There are different compliance regimes in NSW depending upon when the swimming pool was constructed.

If after 1 July 2010 pools must now be separated from the house by a compliant fence.

Between 1990 and 2010 exemptions to the above applied for properties <230sqm, or over 2Ha, or waterfront properties.

Prior to 1990 windows and doors to a house could form part of a barrier restricting access to the pool, but only if compliant.

To sell a house with a pool, the vendor must supply a Certificate of (i) Compliance, or (ii) Non-Compliance; attached to the Contract. The Non-Compliance must be listed on the Certificate and the Purchaser must rectify the non-compliance within 90 days from owning the property.

A Certificate of Non-Compliance should be assessed by an expert, as the rectification of the non-compliance could be costly, time consuming, possibly require a DA, possible tree removal and re-landscaping, and/or extensive building works (eg. removal of a 15m tree and possible replacement with a similarly mature tree, re-building a stone boundary wall to make the boundary compliant to 1.8m or more, etc)


The legislation refers to a non-climbable zone, which the Department of Fair Trading notes is to prevent children climbing over fencing into the pool area, pool owners are to make sure they maintain a ‘non-climbable zone’ around the pool.

  • any trees, shrubs or any other objects such as a barbeque, pot plants, toys, ladders and chairs must not be within the 90cm non climbable zone.
  • this zone is measured in an arc shape from the top of the pool fence arching towards the ground.
  • it also includes the space extending 30cm inside the pool area – this space should also be cleared of any potential footholds or handholds.
  • any horizontal climbable bars on the pool fence must also be spaced AT LEAST 90cm apart.

The overriding safety principle is that the pool is fenced and again the Department of Fair Trading notes that in NSW, a pool fence must:

  • be at least 1.2m high (as measured from the finished ground level)
  • not leave a gap at the bottom bigger than 10cm from the finished ground level
  • if a boundary fence is part of the pool fence, the barrier must be 1.8m high
  • not have gaps of more than 10cm between any vertical bars in the fence
  • if containing horizontal climbable bars, have these spaced at least 90cm apart
  • perforated or mesh barriers must have holes no greater than 13mm for fence heights of 1.2m
  • perforated or mesh barriers of 1.8m height with holes greater than 13mm must not exceed 100mm

The pool fence must be well maintained and in good working order

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