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$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Reforms to swimming pool and safety barrier requirements

The Building Amendment Regulations 2023 (Amendment Regulations) are now gazetted and in effect following the WA Government’s 2021 Decision Paper.

Following the WA Government’s 2021 Decision Paper, the Building Amendment Regulations 2023 (Amendment Regulations) are now gazetted and in effect.

What’s happened?

The Amendment Regulations were published 20 December 2023 and came into effect immediately from 21 December 2023.

These Amendment Regulations provide for multiple reforms for swimming pool and safety barrier requirements in WA, within the Building Regulations 2012. 

What’s changed?

Amended definitions:

  • Regulation 3 has been amended to clarify that spa baths, typically a bathroom product, are not subject to the barrier provisions.
  • Spa pools are now included within Regulation 3 and are explicitly subject to the provisions.
  • Door concession provisions (providing for a wider descriptor of a person’s condition) that may require modifications for universal access now only requires National Disability Services (NDS) confirmation of a person’s ability to operate a compliant gate or door.

Clarified definitions:

  • The definition of an authorised person is now expanded to include contractors operating on behalf of a permit authority for safety barrier inspections, subject to having sufficient identification.
  • Contractors with current authorisations will be re-authorised under the changes.
  • Permit authority employees continue to be an authorised person.
  • “Building work that does not require a Building Permit” is now expanded to include a fence, including fences forming part of a pool barrier, aligning with other types of fencing. This does not exempt fences that may form a dual function of pool fence or barrier and:
    • also act as a falls barrier or balustrade.
    • are constructed in masonry over 0.75m in height
    • are constructed in any other material over 1.8m in height
    • are located in Wind Region C or D, or
    • are not constructed in accordance with a local law.

Clarified requirements:

  • Barriers and fencing to structures are now only required when a structure is complete, and does not capture pools or other water features under construction regardless of the level of water.
  • Practitioners and supervisors are reminded that incomplete pool or pond structures can still present a falls risk and should be considered as part of wider WHS obligations, including High Risk Work for excavations greater than 1.5m.
  • Clarifications that “double ups” of fencing or barriers for a site already secured under the WHS Act 2020 are not required.
  • Permit authority employees continue to be an authorised person.

Alternative boundary barrier compliance options:

  • Regulation 15B provides additional technical considerations for Clause 2.2.4 of AS1926:2012, in providing boundary barriers and alternative compliance options that provide an option to utilise the non-pool side of a fence or other barrier.
  • This is subject to 
    • the Non-Climbable-Zones (NCZs) 1, 2, 3, and 4 being in place within 500mm of the boundary, 
    • there being no obligation on the neighbouring property to preserve the barrier function, 
    • the provision being more suited to verge, park-side, public land or retaining wall barriers.

Initial inspection and re-inspection frameworks:

  • Requirements for new inspections are triggered for those within the initial four (4) year window, to be completed within 30 days.
  • As a result, builders no longer have to issue an inspection certificate upon completion of works.
  • New fee structures for inspections can be included within a rates notice.
  • Permit Authorities may request additional information relating to barriers at initial inspection, such as the required compliance reports per AS1926 and various glass testing outcomes per AS1288.
  • Reinspection periods of non-compliant barriers are limited to sixty (60) calendar days and must occur.
  • Re-inspection does not trigger an additional charge.

These changes are further detailed with the release of :

To find out more, contact HIA's Building Services team.

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