Now’s the time as a pool owner to ensure your pool is compliant and help decrease the number of children drowning each year in our pools. One of your responsibilities is to ensure you have the correct and well maintained pool fencing in place. Recent media reports have highlighted an overwhelming number of backyard pools failing safety compliance checks, with some council areas recording a fail rate on the first inspection of 99 per cent!
Some of the reasons highlighted for the failed safety audits included damaged or demolished fencing, gates with worn hinges, latches that weren’t self-closing, climbable rails on the adjoining boundary fences and windows and doors that opened onto the pool area. Interestingly, one of the less obvious areas noted was the gap between the bottom of the fence panel and the finished ground level. The Dept. of Housing and Public Works in QLD state it must be less than 100 millimetres to prevent young children wriggling under the fence and going for a swim unsupervised. The ground underneath must be solid, stable and remain intact at all times. This means the surrounding area cannot be made up of any moveable materials like pine bark or beds of pebbles that children can easily move to create access to the pool area. If you do have an excessive gap, this can be easily rectified by affixing some form of hard standing material under the pool fence, such as pavers laid on a concrete bed, decorative pebbles set into concrete beam or even timber sleepers secured with pins to prevent children removing them.
A licensed pool safety inspector can help you assess the risks around your pool, identify any areas of non-compliance with the pool safety standard and help suggest the necessary adjustments that must be made before issuing your pool safety certificate.