Temporary swimming pool safety fencing
On 4 March 2021, the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Swimming Pool Safety) (Fencing) Variation Regulations 2021 came into operation (Amending Regs).
Regulation 7 of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Swimming Pool Safety) Regulations 2019 provides that relevant designated safety features must be constructed on or before the first of the following two dates; either 2 months after the completion of the swimming pool, or the date on which the pool is filled with water. Before the commencement of the Amending Regs, this meant that a swimming pool could not be filled with water without the designated safety features already being constructed, which features did not include temporary fencing.
Although the Amending Regs are somewhat strangely worded, the thrust of the amendments are as follows:
Temporary fencing may be installed and will be regarded as a prescribed swimming pool safety feature in specific circumstances, namely;
1. upon the completion of the construction of a swimming pool, it may be filled with water, provided temporary fencing is installed and maintained;
2. temporary fencing may only be installed and maintained for a period of time that does not exceed 2 months following the completion of the construction of a swimming pool; and
3. temporary fencing may be installed and maintained during any period of maintenance or repair of a swimming pool fence.
Put simply, temporary fencing can form part of the safety barrier to a pool that has been filled with water, for two months, following the completion of the construction of the swimming pool. After this two-month period has expired, temporary fencing will no longer be permissible to be used and the permanent designated safety features for the pool must be in place. Temporary fencing may also be used during a period of maintenance or repair of a swimming pool fence.
The Amending Regs provides the following additional note:
“In order for temporary fencing to be regarded as having been installed and maintained in accordance with the relevant requirements applying under these regulations, the temporary fencing would need to satisfy the relevant requirements applying, such as requirements relating to the minimum height of the fencing, the maximum distance between vertical bars or posts, the securing of openings by child proof locks (or other effective locking mechanisms) and the absence of foot or handholds.” (our emphasis).
Although the note does not specifically reference what the relevant requirements applying are, in our view, the requirements would be those which apply and are set out in the relevant Australian Standard, namely AS 1926.1-2012 and AS 1926.2-2007.