Swimming pool bonding requirements

Conductive pools (concrete)

As per AS/NZS 3000:2018, clause 5.6.2.6.2, where the pool structure is conductive, (concrete pools are considered to be conductive) all conductive parts that are directly or indirectly in contact with the ground and that are within arm's reach (1.25 metres from the inside edge of the pool) are required to be bonded to earth. This includes the pool reinforcing metal.

Clause 5.6.2.6.4 states that any exposed conductive parts of electrical equipment in the pool zones (3.5 metres from the pool's edge) or electrical equipment in contact with the pool water also needs to be bonded.

As per clause 5.6.2.6.5 where any items in the clauses above are required to be bonded, the bonding shall extend to any conductive materials (other than those which are less than 100 mm in any direction) that are within arm's reach (1.25 metres). This may include conductive window frames that are in contact with earth either directly or indirectly, such as within a brick wall. 

In the case of a concrete pool, there is no question that everything conductive within arm’s reach of the pool's edge, that is in contact with the general mass of earth either directly or indirectly, needs to be bonded as well as the pool reinforcing metal. An exception is where the size of the metal is less than 100 mm in any direction. 

Non-conductive pools (fibreglass)

In the case of a fibreglass pool, clause 5.6.2.6.5 is clear that where there are exposed conductive parts of electrical equipment within the pool zone or exposed parts of electrical equipment in contact with the pool water, then bonding of conductive fixtures and fittings within arm’s reach of a fibre-glass pool is required. 

The question then is, within the pool zone (3.5 metres) is there:

  1. Exposed conductive parts of electrical equipment, or
  2. Exposed parts of electrical equipment in contact with the pool water?

The majority of pool pumps and motors are mostly enclosed in a plastic casing making point 1 irrelevant, but a metal light fitting such as a fluorescent light installed within the pool zones would necessitate bonding of all metal parts within arm's reach of the pool's edge.  

The second point, however, is a bit more complex where to be omitted there needs to be separation between the pool pump and the pool motor. A plastic coupling would achieve this.

In summary, concrete pools require bonding of everything conductive within arm’s reach (1.25m) of the pool's edge that are in contact with the general mass of earth including the reinforcing mesh, pool steel fencing, metal ladders and possibly aluminium windows in a brick or steel studded wall. 

A fibreglass pool only requires conductive fittings within arm’s reach of the pool's edge that are in contact with the general mass of earth to be bonded where either points 1 or 2 above are met and the exposed conductive parts of electrical equipment are installed within the pool zones (3.5 metres). If the exposed electrical equipment (motor or light fittings) are further than 3.5 metres from the fibreglass pool's edge, then no bonding of conductive parts is required.