool barrier inspection made easy

Knox Council has developed a safety checklist to make sure owners and occupiers are meeting their pool fence obligations.

You can download the relevant checklist from the bottom of this page.

Are there any exemptions?

Temporarily erected children's paddling pools with a depth of water less than 30 cm and domestic spa baths which are emptied after each use are exempt. However, strict supervision should be shown at all times where water and children are concerned.

Bird baths, fish ponds, fountains, dams and the like are not included in these regulations and are exempt.

Pool Permits

A building permit is required before installing a new pool, spa, or barrier.

This permit needs to be issued by registered building surveyor and work must start within 12 months of the date that the building permit was issued.

During construction, if a new pool is filled with more than 30cm of water it must have a temporary safety barrier put around it.

Water restrictions are currently in place across Victoria which effect residents wishing to fill a new swimming pool or spa and emptying and refilling of existing swimming pools or spas. Residents will need to obtain approval from South East Water on 131 694.


Owners found to not-comply with relevant pool fence regulations could face a penalty of up to $7,928.
Non-compliance with a Building Order issued in relation to a safety barrier could face a penalty of up to $79,285.

For more information

Knox City Council
City Development – Building Services
511 Burwood Highway,
Wantirna South VIC 3152

Tel: 9298 8125
Fax: 9801 0389

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