On 1 December 2019, new Victorian laws were introduced to improve the safety of residential swimming pools and spas. These new laws made it compulsory for pool and spa owners to register their pool or spa with their local council. Our “about us” page on the website has a direct link to your council registration page. Furthermore, as part of the new laws, property owners are required to have their pool or spa barrier inspected and certified once every four years. If you are registering a spa be sure to describe it as permanent otherwise it will required to be certified every year instead of every 4 years.
The deadlines for pool inspections and certifications depend on when a pool or spa was installed:
- Pools & Spas built on or before 30 June 1994 need to be inspected and certified by 1 November
- Pools & Spas built between 1 July 1994 and 30 April 2010 need to be inspected and certified by
1 November 2022;
- Pools & Spas built between 1 May 2010 and 31 October 2020 need to be inspected and certified by
1 November 2023;
- Pools & Spas built after 1 November 2020 need to be inspected and certified within 30 days of an
occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection.
- Pools & Spas built without a barrier permit need to be inspected and certified by 1 November 2021;
Here are our 3 top tips for passing your pool inspection, first time round.
1) Conduct a self-assessment to check that your pool fencing meets Australian safety standards
All residential pools and spas in Victoria with a depth of greater than 30cm need to be fenced. This also applies to inflatable pools, if they can hold more than 30cm of water. By law, the pool or spa fencing need to comply with Australian safety standards, AS 1926.1.
There are slightly different safety requirements for pool barriers, depending on when your pool was built (see our self-assessment checklists on our website):
- Before 8 April 1991;
- Between 8 April 1991 and 30 April 2010; or
- After 30 April 2010.
As an example, if your outdoor pool was built after 30 April 2010, there must not be direct access to the pool area from the house.
However, there are also many common requirements, such as:
- Pool fencing must be built from strong materials, and be in good working condition. Pool
barriers should not have any damaged or missing palings that could leave a gap for a young
child to access the pool.
- Pool fencing must be at least 120cm high from the ground.
- There should not be a gap at the bottom bigger than 100mm from the ground, so that no child
can fit under the fence.
- There should not be any permanent or movable objects within 900mm of the pool barrier, that could be used to climb the barrier fencing.
- If there are boundary fences used as a side of the barrier, these must be at least 1800mm high and can be climbable form the approach side. But must be protected 900mm from the top of the barrier.
- Pool fencing must not have any handholds or footholds that can be used to climb into the pool area.
- Pool fencing should not be installed close to garden beds, trees, or other structures that could allow young children to climb into the pool area. Such structures reduce the effective height of the barrier fence.
- Pool gates must be outward opening – gates that open inwards are not allowed.
- Pool gates must never be propped open.
- Pool gates must also be self-closing and self-latching from all positions.
- But if your pool was built before 2007 your fence only has to be 1500mm high and doors can be allowed as part of the barrier.The barrier has to be clear on the approach side 1200mm instead of 900mm. The boundary fence cannot be climbable from the approach side.
There are 7 changes in the building act since 1986. There are self assessment checklist on our “about us” page on this website. Be sure to choose the correct year. If you are not confident to do a self-assessment, you should get our professional advice.
2) Fix any issues before your pool safety inspector arrives
If your pool does not meet the above safety requirements, make sure that you fix any issues before the pool safety inspector visits your property. Otherwise, you will likely be issued with a Form 24 certificate of non-compliance. This is not ideal because you will need a second visit from the pool safety inspector which will result in a second inspection fee.
Also the inspector can only allow you between 7 and 60 days to complete any repairs and if it is considered an emergency the council will be notified and fines or court action could result in extreme cases.
To help you avoid the cost and inconvenience of re-inspection, we offer a pre-compliance pool safety check, so that you can get tailored advice on what’s required before you arrange a pool safety inspection.
3) Only use qualified pool safety inspectors
According to the new Victorian pool safety laws, inspection and certification of your pool or spa must be conducted by a qualified pool safety inspector. Qualified pool safety inspectors must be either registered building inspectors or licensed building surveyors. This is to ensure that your pool safety inspection is conducted by a qualified professional.
A pool safety inspector will check that your pool fencing meets legal requirements, and issue you with a pool safety certificate. Generally speaking, your pool safety inspector should also provide you with a pool safety report that clearly documents their findings. If the pool safety inspector deems your barrier to be non-compliant, they will let you know what issues must be fixed.
Once you receive your pool safety certificate, don’t forget to lodge the certificate with your local council within 30 days. Contact your local council if you have any questions about how to lodge, and what fees are payable. By law, pool safety certification is required every four years, to ensure that standards continue to be
met. Your council will give you a written notice that confirms when the certificate is required. It is important that all property owners comply with the new safety laws, to avoid hefty fines. But more importantly, pool safety is paramount for preventing injuries and accidents to your loved ones.
For professional advice and assistance with safety and pool inspections, contact our friendly team today.