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Pool fencing - making your boundary fence safe


One important aspect of a pool is having safe fencing. If you can use your existing boundary fence you can make significant savings over installing a new pool fence.

In our area, wooden paling fences are commonplace, with the palings overlapping. Our back fence has the palings on our side, and along our side fence we have the posts and rails.

We've started the lengthy process of trying to have our neighbour replace the back fence.  The landlord and agent aren't being too responsive so far. The plants they planted along the fence are pushing the palings off the fence.

To make a fence conform, in Victoria you should speak to your local Council and check out the Practice Notes on the website of the Victorian Building Authority. In our case, Kingston City Council has several online references. The amateur appearing in-house guide gives a good overview of all the options available to you to achieve compliant fencing. (As an aside I've twice telephoned the Victorian Building Authority and found them extremely pleasant and helpful. Just don't call at lunchtime on a weekday - they seem to be rostered to down tools for a set lunch-time each day.)

Since you have no control over what's on your neighbours side of the fence, the rules seem to be more about making it difficult for a small child to climb down your side of the fence to get to a pool. That means having no horizontal projections within certain areas that are more than 10mm wide, which might be used as toe and finger holds.

With 50mm wide railings on our fence, the two options for us are to put a 60 degree angled piece of timber along the top rail AND fill in the 12mm gap at every second paling, or to fix palings along the entire fence. With our posts being cut off at less than the full height of the fence, we also have to replace them or extend them back to the full height of the fence. Page 10 of the in-house guide on Council's website has diagrams showing each option for making them compliant.

The angled timber for the railings can be purchased from timber suppliers like Demak Outdoor Timber and Hardware in 2.7m lengths. However, it also leaves the need to fill the inconsistent gaps at every second paling.

If our side neighbours are agreeable, I'll probably buy new palings, and butt them together along the whole fence instead of overlapping them.  I'll also cut the tops of the posts flat and put a new section of post on top of each to extend them back to the full height of the fence. I'll also have to replace a split post. Then I'll paint the whole fence dark grey.

I found three suppliers of palings in our area - PY Fencing in Seaford, Masters in Keysborough and Bunnings in Mentone.  PY Fencing has a full price list on line, and charges $60 delivery. Both Masters and Bunnings only have one type of short paling online. Lucky for Bunnings, I went into their Mentone store and found they actually stock three different lengths and two widths. They charge $50 delivery and are cheaper per paling than PY Fencing. Masters is less convenient to get to - if I have a chance I may drop in there too. I really don't know why Masters and Bunnings don't have their full-range online - it is very frustrating.






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