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Can You Use a Boundary Fence as a Pool Fence?

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Pool Fence Design Ideas

You may be asking this question if you have a swimming pool (or plan to install one) near a dividing fence on your property. And, if you’re like most people in this situation, you may be wondering – is this allowed under NSW Pool Safety Standards?

Fortunately, the answer is ‘Yes.’ In most cases you can use a boundary fence as a pool barrier. However, like most home modifications, there are strict guidelines to follow, and the rules are slightly different for each state and territory in Australia.

Here is everything you need to know to make your pool fencing safe and compliant with Australian Standards.

What the law says

There are numerous regulations set out under the NSW Pool Safety Standards. The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure the safety of everyone around the pool area, particularly small children and pets. Having a secure and compliant pool barrier is key to preventing drownings all year round.

Different pool safety standards apply depending on when the pool was built and where it is located. Generally speaking though, any pool built after 1 August 1990 must be surrounded by a fence that separates the pool from the house. Some rare exceptions apply for pools built before 1 July 2010.

Here is a general overview of the key pool fence measurements for NSW, where a pool fence must:


  • be at least 1.2m high (as measured from the finished ground level)


  • not leave a gap at the bottom bigger than 10cm from the finished ground level


  • if a boundary fence is part of the pool fence, the barrier must be 1.8m high


  • not have gaps of more than 10cm between any vertical bars in the fence


  • if containing horizontal climbable bars, have these spaced at least 90cm apart


  • perforated or mesh barriers must have holes no greater than 13mm for fence heights of 1.2m


  • perforated or mesh barriers of 1.8m height with holes greater than 13mm must not exceed 100mm


  • The pool fence must be well maintained and in good working order


There may be slight variations to these laws in your local area. Please refer to your local council (or Dunn & Farrugia) to collect the right information for your suburb.

There are other strict criteria that apply specifically to boundary fencing. Let’s take a closer look what they are.

For advice on whether you can use a boundary fence as a pool fence, contact Dunn & Farrugia today.

Using boundary fencing as a pool barrier

As previously stated in the list above, any boundary fence you use as a pool barrier must be at least 1.8m high.

The boundary fence in question must also fall outside the ‘non-climbable zone’ around the pool. In NSW, no climbable objects (i.e. trees, shrubs, pot plants, ladders) can be situated within the 90cm non-climbable zone.

Even if the boundary fence in question has no obvious horizontal slats, footholds or handholds, or anything else which may aid in gaining access to the pool, the boundary fence must still be outside the non-climbable zone.

If you plan to install a new boundary fence, or modify an existing boundary fence to use as a pool barrier, you may need to reach an agreement with your neighbour. Please refer to LawAccess NSW for more information or talk to Dunn & Farrugia for expert advice.

Make sure your pool area is safe and compliant

Want to discuss the pool fence regulations in your area? Contact Dunn & Farrugia today.

Our fully qualified and knowledgeable fencing contractors have years of experience in the design, supply, and installation of pool fencing for various residential and commercial applications. We can advise you on your legal obligations and help you choose the perfect fence for your pool area.

For advice on using a boundary fence as a pool fence, request a FREE quote.

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