On 1 December 2019, laws to improve pool and spa safety came into effect in Victoria. New registration, inspection and certificate requirements are now imposed on property which has a pool and spa.
The new laws apply to swimming pools and spas that are capable of holding more than 300 mm (30 cm) of water. This includes permanent pools, above ground pools, indoor poos, hot tubs, bathing or wading pools and some relocatable pools.
What are the new requirements?
You will be required to obtain a building permit before installing a pool, spa or safety barrier unless the works are classified as exempt.
Under the Building Amendment (Swimming Pool and Spa) Regulations 2019 all owners are now required to :
a. Register the pool with their local council by 1 November 2020;
b. Organise an inspection of the pool barrier by a registered swimming pool inspector;
c. Rectify any issues identified by the pool inspector; and
d. Submit a certificate of compliance to the local council by the due date.
What are the barrier requirements?
Complaint barriers are now a requirement to restrict access to the pool by young children. This includes the requirement that the safety barrier:
a. Is constructed by a registered builder who has the correct certification;
b. Has a self-latching and self- closing pool gate; and
c. Are complaint with AS1926.1-2012
Property owners are responsible for making sure pool barriers are maintained, repaired and are in working order.
If a pool inspector determines that the safety barrier is non compliant, they can either:
a. Issue a certificate of barrier non-compliance;
b. Issue a written notice specifying: the matter to be addressed to bring the pool barrier to compliance, the period in which the barrier must be compliant (maximum 60 days) and the date and time the intend to conduct a reinspection.
A certificate of barrier non-compliance will be lodged with the relevant council. The council building surveyor will the issue either:
a. A barrier improvement notice; or
b. A notice or order under the Building Act 1993.
Fees and penalties are applicable to barrier improvement notices.
What about existing pools and spas?
As an owner of an existing pool or spa, you have an obligation to maintain the operation of the pool and spa barrier to prevent access.
Below you can find checklists, courtesy of the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), to help asses the safety of your barriers:
- Checklist 1 (for pools and spas installed before 8 April 1991);
- Checklist 2 (for pools and spas installed between 8 April 1991 and 30 April 2010); and
- Checklist 3 (for pools and spas installed from 1 May 2010);
For all further questions and inquiries on swimming pool and spa obligations contact our office on (03) 8590 8370.
This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.
Last updated: 14 October 2020 Article by: Katarina Perkovic