Updated February 2021

One of the top reasons a pool fails compliance is when climbable objects are too close to the pool fence. The most common climbable objects found within the pool area are BBQs, clothes lines, trees, plant pots – and planter boxes. The NCZ Non-Climbable Zone stands out as a key aspect in the pool safety defence against children drownings around the pool. By understanding what the NCZ is and how this can be the safety area for pool compliance, our guide helps define if a planter box is in the NCZ non-climbable zone, and how to rectify the situation.


What Is The NCZ Non-Climbable Zone?

The NCZ non-climbable zone is a safety standard set in place by the government preventing children climbing the barrier or using climbable objects near the pool barrier to access the pool. The NCZ non-climbable zone includes the areas around the pool, fence and barrier where there can’t be any objects to aid as an act to climb.
Need more information? Read What Is The NCZ Non-Climbable Zone >here.


So Why Is The NCZ Non-Climbable Zone Important?

Drowning remains one of the leading causes of unintentional death for Australian children. Statistics from Australia’s National Drowning Report by the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia shows the top locations for children drownings aged 0-4 occur in swimming pools. A compliant NCZ non-climbable zone successfully keeps children from accessing the pool area.


What Is A Planter Box?

A garden box or raised garden beds are generally contained out in the open or backyard within a planter or wooden box to display live plants, flowers or growing herbs. Planter boxes help with minimising and retaining stormwater runoff while offering control over the health of the plant’s soil with the ultimate goal to create a deep, wide growing area for plant roots to grow down and outward. They’re a flexible way of beautifying landscaping and saving on space while being manageable and portable.




What Happens With Planter Boxes in The NCZ Non-Climbable Zone?

Planter boxes by the pool fence look stunning as a visually aesthetic investment for the property, but are planter boxes worth the risk within your NCZ non-climbable zone? Even if your household is child free, it is still essential to prevent neighbouring children from wandering in and accessing the pool area. A plant box can be a risk to your pool area depending on how close they are to the pool and barrier. Planter boxes can be a serious liability with the construction of their horizontal ledges offering easy access for a hand or foot hold to the pool area.


The Guide To Planter Boxes In The NCZ Non-Climbable Zone

This small simple task takes two minutes to figure out if your planter box is a pool safety risk or helps passing a pool safety inspection. Other than saving you on time and money with your inspection, that’s an easy two minutes to save a life.

  1. Grab your tape measure
  2. Measure if the planter box lies within a 900mm arc shaped zone in a 90° downwards angle downwards
  3. Measure if the planter box is 300mm within the pool area

Tip: every millimetre matters in pool safety, so be precise with your measurements


Is your planter box located within the following measurements?

Great! If you’ve been precise with your measurements, your pool should be compliant allowing you to pass your pool safety inspection.

Find a suitable location away from the NCZ or your pool barrier to reinstall your planter box so you can pass your pool safety inspection and get your pool compliant.


Extra Special Tip
Frequently, if there are planter boxes in the NCZ, other horizontal climbable bars or hand and foot holds can also be found near the barrier allowing for access to the pool area.


Handy Resources

Keep informed with our reading resources

PoolSS Free Online Resource Library

PoolSSS Legal Centre

The Ultimate PoolSSS Checklist

PoolSS DIY Pool Safety Self Assessment Checklists


Disclaimer: The Ultimate PoolSS Checklist is a guide only, and does not constitute acknowledgment or approval of compliance or safety. If you check “No” to any of our questions, we recommend you Book A Free Inspection with a pool safety inspector to carry out an inspection confirming if your pool is compliant. 


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