Swimming pools

A swimming pool is defined as anything that is:

  • capable of being filled with water to a depth of greater than 300mm,
  • and is used for swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity.

Spa pools are classified as swimming pools.

For more complete definitions of swimming pools and spas see the Swimming Pools Act.

Do I need approval?

It depends whether or not your proposed swimming pool meets the Exempt or Complying Development standards of the State Environmental Planning Policy.

  • If the Exempt Development standards are met,approval is not required and you do not need to lodge an application with Council
  • If your pool is not Exempt, it may be classed as a Complying Development. You will need to lodge an application for a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) 
  • If your pool is not classed as either Exempt or Complying, then a Development Application (DA) will need to be lodged

To find out the requirements for exempt or complying development go to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008.

If you are not sure if you need approval or not, fill in our help form and we will get back to you with advice ASAP.

Other requirements

There are many other requirements that go with owning a pool. These include compliance and pool fencing requirements.

Under the Swimming Pools Act 1992 (NSW), the owner of a swimming pool and/or spa has the responsibility to ensure that the pool and/or spa is at all times surrounded by a complying child-resistant pool safety barrier. Pool and spa safety barriers must be maintained in a good state of repair as an effective and safe barrier restricting access to the pool.

In 2012, a comprehensive review of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 was finalised. This review identified a number of amendments designed to enhance the safety of children under the age of five years around private swimming pools in NSW. As a result of these legislative changes, swimming pool owners and Council have certain responsibilities. These responsibilities are indicated below in more detail.

Swimming Pool Owners Responsibility

All swimming pool owners must register their swimming pool and/or spa on the NSW State-wide register by 29 October 2013.

Please click here to register your pool.

Self Assessment of Swimming Pool Barrier Fencing

Swimming pool owners are encouraged to undertake a self assessment of their swimming pool barrier fencing to ensure compliance with the relevant legislation.

Please click here to view the relevant NSW Government Swimming Pool Register self-assessment checklists.

We have also prepared a simplified checklist available here(PDF, 123KB) .

Selling or Leasing a Property with a Swimming Pool or Spa

From 29 April 2014, a swimming pool owner must obtain a swimming pool compliance certificate before they can sell or lease their property. The swimming compliance certificate certifies that the swimming pool barrier fencing complies with the relevant standard. The swimming pool compliance certificate is valid for a period of 3 years.

A swimming pool compliance certificate can be obtained from Council by completing the application form(PDF, 142KB) .

Before you can apply for a swimming pool compliance certificate you must ensure that your pool is registered on the NSW State-wide register.

Once Council has received your application, a Council Officer will contact you to arrange a suitable time to undertake an inspection of your swimming pool barrier fencing.

Swimming Pool Inspection Program

As a result of the recent changes to the Swimming Pools (Amendment) Act 2012 Council is required to implement a Swimming Pool Inspection Program.

Project Objective

To implement an inspection program that effectively meets Council's obligations under the Swimming Pools Act and Regulation, increases pool safety awareness and reduces infant drowning and near drowning events.

1) As of and from 29 April 2014, Council shall inspect all swimming pools in its area required to be inspected under the Swimming Pool Act 1992 situated on premises on which there is tourist and visitor accommodation or more than 2 dwellings.

2) Council inspect all swimming pools in its area required to be inspected under the Swimming Pools Act 1992, except those mentioned in paragraph (1) above, at least once then re inspected as determined by Council's financial and other resources that are reasonably available for the purposes of exercising its functions;

3) Council shall carry out random inspections of swimming pools in paragraph (1) and (2) above. The number and frequency of the random inspections is to be determined by Council's financial and other resources that are reasonably available for the purpose of exercising its functions; 

4) The inspection of a swimming pool in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) above, is not required within 3 years from the date of issue of a valid certificate of compliance in respect of the swimming pool or a relevant occupation certificate that authorises the use of the swimming pool;

5) Council may carry out an inspection of a swimming pool under Section 22C of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 where the owner of the premises on which a swimming pool is situated in Council's area requests Council to inspect the swimming pool;

6) Council must carry out an inspection of a swimming pool in its area under section 22C of the Swimming Pools Act 1992, and must carry out that inspection within a reasonable time, if the request to Council is in writing and states that the inspection is required to enable the sale or lease of the premises or part of the premises on which the swimming pool is situated. A reasonable time is within 10 business days after Council receives a request.

7)Council must investigate a complaint made to it in writing that alleges a contravention of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 in accordance with that Act.