Safe pool fence and barriers, the NCZ Non-Climbable Zone, gate locks and latches and the right CPR signage stand as the ultimate defences against children drownings in the pool. Armed with a tape measure, we all can join the fight for pool safety. And it starts with The Ultimate Guide To Pool Fences & Barriers.
Easy Click Through Table Of Contents
What Is A Pool Fence & Barrier?
There are 2 types of pool fences:
Pool Fence Or Barrier
The pool fence or internal barrier is a child resistant structure separating the residence from the pool. This must be a minimum of 1200mm measured from the outside of the barrier.
Boundary Or Dividing Barrier
The boundary barrier or dividing fence divides two properties from each other. The boundary line or dividing property fence can frequently serve and act as part of the pool barrier. The boundary or dividing barrier is a height minimum of 1800mm from the top of the barrier to finished ground level on the inside or pool side of the barrier. If assessed on the Swimming Pool Australian Standard 1986, then the height is a minimum of 1200mm.
All pool fences, boundary and dividing barriers have NCZ non-climbable zones – which you can read more about >here.
Why Is The Pool Fence Or Barrier Important?
The top reasons pool safety inspections are non-compliant comes down to
- Pool gate locks and latches not self-closing or self-latching
- Objects within the NCZ non-climbable zone
- Pool fencing & barrier issues
- Incorrect CPR signage
The AS1926.1-2012 in NSW, QLD & VIC
If you live in NSW and VIC and your swimming pool, spa, fence or barriers were built after May 1, 2013, the Australian Standard AS1926.1-2012 applies to you.
The internal barrier from a flat surface, finished ground level or a step, needs to measure 1200mm on the outside.
Steps also have a 500mm exclusion zone so you can’t just pop your leg over the fence. Basically measure 1200mm starting from the highest point within 500mm of the base of the barrier.
The boundary or dividing barrier needs to be a minimum of 1800mm high, measured from the top down – to finish ground level on the pool side which is also the internal side of the barrier.
Nearby objects or level surfaces – such as a pool filter box or garden shed – cannot be within 500mm of the barrier as this would reduce the height of the fence to less than 1200mm or 1800mm respectively.
In QLD, The AS1926.1-2012 doesn’t exist as the MP3.4 takes its place. The MP3.4 states boundary barriers use either the inside or outside of the boundary fence as the NCZ Non-Climbable Zone – as long as they meet the standard.
Common Pool Fence or Barrier Problems
We tackle the common problems found with pool fences and barriers with their pool safety solutions.
Timber Boundary Fence
Most wooden timber boundary fences have horizontal rails. The top reason being caught out for non-compliance is often due to the top and middle rails within 900mm from top rail of the barrier.
The NCZ non-climbable zone is measured in a 90 degree arc downwards from the top rail of the barrier.
That horizontal rail acts as a hand hold or ladder for anyone climbing the fence.
The Pool Safety Solution
Attach a 60 degree wooden fillet to the rail to eliminate the rail acting as both a hand or foot hold – as per the above image
Colour Bond or Lattice Boundary Fence
If colour bond or lattice style with extensions in place is used as the finishing material.
Gaps in lattice and edges of the extension are often more than 10mm – acting as a handhold within the 900mm NCZ non-climbable zone.
The Pool Safety Solution
Fix sheets of clear perspex or up to 10mm mouse mesh to cover the facia of the colour bond extension. This prevents the gaps in the lattice acting as hand or foot holds.
When The Fence Height Is Reduced By Items Within The NCZ Non-Climbable Zone
*Relevant to Swimming Pool Australian Standard 2012
Trees, vegetation and level objects can be found within 500mm of the boundary fence. This reduces the effective height of the fence to less than 1800mm.
The goal is to see the fence 1800mm high without any obstruction or way of accessing the pool area.
The Pool Safety Solutions
- Plan your landscaping so plants and trees aren’t in the NCZ non-climbable zone
- Remove trees, vegetation and level objects
- Reroute the fence around the trees, vegetation and level objects so they’re outside the NCZ non-climbable zone.
- Extend the fence so the trees are not compromising the NCZ non-climbable zone 900mm away from the top rail of the boundary barrier and 500mm away from the remainder of the boundary.
- Cover the obstruction such as pool filter boxes and pool filtration with an enclosure 1800mm from the ground.
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