How can we build a safety fence on a slope or step surface?

November 29, 2021by [email protected]0

Safety fences are an absolute must for pools/spas installed within a public or private property. As per the new pool fencing regulations, the pool/spa owners must get their pool/spa inspected every four years and receive a safety compliance certificate.

Not all properties are on the same type of ground and on a flat surface of land like many homes. So, if you own a property built on a slope, you may ask, how can we build a safety fence on a slope or step surface?

In this article, we will answer your question. We will also explain why building a safety fence around your pool/spa is a must, irrespective of the surface type.

Considering different fence materials

If you are considering fencing your pool/spa, you can choose from a wide range of materials available based on your requirements and budget.

While you can choose from aluminium, steel or wrought iron fences for permanent and sturdy barriers, glass and wooden fences are great for a modern and aesthetic look.

Mesh fences, on the other hand, are great for fencing your temporary or removable pools.

Where to find the fence materials

You can source the pool/spa fence materials from different fencing suppliers based in Melbourne and Victoria. You can also look for the materials in your hardware stores. 

Suppose you are confident about the compliance requirements and would like to install the barriers yourself. In that case, you can look up various fencing suppliers dealing with a range of fencing materials and compare the prices and services before settling down on your preferred supplier.

Alternatively, suppose you would like us to perform a pre-compliance inspection. We can provide a comprehensive report on your existing barriers and connect you with our trusted fencing service providers to help you with barrier installation, so you don’t have to worry about sourcing or installing them yourself.

Things that a pool owner should consider when building a safety fence/pool barrier

In addition to the choice of material for the fence, several other factors can play an important role in the choice of your fence type. Here are some of the prime considerations:

  1. What is the type of your pool? (eg, permanent, temporary, inflatable)
  2. Whether your pool/spa needs building permits (eg, inflatable pools don’t need one)
  3. Who are the primary users of the pool?
  4. Do you have a list of recent guidelines by VBA?
  5. What is your allocated budget?
  6. Would you go for a temporary or permanent fence?
  7. Which fencing material suits your needs?
  8. Who can install your fence while adhering to the guidelines?
  9. Is aesthetics important for your landscape?

By answering the above questions, you will get closer to selecting the appropriate fencing material and structure for your pool or spa while adhering to the safety guidelines.

We advise you to read another article on Top Fences for Pool Safety to learn more about how to select the fence for the pool/spa. 

How to build the fence on a slope or step surface?

If you have prior experience installing fences, you can complete fence installation using the right tools and materials. However, for slope or step surfaces, you will need to step the panels down the slope.

Also, note that the vertical rails of your fence should not be more than 100mm apart, and horizontal rails spaced at least 900mm apart.

To calculate the materials needed for fencing, you can begin by marking the fence site and identifying the post locations 2.5m apart. This calculation is based on 1 panel followed by 1 post and will require an extra post when changing the direction.

But why should you worry about pool/spa barrier compliance?

As a property owner, the safety of your family and visitors to your pool/spa is your primary responsibility. Hence, following the guidelines set by the Victorian Building Association, you must install pool/spa barriers.

If your pool barrier is not compliant, your local council can issue a fine of $300.00 to upward of $1,600.00. It is to avoid risks associated with accidental drowning that is more common in children under five years.

To learn in detail about the consequences of a non-compliant pool/spa, read our article on “What could happen if your pool fence or barrier is not compliant?

Next steps

  • Consider Pre-Compliance Inspection: Be aware that nearly 90% of the first-time pool/spa barriers safety inspections fail the safety compliance check due to non-adherence to the set standard. Thus, we suggest the pool/spa owners request our private inspection service called ‘Pre-Compliance Inspection’ with us. During this independent private inspection, we professionally assess your pool/spa using the guidelines provided by VBA.
  • Act on our Pre-Compliance Inspection suggestions: We do not send any reports to the council/VBA at the end of the pre-compliance inspection. Instead, we provide you with a comprehensive list of our findings and detailed suggestions in the areas that need improvement. Then, you can act upon that detailed information to make improvements to your pool/spa barriers.
  • Benefit from our Industry References: Additionally, we provide you with relevant industry references so you can appoint the barrier service providers of your choice to address the areas that need improvement.
  • Time to get your Compliance Certificate: After installing the fence, it’s time to get your Barrier Compliance Certificate. As a pool/spa owner, you must take responsibility and get your pool/spa inspected by a VBA professional to get the certificate.
  • Submit the Barrier Compliance Certificate to Council: Complete the compliance process by submitting the certificate to the council within a time frame of 30 days.

To know more about our services, how we can help you pass the Safety inspection, and request a pre-compliance inspection, visit our About Us page.

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