Swimming pool and spa safety barrier laws for private homes

All pools and spas, regardless of when installed or constructed, require safety barriers.

Portable or inflatable pools/spas also must have safety fencing.

Many Victorians enjoy relaxing in swimming pools or spas.

Swimming pool and spa owners are required by law to meet government standards and regulations.

You will need a building permit if you are planning to build a pool safety barrier or alter an existing one.

Some of these laws include:

  • all swimming pools and spas capable of containing a depth of water exceeding 300 millimetres (30 centimetres) must have suitable child resistant safety barriers

  • a building permit is required for:

    • the construction of all pools (including above ground) and spas that are capable of containing a depth of water greater than 300 millimetres  

    • installing and altering all swimming pool and spa safety fences and barriers including windows, doors and gates that provide access to a pool or spa area

  • suitable child resistant safety barriers must be completed within six months of building work starting on swimming pools and spas

  • any swimming pool or spa fence, barrier, gate or door must be maintained in good working order

  • all gates and doors providing access to a swimming pool or a spa must have self-closing and self-latching devices regardless of when they were built.

It is an offence to prop open any gate or door providing access to a swimming pool or spa.

Drowning is the most common cause of preventable death for children under five years of age in Victoria. If you don’t comply with these regulations, you risk the lives of family and friends as well as fines of up to $5,000. A fully compliant barrier system can never be considered childproof. Therefore, proper adult supervision is an essential aspect of ensuring the safety of children around a swimming pool or spa area.

What is a swimming pool or spa?

A swimming pool or spa is any excavation or structure capable of containing water deeper than 300mm and used principally for swimming, wading, or paddling.

Safety barriers

Are required for:

  • above-ground swimming pools

  • bathing and wading pools

  • hot tubs

  • in-ground swimming pools

  • indoor swimming pools

  • jacuzzis

  • spas

Are not required for:

Structures not used principally for swimming, paddling or wading including:

  • bird baths

  • dams

  • fish ponds

  • fountains

  • inflatable swimming pools (typically toddler or wading pools) not capable of containing a depth of water greater than 300 millimetres 

  • spas inside a building that are used for personal hygiene such as a spa bath in a bathroom

  • swimming pools or spas not capable of containing a depth of water greater than 300 millimetres 

  • water supply/storage tanks

Need to know more...

Read more about swimming pools, spas and their safety barriers on the Victorian Building Authority webpage.

Page last updated: Wednesday, 1 February 2017