Balconies and Stairs Around Your Pool
Hanging out on your balcony overlooking the swimming pool is definitely one of the perks of having a pool that’s built one level below your balcony.
Perhaps you’re lucky enough to already have a home built this way?
Or you’re in the process of designing a home with a balcony barrier over or adjacent to your pool area?
Either way you will need to consider the responsibilities you’ll need to be aware of.
Especially considering the very real dangers that come with having a balcony near your pool area.
By knowing the following requirements and checks you’ll be well on your way to ensuring your family’s safety, and your pool’s compliance…
… The best part about it is that it’ll take you less than 10 minutes of your time!
Let’s get cracking:
What is a balcony?
I’m sure that even if you don’t know what a balcony is, you would have most likely seen one.
In layman’s terms, a balcony is that platform that protrudes from a building wall, with access to from an elevated opening.
A balcony is formally defined as a platform enclosed by a wall or balustrade on the outside of a building, with access from an upper-floor window or door.
Now you know what a balcony is, let’s have a chat about the dangers of a non-compliant pool because of a balcony or stairs.
Balconies and Stairs in Your Pool Area: Dangers
Balconies above or adjacent to your pool area provide a great outlook for you.
Stairs that access the pool area also provide a convenient way to access the pool from an upper level.
However, having a height advantage means that prying hands and feet will have other avenues of accessing the pool area.
One example could be that a balcony that is within the non-climbable zone of the pool could serve as a way for a child climbing over the balcony balustrade and jumping into the pool.
Another way a young child could exploit a balcony or stairs near your pool area is if they hop over the balustrade or handrails and use the pool fence as a step down into the pool area.
After hearing about a couple of the possible dangers, I’m sure it isn’t hard for you to imagine the many other ways a curious child could exploit a non-compliant balcony or stairs in your pool area.
Now you’re probably asking one of two things:
Ok, so what requirements do I need to know about?
What checks can I do right now?
To make things super simple and quick for you, I’ll break it down to different scenarios.
If the balcony barrier is adjacent to pool area then, you will need to make sure:
- Your balcony has a balustrade that is compliant with Australian Standards1926.1 (AS1926.1)
- Any part of the balcony floor intrudes into the non-climbable zone (NCZ) of the pool safety barrier
- The balcony has stairs that directly access the pool
If you have a balcony barrier over a pool area:
- AS1926.1-2012 is silent on the situation of balconies that project over a pool area. In this type of situation access into the pool might be available via balcony doors, windows or steps
- AS1926.1-2007 (balcony, window and retaining wall requirements (access to a pool from an upper level)) guidelines may assist.
- A balcony barrier is to comply with AS1926.1 requirements where:
- the distance from any part of the floor of the balcony to the finished ground level of the pool area is less than 1800mm or
- the balcony has stairs into the pool
Now it’s your turn
Great stuff! You’ve upskilled your knowledge on balconies and your pool.
Perhaps you’ve got a balcony that is directly adjacent to the pool area.
Or maybe a balcony that is situated above the pool?
Regardless what it is you have you can now apply your newfound knowledge of what a balcony is, the dangers of a balcony or stairs in your non-climbable zone (NCZ), and key requirements you need to be aware of.
By spending a total of less than 10 minutes doing these checks, you can potentially prevent a lifetime of regret and prevent accidents from happening.
Before you go!
Make sure to download a copy of your pool safety self-assessment checklist, and make your routine safety checks a breeze.
Simply follow the image below to access your PDF copy now.
Feel free to also check out this guide provided by the Sutherland Shire Council.
Make sure to always check with your own local council too!