DIY pool fencing is coming under the spotlight as home owners, especially those looking to sell or rent, scramble to make sense of the latest pool fence regulations and get that all important pool safety certificate. If you are lucky enough to have a simple pool enclosure on flat ground without any adjoining structures or party fences and there is no vegetation immediately within or close to the outside of your pool safety fence – you should not have a problem as long as your fence and pool gates meet the regulations and, importantly, are installed correctly. Unfortunately, most of us do not fall into this category.
If you have done or are thinking of DIY pool fencing, make sure that you are buying certified sections rather than what is described as ‘garden fencing’ as they can both look identical. Garden fencing is cheaper and the vertical palings are able to flex well beyond 100mm (the maximum spacing allowed) when squashed in your hand. Some older pool fencing also does not meet the basic safety requirements so it might pay to check that the fence height (from the natural ground level) is a minimum of 1200mm and the verticals are not able to be compressed beyond 100mm. The distance between the fence bottom rail and the top rail must be at least 900mm. Gaps under the fence or gate can not exceed 100mm. These measurements are strictly enforced and there are many more specific pool regulations some of which are quite complicated depending on how and where your pool is situated.
Pool Safety Inspection or Repair First
If you think your swimming pool falls into the the straight forward category and you are satisfied that it now meets requirements – go ahead and make a booking for a pool inspection. The worst that can happen is that you are issued with a Form 26 Non Conformity notice (giving you three months to rectify) but this, as we shall see, has its own advantages.
My advice is, in all but the most straightforward cases, to have a pool safety inspection done at the outset for a number of reasons. Queensland pool regulations are fairly extensive and sometimes complicated and difficult to relate to your own situation. This is why Swimming Pool Inspectors have to complete an intensive course and sit an exam to qualify. By having the work done prior to inspection you are setting yourself (or your handyman) up as de facto Pool Inspectors and this can easily backfire. A Form 26 Non Conformity notice consists of not only a list of specific items to be corrected but also the inspectors suggestions on how they might be executed. This is pure gold, especially, if you have a complicated setup which requires work. Remember that the pool inspectors decision is final.
As far as the difference in cost is concerned, you need to consider and compare what it will cost you to have another inspection and the value you received in the inspectors report, versus the cost of getting your handyman back and having the extra work done. Probably about the same cost but nine out of ten times having the inspectors instructions will get you that certificate faster and with less stress trying to second guess.
During the course of my work as a pool safety fencing repair specialist I have worked with a large number of swimming Pool inspectors and have noticed that they are generally constructive and sympathetic to the owners situation and work hard to find a way to get the job done. I am happy to say that a number of them will consult with me on finding solutions to difficult pool fencing problems which typically include multi-tiered terraced gardens and adjoining structures that don’t meet non climbable zone regulations. Because I work closely with the pool inspector to find suitable solutions I am proud of the fact that I have never worked on a job that did not get certification. Every job is different and presents new challenges and, within the bounds of the regulations he has to work in, the pool safety inspector can be your best ally when it comes to keeping the kids safe around the pool.