Swimming pool fencing and safety regulations

Maintaining pool fences and safety barriers is essential to reduce the number of young children drowning and serious immersion injuries in pools. Pool owners must meet all pool fencing regulations and safety standards and maintain damaged pool fencing and barriers at all times. 

Swimming pool safety and regulations do not only include pool fencing. Find information about: 

Pool safety standard

The current pool safety standard was introduced on 1 December 2010. All pools, new and existing, must comply with the standard.

Refer to the Department of Housing and Public Works website for more details.

Pool safety inspections

Not to be confused with Pool Safety Certificates, Pool Safety Inspections are conducted by Council to assist residents in ensuring that pool barriers are safe and compliant with Queensland Government pool safety standards. 

Council Officers will conduct inspections in the Brisbane City Council region and notify residents via letter to arrange an inspection time. You can download a checklist on the QBCC website to prepare for the inspection. 

You can visit the QBCC website at to find further information regarding pool safety standards. 

If you have misplaced your Pool Safety Inspection letter contact Council.  

Your responsibilities 

Property owners with pools are responsible for ensuring compliant pool barriers are always in place.

Tenants also have responsibilities, including:

  • keeping pool gates closed
  • ensuring there are no objects that would allow children to access the pool unattended.

All pool owners must register their pool on the statewide pool register.

Barriers

All swimming pools must be enclosed by an approved barrier. The barrier must meet state government pool safety legislation under chapter 8 of the Building Act 1975. A barrier can include:

  • fencing for the pool
  • walls of a building enclosing the pool
  • another form of barrier mentioned or provided for in the pool safety standard.

Pool safety certificates

A pool safety certificate, issued by a licensed pool safety inspector, is required when

  • leasing a property 
  • purchasing a property 
  • selling a property 

Pool safety certificates are valid for one year for a shared pool and two years for a non-shared pool.

Leasing a property

The landlord or body corporate must obtain a pool safety certificate before a lease is signed. The existing certificate covers any new leases or renewals that occur in that period.

Selling or purchasing a property

If there is no pool safety certificate in effect before entering a contract or before settlement, the seller must provide an advisory notice using a notice of no pool safety certificate to the:

The Queensland Government has an online register of licensed pool safety inspectors. All inspectors hold a licence indicating they are accredited to carry out inspections. Council encourages pool owners to request to see the inspector's licence. Council can provide a licensed pool safety inspector. However, it may be in your best interest to seek advice from a licensed building certifier or private pool safety inspector.

To apply for a pool safety certificate with Council, apply for a request for assessment.

You can submit the form at any Business Centre.

Legislation and building approval

The pool fencing legislation is included in the:

You must get building approval to build a swimming pool on your property. Your pool application must include information about the location of your proposed pool barrier. You can arrange for building approval for your pool and barrier through a building certifier. 

Exemptions

You can lodge an application with Council for an exemption. It is important to note that Council will consider the safety of young children before giving any exemptions. 

Disability exemption

The exemption application should include:

  • the form and extent of the disability
  • whether the disabled person is wheelchair-bound or mobile
  • if wheelchair-bound, whether the wheelchair can move unaided
  • whether the disabled person requires a full-time carer
  • medical evidence to support the application
  • a description of which provisions of the barrier regulations prevent the disabled person from gaining entry to, and exiting from, the pool enclosure
  • a description of the replacement preventative measure that will prevent young children gaining access to the pool.

Exemptions issued prior to the new legislation will not be revoked, provided the:

  • conditions of the exemptions are still met
  • person the exemption applied to is still disabled and residing at the address

Impracticality exemption

Example reasons considered impracticable may include:

  • moving or demolishing a building or part of a building
  • changing the location or size of the pool
  • removing vegetation protected from removal under an act or local law.

The exemption application should include:

  • identifying the part of the pool safety standard for which you are seeking the exemption
  • a description of the replacement preventative measure that will prevent young children gaining access to the pool.

Exemptions issued prior to the new legislation remained valid until 30 November 2015. This is earlier if the property was sold or leased first, provided the conditions of the exemptions are still met. If the conditions were not met, the exemption is no longer valid.

Applying for exemption

To request an exemption, apply for a request for assessment.

Enforcement

Queensland Government legislation allows Council to issue on-the-spot fines for pool fencing not complying with the standards.

As of 1 July 2021, the value of a penalty unit is equal to $137.85. The fine amount must be rounded down to the nearest dollar after the calculation. For example, the fine amount for an infringement of two penalty units is: 2 x $137.85 = $275.70. The rounded down fine amount is $275.

Fines range from one penalty unit to seven penalty units. The maximum penalty for non-compliance of pool fencing legislation is 165 penalty units.

Received a fine? Find out your payment options and more

Council considers all pool fencing complaints as urgent. Phone Council on 07 3403 8888 to report any pool fencing issues.

Last updated: 1 July 2021