Swimming Pools and Spas

Building permits for swimming pools, spas and their associated fences - Fact Sheet

The Rules and Regulations

All private swimming pools and spas that contain water more than 300mm deep must have a barrier compliant with Australian Standard AS 1926.1 that restricts access by young children to the swimming and spa pool and its immediate surrounds. In Western Australia, the legislative framework that mandates the requirement to provide a barrier to a private swimming and spa pool comprises:

  • the Building Act 2011 (WA)
  • the Building Regulations 2012 (WA)

Private swimming or spa pool includes:

  • in-ground and above-ground pools (including inflatable and portable pools);
  • in-ground and above-ground spa pools (but not spa baths that are normally emptied after each use); and
  • Bathing or wading pools.

Pools that are not considered to be private swimming or spa pools are controlled under the Health (Aquatic Facilities) Regulations 2007. More information can be found in the Code of Practice for the design, operation, management and maintenance of aquatic facilities.

Role of the Local Government

Local Government is responsible for issuing building permits for swimming pools and spas and their associated barriers. The approval process not only ensures that the building and barrier standards are satisfied, but that the structures are registered with the Local Government so that periodic inspections of the installed barrier can occur at least once every four years. The approved permit will be conditioned to contact the Town on completion of the pool and barrier installation to arrange a final inspection. The Town will inspect the barrier for compliance and if satisfied issue an inspection certificate. A fee of $150 is payable for this inspection. 

Mandatory Inspections 

Once your completed pool/spa and barrier has been confirmed as compliant, it is the property owner's responsibility to maintain the barrier in a compliance state until the next inspection. Owners and occupiers are responsible for ensuring that any fence or barrier restricting access to a swimming or spa pool is maintained and operating effectively. If you do not comply with the Regulations you risk the lives of young children and may face substantial fines.

In accordance with the Building Regulations 2012, the Town is required to inspect the safety barriers to private swimming pool and spas periodically, so that no more than four years elapse between inspections. This is to ensure that safety barriers/fences and other safety features continue to comply with the required legislation. 

The Royal Lifesaving Society WA has been contracted by the Town of East Fremantle to conduct assessments of all private swimming pool and spa barriers. 

Royal Lifesaving will be contacting property owners to book in a suitable time for an inspector to visit the property. Your cooperation in promptly arranging an inspection will greatly assist in organising an efficient inspection program. 

The cost for the mandatory inspection is broken down into four early payments and will appear on your annual rates notice.  

General Barrier Requirements

View the helpful and easy to read Rules for Pools and Spas 

This publication has been produced by the Building Commission to assist pool and spa owners by thoroughly detailing the rules and regulations for barrier requirements. 

Rules for Portable Pools 

Owners and occupiers of premises on which there is a private swimming pool or spa must ensure they have a compliant safety barrier in place at all times. This document can be used to check the basic elements of pool safety barriers.

Rules for Pools and Spas - a simple checklist

Hints to follow for removal of your pool

  • totally remove your pool if it is above ground; or
  • totally remove your pool and backfill if below ground. You need to obtain a compaction certificate for the backfill; or
  • leave pool in, but make two holes (minimum size of 1m x 1m each) one in the deep end and another in the shallow end of the pool. 

Further information

Useful websites include:

Royal Life Saving Western Australia

Royal Life Saving Australia - Keep Watch

Swim and Survive

Kidsafe