Swimming Pools and Spas

What is a swimming pool or spa?

A swimming pool or spa is defined as any structure containing water to a depth greater than 300mm and is used for swimming, wading or the like. The definition of private swimming pool can be found in the Building Regulations 2012

In Western Australia, private swimming pools (including spas, portable and inflatable pools) with water over 300mm (30cm) deep must have a compliant safety barrier.

Safety barriers help prevent the drowning deaths and injury of young children under the age of five years by restricting their access to the private swimming pool. Swimming pool or spa owners are responsible for ensuring that safety barriers are installed and maintained in compliance with current building standards at all times.

Owners must regularly check their barriers for any defects or damages and promptly address any issues to maintain safety. Ensuring the safety of young children around pools and spas is a crucial duty, and keeping barriers compliant is a vital part of this responsibility.

The City has a duty to inspect all pool/spa barriers at least once every 4 years.  The City’s Pool Compliance Officer will contact the owner or occupier of the property to arrange a suitable time to inspect the barrier.

The City’s Pool Compliance Officers are obliged by law to conduct routine inspections at least every four years to verify that safety barriers meet current building standards and effectively restrict access to young children.

To arrange a safety barrier inspection, contact the City's Pool Compliance Officers on 9272 0622. 

For more information regarding regulations and legislation that govern swimming, spa and portable pools, visit dmirs.wa.gov.au.

When is a Building Permit required for a swimming pool/spa and safety barrier?

The design, construction and installation of private swimming pools and spas and their safety barriers are subject to strict building requirements under the Building Regulations 2012. Penalties for a non-compliant safety barrier are up to $5,000 under the Regulations.

Private Swimming pools and spas

A building permit must be in effect before the construction, erection, assembly placement, renovation, alteration, extension, improvement or repair of any private swimming pool/spa that will contain more than 300mm (30cm) depth of water.

Safety Barriers

From 21 June 2024, most pool fences will not require a building permit.

A building permit will only be necessary where a safety barrier:

  • Also acts as a fall protection barrier (balustrade) required by the Building Code of Australia (BCA) where people could fall 1m or more; or
  • Is constructed of masonry and over 0.75m in height*; or
  • Is constructed of a material other than masonry and over 1.8m in height*; or
  • Is located in Wind Region C or D (as detailed in AS/NZS 1170.2, as referenced in the BCA)*.

*unless constructed in accordance with a relevant Local Government Local Law.

For more information on building permits for private swimming pools and pool fences, visit dmirs.wa.gov.au.

Swimming pool isolation barriers

A barrier to restrict access by young children is required for all pools or spas which contain more than 300mm of water in depth. 

Dividing fences forming part of a swimming pool isolation barrier

The most common areas of non-compliance in isolation barriers installed after May 2016, are the dividing fence being lower than 1.8m from the ground level of the pool or spa area, and the dividing fence failing to provide a non-climbable area of a 900mm arc when measured from the top of the fence on the pool side (i.e. in a 3pm to 6pm arc on a clock face).  This will result in the isolation barrier being given a non-compliance certificate.

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