Building & Planning

Private swimming pools

All private swimming pools, above ground pools and spas require a building permit before commencement of construction. Legislation requires that the pool be adequately fenced including self-closing and latching gates. Building permits and registration of pools can be made at any of our Shire Administration offices in Tom Price, Paraburdoo, Pannawonica and Onslow. 

What is classified as a swimming pool?

A swimming pool is defined as any excavation or structure which contains water deeper than 300mm and is used for the purpose of swimming, wading and the like. These structures must meet the legislative requirements.
The definition of a swimming pool does not include a dam or a tank used for rural purposes or a watercourse, such as a stream.

Above ground pools 

Above ground pools, which have walls higher than 1.2 metres may not require fencing, unless features such as decking, wall bracing, filters and ladders provide a means for children to climb into the pool. The wall itself may constitute a "suitable barrier".
Council has the discretion to permit other "suitable barriers" if it is impracticable to comply with these requirements.

Fencing your pool 

Too many Western Australian children drown in private swimming pools or suffer brain damage from near drowning brought about by prolonged submersion in water. Those children could easily be yours, your friends or relatives.

Such tragedies continue to occur and are of great concern to our community. Requirements for safety fencing in this State have been set by the State Government, and enforced by the Shire of Ashburton.

What are the fencing requirements?

Your fence and gate must meet the requirements as determined by the Building Regulations 2012 and AS1926.1-2012

If you are in any doubt concerning your fences or gates contact the Shire and an appropriate officer will attend to your enquiries.

A pool must be fenced so that the pool and its immediate surrounds are isolated from any neighbouring property and access to the pool from your house is restricted. A door or window from your house, which leads directly to a pool enclosure, is permitted for pools installed prior to 2001, and must comply with AS1926.1

A pool may also be fenced so that it is separated from the dwelling and from the rest of the property on which the pool is situated.

Where it is impractical to comply with these requirements, because of the design of your swimming pool or other special circumstances, the Shire has discretion to authorise alternative "suitable barriers" which in the opinion of the Council will restrict access to barriers to the pool by unsupervised young children.

Performance of gates 

Even in gusty winds all gates must have efficient self-closing/latching mechanisms. The following test is a reliable indicator to gate efficiency:

  • lean on the gate (about the same force you could expect the body of a young child to exert);
  • rattle the gate while leaning on it to ensure the gate remains latched;
  • open the gate as far as the width of an adult fist and release – check it automatically closes and latches;
  • open the gate half-way and release; and
  • open the gate fully and release.
  • Rest the gate latch onto the latching mechanism, if this does not pull the latch in then it has failed.

In all cases the gate must close fully and latch securely. For the sake of your child, please check the gates carefully.

Inspection of fences

The Shire must inspect all swimming pools at least once within a 4 year period, it is up to each local government to maintain a current register of all pools.

The Shire at its own discretion may ask that all swimming pools be inspected on an annual basis.

Further information can be obtained by downloading a copy of Rules for Pools.

Remember - It is your pool. You must look after it because YOU are responsible.

Last updated: 7 May 2019