Pool Safety Inspections Tip #11: Dividing Fences
Pool Fence Inspections that include a dividing fence:
Often boundary fences form part of the pool barrier, in these cases the pool safety standard still applies to the boundary fence if it is used as part of the pool barrier. The boundary fence must be a minimum of 1200 millimetres high and have a complying non-climbable zone. However, it is important to note that if the fence is less than 1800 millimetres in height the non-climbable zone must be on the outside of the fence (neighbours side). A pool owner is unable to control the actions of a neighbour and therefore has no control of the non-climbable zone. If the fence is 1800 millimetres or higher, the non-climbable zone can be on the inside. Pool owners should consider whether they are able to control the area outside of the pool fence before deciding on a fence height that requires the non-climbable zone on the outside of the fence.
The costs associated with constructing, altering, repairing, replacing and maintaining a regulated pool’s fence is generally to be borne by the owner of the land on which the pool is situated. However if there are pools on both sides of the fence and the work or part of the work is done to allow both parties comply, the cost is borne equally by the pool owners.
It is recommended that you speak to your neighbour and attempt to reach an agreement with them, before taking any action regarding a dividing fence. Where a boundary fence forms part of the pool barrier the Dividing Fences Act 1953 (DFA) gives property owners certain rights and responsibilities regarding the dividing fence.
The pool safety laws do not change the provisions of the DFA, except that the pool owner is responsible for the cost of constructing, altering, repairing, replacing or maintaining a dividing fence that is also used as a pool fence, to the extent that the work is done to comply with the pool safety standard. If both owners have pools, the cost of this work is shared equally.
Further information about the DFA can be obtained from the Department of Justice and Attorney- General at www.justice.qld.gov.au
The Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Bill 2010 (NDRB) was introduced into State Parliament on 25 November 2010 and will repeal the DFA. Amendments to the BA have been passed in Parliament and awaiting a proclamation date. These amendments will provide the regime for pool owners who propose to use or construct a fence on a common boundary as a pool barrier.
These amendments will be read in conjunction with the NDRB.
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