Pool Fence Legislation Queensland

Pool fence legislation Queensland and child drownings Prior to new pool fence legislation being introduced to Queensland in December 2010, drowning in the backyard swimming pool was the leading cause of accidental death for children aged 0 – 4 years of age (young children)

Royal Life Saving Society releases a National Drowning Report each year. In the Report for 2023 it was identified that drowning fatalities in young children continue to decrease. The number of drowning fatalities in young children was 33 % below the 10 year average, and 51% below the 20 year average. This highlights the ongoing success of legislative changes to pool fencing legislation.

Drowning deaths continue to be a high area of concern for children aged 0 – 4 years with 50 % of drownings occurring in the backyard swimming pool and the other 50% occurring in the bathtub. The leading activity prior to drowning was a fall into water (69%) following by bathing (19%)

Drowning locations have improved over the past 20 years with a 60% decrease in drowning deaths in swimming pools.

Successful decreases in drowning number and rates in this age group have occurred over the years due to increased public awareness and education, advocacy and research, government policy and enforcement. However this age group still remains a priority area in the Australian Water Strategy 2030 as rates of childhood drowning deaths remain high relative to other age groups.

Changes to pool safety legislation and the introduction of a new pool safety standard to Queensland has contributed to these decreases.

Background to Pool Fence Legislation Queensland

Swimming pools should be fun, however prior to new pool fence legislation Queensland laws being introduced to Queensland, drowning in the backyard swimming pool was the leading cause of accidental death for children aged 0 – 4 years.

On the 14th December 2008, the Premier announced the most comprehensive review of pool fence legislation Queensland in nearly 20 years. An expert committee was established and made 23 recommendations aimed at reducing drowning and serious immersion injuries suffered by young children. In September 2009, the Government announced the implementation of a two staged swimming pool safety management strategy.

The Building Act 1975 and Building Regulations 2021 includes Chapter 8 which relates to swimming pool safety. Amendments were made to this legislation to improve pool safety and a new licensed industry of pool safety inspectors was established, including an inspections regime with pool fencing certification aimed at ensuring that pool barriers around swimming pools were safe and compliant.

The first stage commenced in December 2009 and introduced a new pool safety standard to Queensland for pool barriers. A pool barrier installed around a new swimming pool was required to comply with this new pool safety standard. This pool safety standard includes the QDC MP 3.4, with the Australian Standard 1926.1-2007 and 1926.2-2007.

The second stage commenced in December 2010 broadening out its scope to also include all existing swimming pools and pool barriers. Pool owners were now required to register their regulated swimming pool on the Swimming Pools Register and obtain a pool safety certificate from a licenced pool safety inspector prior to the sale or lease of the property. A pool safety certificate confirms that the pool barrier complies with the pool safety standard.

What is the pool safety standard:

The pool safety standard is designed to minimise the chance that young children can get into the pool area unsupervised.

Pool owners are required to ensure their pool is fenced and meets the pool safety standard. The standard covers:

  • The required height and strength of fences
  • Non climbable zones
  • Gates and their self-closing and self-latching requirements
  • How to prevent direct access from a building into the pool area (doors, windows)
  • Mandatory CPR signage

What is a pool barrier or fence?

Pool fencing legislation Queensland laws refer to pool barriers, which includes gates. We use the term pool fence, and this can be made of a range of components that restrict access to the pool, including:

  • Fences
  • Posts and panels
  • Gate units
  • Gates and door sets
  • Built or natural walls, including retaining walls
  • Sides of buildings
  • Balustrades of a balcony

Fences must be:

  • At least 1200mm high (measured from finished ground level to the top of the fence)
  • Less than 100mm from the ground at the bottom
  • built on stable and solid ground
  • Fences on sloping or stepped sites must be a minimum of 1200mm high at any location.

What is a non-climbable zone?

The pool safety standard requires fences to have continuous 900mm non-climbable zones, areas that cannot be climbed by a small child. These rules are detailed under pool fences.

The standard also requires pool owners to create a clear area on the inside the pool fence immediately next to the external non-climbable zone. This means moving anything that would make the fence easy to climb:

  • 900mm away from the outside of the fence
  • 300mm away from the inside

What is required of a pool gate?

Pool gates must:

  • Not open towards the pool
  • Be self-closing
  • Self-latch from any open position

It's important to always keep the gate shut. This will stop young children from accessing the pool unsupervised.

Latch Rules

Outside latches

Pool gate latches on the outside must be:

  • At least 1500mm from the ground (measured from the finished ground level to the underside of the latch-release handle)
  • 1400mm above the top of the highest lower horizontal member

Inside latches

Pool gate latches on the inside must be:

  • At least 150mm below the top of the gate (or any hand-hole)
  • Covered with a 450mm-radius shield (when the gate is closed there cannot be any gaps greater than 10mm within this shield) to help stop children from putting their fingers into the gap to release the latch

Hinge rules

Pool gate hinges can be climbed by children if they jut out more than 10mm, so extra rules apply. They must:

  • Be at least 900mm apart from top of lower hinge to top of top hinge
  • Have a 60-degree safety cap added to the lower hinge if they are closer than 900mm apart. You can buy safety caps from a hardware store

What is required of doors and windows?


Make sure no doors open directly onto your outdoor pool or spa area.

Indoor pools

Only indoor pools or spas may be accessed by a child-resistant door set A child-resistant door set cannot be used to accessed outdoor pools. For a child-resistant door set:

  • The door handle must be at least 1500mm high
  • The door must not open towards the pool
  • The door must be self-closing and self-latching
  • You must have no climbable items within the non-climbable zone


A window can be part of your pool or spa fence if either:

  • It has a clear drop of at least 1800mm from the sill down to the pool area, and
  • The sill is not less than 1200mm high on the inside (the side away from the pool area) with no climbable objects within 900mm (non-climbable zone)

If your window opens onto the pool or spa area and does not fit these requirements you need to make sure it cannot open more than 100mm by either:

  • Fitting a permanent security screen
  • Altering the window so it cannot be opened more than 100mm by permanently fixing screws or similar to the top and / or bottom of the openable section of the window

If the bottom of your window is between 900mm and 1200mm from the floor on the inside you can use:

  • A permanent flyscreen (a fixed security flyscreen)

What is required of a CPR sign?

The pool safety standard also covers pool safety signs:

  • You must display a compliant CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) sign.
  • The CPR sign must be attached to the pool fence or barrier, or somewhere near the pool so it is conspicuous and anyone near the pool can see it.

You must display a CPR sign that:

  • Shows how to perform CPR
  • Is attached to the pool safety fence, or displayed near the pool
  • Is easily visible to a person near the pool
  • Is at least 300mm by 300mm
  • Is made of durable and weatherproof material
  • Includes a prominent statement explaining how to act in an emergency (e.g. call 000, stay with the injured person, provide first aid)
  • Complies with the requirements set out in Guideline 8 of the Australian Resuscitation Council guidelines, including DRSABCD and the compression to ventilation ratio of 30 compressions to 2 breaths

For further information regarding pool safety laws and pool safety certificate Qld legislation please visit the QBCC website at the following link https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/your-property/swimming-pools/pool-safety-standard.