A swimming pool can take up a significant portion of your backyard. Add required pool fencing, and much of your back yard has been taken away, leaving little room for any other activities. To save a bit of space, there is an option to use your boundary fence to help enclose your pool. This is an excellent option for many pools, and it may be the best option for you.
Boundary fence safety requirements
The Australian Safety requirement of pool fencing is found under AS1926.1. There are a range of safety requirements under these standards, such as minimum height of fencing must not be less than 1500mm, with a self-closing and self-latching gate. There is a requirement for the fence to be imperforate, meaning no holes in the structure that could be used to gain access to the pool.
To ensure the maximum safety of your pool fence, a Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) must be included in the spacing around your pool. This NCZ is a space on the outside of your pool fence, which is free from items or objects that can be easily climbed to gain access to the pool area over the fence.
It is your responsibility to keep the non-climbable zone free from climbable objects. Common climbable objects include, but are NOT LIMITED to:
- trees with low hanging branches
- Anything else that can be used to scale the barrier
Keep these items clear from your pool fence and be vigilant in maintaining this space.
The NCZ is measured in three ways.
- The first is measured from the top of the fence, directly out perpendicular, or flat.
- Next is measured 900mm at a downward 90-degree angle, out from the top of the fence.
- Finally, it is measured at a 90-degree downward angle from the top of the fence.
These three points create an exclusion zone. Similarly, there is a NCZ on the inside of the pool fence also, only measuring 300mm. Once again, make sure you keep this 300mm clear of climbable objects, such as low hanging tree branches, pots, play equipment and furniture.
There is a range of different standards that apply to the NCZ, so it is important to look at the right standard. See the table below for a quick rundown.
|AS 1926-1-1993||A NCZ is measured 1200mm from the external of all glass and tubular barriers (traditional powder coated pool fences). Tubular barrier are also required to have a 300mm NCZ on the internal side of the fence.
Boundary fences must also have a 1200mm NCZ on the exterior of the pool boundary.
|AS 1926-2007 & AS 1926-2012.||A required clear 900mm NCZ is measured from the top of the barrier on both glass and tubular barriers on the external side of the fence. A 300mm NCZ is required internal of the fence.
Where the barrier fence is a boundary fence, a 900mm NCZ is measured on the internal of the pool enclosure and is measured from the top of the fence.
|AS 1926-2007 & AS 1926-2012||If you use a boundary fence as part of your pool fence, it must be a minimum of 1800mm. A NCZ is measured from the top of the internal of the fence, which must measure at least 900mm.|
There are many standards that apply, which is why hiring an educated professional to assess your fence is the safest option.
Requirements of boundary fences
Under these provisions, boundary fences are able to be used as part of the pool enclosure fence. To use your boundary fence as part of your pool enclosure, your fence must be a minimum of 1.8m (1800mm) and must be in good condition.
Wooden boundaries fences deteriorate over time, so it is essential to check it regularly and keep it termite and rot free. As this is a boundary fence, it is a shared responsibility between the two neighbours to maintain its condition. That being said, the greater onus does fall on the owner of the pool as pool fences require a higher level of maintenance for safety.
When choosing your fencing options, wood palings can be a good option. Often, boundary fences are wood palings, which are susceptible to damage. Be aware that wood palings last a significant amount of time on a standard block, without a pool. Additional moisture from a pool may cause a wooden fence to deteriorate more quickly.
Requirements for retaining walls
Often, boundary fences include retaining walls. These retaining walls can still form part of the pool fence, under certain conditions. For retaining walls and fencing that is easily climbed, such as wooden paling fencing, the boundary fence and retaining wall must measure a minimum of 1.8m.
If the retaining wall and fence are non-climbable, it must be a minimum of 1.2m. The wall must also not be on more than a 15 degree lean in any direction. A leaning or sloped fence or retaining wall is easier to climb, making it unsafe.
To ensure that the boundary fence is even harder to climb, it is required that horizontal bars on a fence must be a minimum 900mm apart. This prevents children from climbing the fence and gaining access to the pool area.
Under AS1926.1, when a boundary fence is used as a pool fence, the NCZ is measured on the inside of the fence, that is on the inside of the pool enclosure. This differs from non-boundary fences, and once again, needs to measure 900mm. The NCZ is measured from the inside of your fence because even though you have shared responsibility for the fence with your neighbour, you are ultimately responsible for the maintenance of your side. If you choose to use your boundary fence as part of your pool enclosure, remember it will have to be registered with your Local Council. For registration, your fence will need to be certified.
Once again, make sure you remove all items that can be easily climbed, such as pots, chairs, trees with low hanging branches or shrubs and play equipment.
Ensure your barrier wall is compliant
The safety standards can be confusing at times, so speak with the Pool Barrier Services team if you need more help. We can organise a pre-compliance consultant to come and complete an assessment to help you create pool barriers that are compliant with legislation. Don’t risk your fence being non-compliant and unsafe. Our consultants will be able to help you be confident about the security of your family and friends.
Let the team at Pool Barrier Services assess your boundary fence for the most accurate advice. Contact our friendly team today.