Swimming Pool Doors
The “indoor outdoor” design trend which is so popular for our Australian climate and lifestyle saw many dwelling designs incorporate living areas opening onto the pool area. We often saw initial designs including concertina and sliding type doors to allow the spaces to merge and the designs required amendment to provide child resistant doors leading from the dwelling to the pool area in accordance with AS1926.1-2007. With drownings of young children in domestic pools still occurring more stringent barrier requirements were introduced in BCA2013 and in accordance with AS1926.1-2012 child-resistant doors can no longer be used for new outdoor pools and AS1926.1 compliant fencing is required between a pool and a dwelling. For pools built before 1 July 1993 child-resistant doors can only be used in situations allowed by Ministers Specification SA 76D.
Pool barrier inspections for new pools has also been introduced to confirm as constructed compliance of pool barriers. The builder or owner is now required to notify their local council when construction of a pool is complete and when the approved swimming pool child-safety barriers have been completed. A swimming pool must not be filled until a complying barrier is in place and a new expiation penalty applies for failure to give either or both of the required Council notifications. Difficulties arise in confirming AS1926.1 swimming pool barrier compliance, at both document approval stage and inspection stage, where existing barriers such as boundary fences are used as part of a pool barrier. Further information is available in the Council inspections of new swimming pools Advisory Note.
Key Swimming Pool Barrier Considerations
For a fence to be considered an effective barrier to young children it must comply with AS1926.1 & AS1926.2. These standards should be referenced in any specification for pool barriers. Some key features of a pool barrier include:
- it must be permanent;
- it is at least 1.2 metres high and young children can’t crawl under or climb over it by using foot and hand holds;
- any boundary fences used as part of the child-safety barrier are at least 1.8 metres high on the side that faces the pool, with a 900 millimetres non-climbable zone at the top inside of the fence; a boundary barrier may be climbable on the neighbour's side.
Consider climbable features such as Alfresco area fixed barbeques and bench tops within 900mm of a pool barrier.
Gates to the pool area must:
- swing outward from the pool area;
- be self-closing from any position;
- be fitted with a latching device out of reach of small children at least 1.5 metres above ground level.
Security measures on awning and sliding windows:
- Where the openable part of any window is less than 1.8 metres above the finished ground level and provides direct access from the house to the pool area, it must have one of the following:
- bars or metal screen or;
- a mechanism limiting the size of the window opening to a maximum of 100mm.
Note: reference should be made to AS1926.1 & 2 for full requirements.
More reading / references HERE.