Swimming Pools and Spas

If you have a backyard swimming pool or spa, including an inflatable or portable pool/spa that holds 30cm or more of water, you need to be aware of the following information issued in an effort to promote and improve safety.

Register your pool or spa

Owners of backyard swimming pools and spas are legally required to register their swimming pool and/or spa on the NSW Swimming Pool register. Pools can be registered here.

Registration is free.

Fines may be issued for pools or spas that have not been registered. 

This applies to all pools and spas capable of holding 30cm or more of water, including those that are portable and inflatable.


Fines apply if a pool is not completely surrounded by a compliant pool fence. 

This includes inflatable and portable pools that can be filled with 30cm or more of water. 

Fences must also have a self-closing and self-latching gate.

Spas may be fitted with a child-resistant lockable lid.

Self-assessment checklists are available on the NSW Swimming Pool Register to assist with compliance.

Swim spas, plunge pools and exercise spas

The NSW Swimming Pools Act 1992 (The Act) does not define a swim spa. This is typically a grey area in the legislation that has caused confusion for our customers. To address this confusion, Council has undertaken consultation with other regulatory authorities with a view to defining a swim spa and providing clarity on the child-proof barrier requirements.

If a swim spa has seats and jets to the seats then Council considers that it meets the definition of a spa. Under Section 20 of the Act, water contained in a spa may be covered and secured by a lockable child-resistant structure (such as a door, lid, grille or mesh) that:

(a) is of substantial construction and having no opening through which it is possible to pass a testing apparatus, and
(b) is securely fastened by a device that is itself of substantial construction and having no opening through which it is possible to pass a testing apparatus.

Plunge pools and exercise spas however are designed and intended for human aquatic activity and therefore defined as a swimming pool under the Act. There are no concessions for outdoor swimming pools and these structures must be provided with isolation pool fencing.

For indoor pools please refer to Section 14 of the Act and Division 2 of the Swimming Pools Regulation 2018.

Development Consent

Pools and spas that hold 2000 litres of water or more also need Development Consent from Council.

Substantial fines apply, for the installation of pools and spas installed contrary to the requirements of State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt & Complying Development Codes) 2008 including for portable and inflatable pools that hold this amount of water. 

For more information call us on T 02 6578 7290 to speak to a Duty Planner.


Council’s Swimming Pool and Spa Barrier Inspection Program was developed in consultation with the community. It was adopted in 2018 as a response to changes to state legislation and was designed to promote and ensure pool safety within our community. It applies to all pools and spas which hold 30cm or more of water, including those that are portable and inflatable.

Council officers contact pool and spa owners to organise inspections to ensure compliance. Fees apply for inspections. Please refer to Council's Fees and Charges.

If a pool or spa complies, a Certificate of Compliance will be issued which is valid for three years.

You can also use the checklists available on the Swimming Pool Register website to carry out a self assessment of your swimming pool or spa barrier to assist with compliance before a Council inspection. Royal Life Saving also has a Home Pool Safety Checklist.

Council is also conducting mandatory inspections of all tourist, visitor and multi-occupancy developments that have pools/spas.

For more information on compliance, including FAQs, click here.

Leasing a property with a pool or spa

he owner of a swimming pool or spa must obtain a Certificate of Compliance before selling the property. The Certificate of Compliance certifies that the swimming pool or spa barrier complies with the relevant standard and is valid for 3 years. A Certificate of Non-Compliance may also be issued. If contracts for sale are exchanged using a Certificate of Non-Compliance the purchaser has 90 days after settlement to bring the barrier into compliance.

An Occupation Certificate issued within the past 3 years may act as a Certificate of Compliance.

Certificate of Compliance

A Certificate of Compliance can be obtained from Council using the form below. Please note there is a $165 fee payable at the time the application is lodged. An amount of $110 each, if further inspections are required. Once Council has received your application, a Council Officer will contact you to arrange a suitable time for us to inspect your swimming pool or spa barrier.

If the pool or spa is considered to pose a risk to public safety a Direction to Comply will be issued.

Swimming Pool Fence Certificate of Compliance Application Form

Maintaining your pool fence

Pool owners are responsible for ensuring the safety of children in your home and neighbourhood.  The following tips are recommended to help maintain pool fencing:

  • Regularly check that the gate self closes and self-latches;
  • Regularly check and adjust the latching device as needed to ensure that they are operating correctly and have not been affected by the ground, fence or latch movement;
  • Regularly check fencing panels for correct gaps, rust and wear and tear;
  • Regularly check all fence bolts, screws and fasteners to make sure they are tight and in good order.  Any loose bolts, screws and fasteners should be tightened or replaced;
  • Regularly replace springs and regularly spray self-closing gate hinges, locks and latches with lubricating oil or silicone to help prevent many of the faults relating to self-closing and self-latching gates; and
  • Make sure trees, shrubs, BBQs, pot plants, toys, ladders, chairs and other objects are not within the 90cm non-climbable zone on the fence and are stored as far away from the fence as possible.

Adopted Swimming Pool Inspection Program

To inspect all swimming pools to ensure compliance with the Swimming Pools Act and associated standards.

Pools will be inspected in the following order of priority:

  • Following an application for a Compliance Certificate
  • Following receipt of Customer Requests regarding non-compliant fencing
  • On receipt of notices from a Private Certifier
  • Those associated with a tourist visitor accommodation and multi residential developments
  • Random inspections

This approach is seen as being the fairest way to inspect pools across the local government area without passing compliance costs on to residents who don’t have a pool.

Useful resources

Singleton Council inspects public swimming pools and spa pools in the Singleton Council local government area to ensure they are meeting the requirements of the Public Health Act 2010 and Public Health Regulation 2012 which regulates health risks associated with these facilities.

Public Swimming Pools

A public swimming pool or spa pool is any structure that is used or intended to be used for human bathing, swimming or diving to which the public is admitted, whether free of charge, on payment of a fee or otherwise, including those swimming pools and spa pools:

  • To which the public is admitted as membership of a club
  • Provided at a workplace for use of the employees
  • Provided at a hotel, motel, guest house, holiday units or similar facility for the use of guests, and
  • Provided at a school or hospital
  • Situated at private residential premises used for commercial purposes

A spa pool includes any structure (other than a swimming pool) that holds more than 680 litres of water, is used or intended to be used for human bathing and has facilities for injecting jets of water or air into the water.

If you operate a public swimming pool or spa pool, you are required to comply with the following main requirements under the Public Health Act 2010 and Public Health Regulation 2022: 

  • Notify Council  that you have a public swimming pool or spa pool using the NSW Health Notification Form
  •  Public swimming pools and spa pools must be disinfected with either chlorine or bromine approved by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). The APVMA website provides information on approved chemicals 
  • Ensure that the pool is fitted with either an automatic or continuous metered disinfectant dosing system
  • Ensure that the pool complies with the prescribed operating, monitoring and recordkeeping requirements as detailed in Schedule 1 of the Public Health Regulation 2022
  • Public swimming pools and spa pools operators should record daily monitoring in a Daily Sample Log Sheet and records must be kept for 6 months

NSW Guidelines For Public Swimming Pools and Spa Pools – draft 2022 will assist public swimming pool and spa pool operators to meet the requirements of the Public Health Act 2010 and Public Health Regulation 2022.

Occasionally incidents affect swimming pool and spa pool water quality. These may include faecal or vomiting contamination incidents, suspected illness incidents or failure to meet microbiological parameters. NSW Health have developed protocols which provide guidance on managing these.