SPASA Webinar 1926.1 FAQ

November 10th, 2023

An Australian Standards Committee consists of technical experts representing various interest groups. Standards Australia refers to these stakeholder groups as nominating organisations.

In relation to AS1926.1, the following organisations are represented:

  1. Aquatic Recreation Network Australia

  2. Australian Building Codes Board

  3. Australian Glass and Window Association — Glass/Glazing

  4. Australian Industry Group

  5. Australian Institute of Building Surveyors

  6. Australian Institute of Landscape Architects

  7. Bureau of Steel Manufacturers of Australia Limited

  8. Consumers Federation of Australia

  9. Housing Industry Association

  10. Kidsafe Australia

  11. Master Builders Australia

  12. Master Pool Builders Association Australia

  13. Royal Life Saving Society Australia

  14. Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Australia

  15. Landscape Design Institute (Aust)

Each organisation brings their own set of expertise in the drafting process. As can be seen, this includes safety, technical, construction, design and regulators to name a few.

In the draft, Plants that do not facilitate access to the pool area can include:

(a)          Small shrubs, succulents and decorative grasses.

(b)          Foliage that is dense, rough, thorned, spiked or irritating.

(c)          Trees, palm and fern trunks and branches with rough, thorny or smooth components.

(d)          Plants that are fragile and unable to support a young child.

(e)          Plants where foliage conceals thick branches that could hold a young child’s weight,

provided the branches are impractical for a young child to reach or use to climb the barrier.

The out of ground pool walls and walls of an above ground pool are considered an effective barrier with the exception of NSW who have a variation in the NCC not permitting this.

Since AS1926.1-2012 was first published, some practitioners inaccurately applied Clause 2.3.1 to Boundary Barriers. This approach created pool inspector confusion and compliance related uncertainty for pool owners wishing to genuinely comply.

A lack of consistency when applying the standard reduces compliance. It also increases industry and pool owner confusion, frustrates genuine endeavours to comply, and increases the cost of regulation.

With the view of correctly interpreting and applying Australian Standards consistently across the nation, SPASA Australia formally applied for a “Standards Australia Ruling” as the national peak industry body and a member on the CS-034 Committee.

Standards Australia Rulings are used where a formal interpretation is required on a technical matter relating to a Standard, including a clarification of the meaning of a clause and its applicability. Once a Ruling is agreed by a committee, the decision is then published as a Standards Australia Ruling and made available to the public.

The Standards Australia Ruling process was completed in 2021 with the decision outcome stating:

Publication Number: AS 1926.1:2012 Rul 1:2021

Ruling Enquiry: Was it the committee’s intention in 2012 that Clause 2.3.1 in AS 1926.1:2012 Swimming Pool Safety, Part 1: Safety barriers for swimming pools shall apply to boundary barriers?

Ruling: No.

The Standards Australia Ruling process now strictly provides the necessary clarity that Clause 2.3.1 DOES NOT APPLY to Boundary Barriers.

This Standards Australia Ruling supports the objective of clearer rules that are easier to understand and follow by industry and Australian pool owners.

This Ruling has now been included within the new draft Standard.

NOTE:   (For NSW only): There is a NSW state based variation in the NCC that states Clause 2.3.1 applies to the boundary barrier.  The NSW position is contrary to the position of other regulators and the Australian Standard.

5. Where a boundary fence is higher than 1.8m , is the 900mm NCZ measured from 1.8m or the top of the fence?

NCZ 5 formed as a quadrant of 900 mm radius down from the top of the inside of the barrier.

6. Boundary barrier must be min 1800mm high with NCZ5. was there any consideration to remove the NCZ 5 if the boundary barrier height is 2400+.

This approach has not been considered. SPASA would encourage you to make a submission during public comment.

NCZ5 is the relevant non-climbable zone and preventive measure for a boundary barrier. The committee as part of the Ruling reviewed a number of statistics, reports and expert opinion in forming the view that clause 2.3.1 did not apply to the boundary barrier.

8. Where there is no front boundary fence - ie no fence at all. how close to the boundary is a fence considered a boundary fence eg 1/2m.

A boundary barrier is a dividing barrier between two adjoining properties. A pool in any location without a barrier would not be complaint.

No. The only change that is that testing within AS1288 is now specific to the relevant clauses within that standard. There is also a new option to test to a new testing methodology in Appendix G.

Certifiers must apply the prescribed requirements of the standards when making an assessment. Where the standard is silent or vague in a particular area, a certifier has the obligation to properly investigate the circumstance and then expected to detail how they came to a particular conclusion. The assessment of plants which is not covered in the 2012 AS1926.1 is a prime example of certifiers needing to exercise discretion, subject to them undertaking a proper assessment as to why they formed a particular view.

How does this standard interact with the Additional clear area required in QLD MP3.4?

It does not. Queensland operate under the 2007 AS1926.1 standard alongside MP3.4.

11. In relation to the proposed 2.3.11 Combined structures forming a barrier, in many cases concrete and blockwork requires more than 50mm edge distance to ensure the structural soundness of the concrete. How does the proposed standard support composite barriers when it requires edge distances that are impractical?

The proposed standard presents a solution for when the structure presents a single barrier with the connection as close as practical to the outside face of the composite wall and with a maximum ledge of 50 mm.

SPASA would encourage you to make a submission during public comment if you feel the clause should be modified.

Gate hinges that protrude out from the barrier with a horizontal top surface depth greater than 10 mm and those that create an opening between the barrier post and the gate frame stile of greater than 10 mm shall not be permitted in NCZs 1 and 2.

Hinges (including hinges equipped with a cap) with a top surface sloped at 60 degrees or greater to the horizontal may be located within NCZs 1 and 2.

The new definition, 1.3.7 Fixed, securely fixed, affixed, anchored states it must be attached in a way that prevents its removal without a tool or other force, and cannot be easily removed such as fixtures including clips, wing nuts, swivel catches etc.

The use of an allan key would satisfy this clause as it is a tool. A house type key would not.

No, for situations where the balcony protrudes into an NCZ as it is still considered the pool area.

Correct, Swimming Pool Inspectors cannot consider or approve a Performance Solution.

Local authorities, some certifiers/surveyors may be able to accept a Performance Solution if they understand and agree with all parts of the technical justification. No certify can approve a Performance Solution without a receiving a comprehensive report demonstrating:

Generally, key stakeholders in a Performance Solution include:

  • building owner or owner’s representative

  • builder or project manager

  • relevant design process practitioners such as

    • architects

    • engineers (structural, hydraulic, fire safety, civil etc.)

    • design specialists (ESD, HVAC etc.)

    • building design professionals

    • trade practitioners

  • appropriate approval authority, including building surveyors1

  • other relevant agencies related to

    • health

    • environment

    • fire safety

    • infrastructure (water and sewerage)

  • representatives of any other relevant party

Final Report

A final report should clearly demonstrate that compliance with the NCC Performance Requirements  has been achieved. The content of a typical final report should include:

  • An overview of the Performance Solution, including:

    • Scope of the project

    • Stakeholders

    • Applicable NCC Performance Requirements and Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions

    • Assessment Method/s used

    • Approaches and methods of analysis

    • Any assumptions that were made

    • Acceptance criteria and safety factors agreed to by stakeholders

  • Overview and outline the analysis, modelling and/or testing carried out

    • Method of analysis used

    • Calculations and outcomes

    • The sensitivities, redundancies and uncertainty studies carried out

    • The results obtained and relevance to the PBDB

  • Evaluation of results including:

    • Comparison of results with acceptance criteria

    • Any further sensitivity studies undertaken

    • Any expert judgement applied and its justification

  • Conclusion

    • Specifications of the final design that are deemed to be acceptable

    • Confirmation that the NCC Performance Requirement/s were met

    • All limitations to the design and any conditions of use.

Your Feedback

AS1926.1 is critical to the swimming pool and spa industry and the proposed changes to the draft standard include several new requirements that have the potential to impact your business.

It is imperative that members and stakeholders take this opportunity to gain a better understanding of how changes in the draft standard may impact the swimming pool and spa industry.

How To Comment

  1. Complete the feedback form on the draft 1926.1 Australian Standard.

  2. Provide commentary on each section while reviewing the recorded webinar.