Legislation was passed through the Victorian Parliament in 2019, which increased safety measures for domestic pools and spas within the state. These legislative changes came into effect as of December 1st, 2019 and have significantly helped to reduce the number of pool-related accidents and deaths. In this article, we will answer the questions ‘What are the new spa and pool safety laws in Victoria’, discuss the legislative changes and how you can keep your pool or spa compliant.
The new compliance rules are contained within the Building Regulations 2018 (Vic). Under these regulations, there are four easy steps to ensure your fence is compliant.
Register your pool with local council
To ensure safety standards are always maintained for all domestic pools and spas, all pools and spas are required to be registered with your local council. Each council may have a slightly different process to complete this registration, so speak with your council to ensure that you are registered. Pool registration is a one-time event; however, there are steps you need to take often to keep your pool safe.
Registration is a little more than just lodging a form; there are safety checks that need to take place before you can achieve the final registration status. If your pool is still not registered, take steps today to complete this registration as soon as possible. Note that the deadline for registering your pool has now passed, so there are large fines if your pool is found to be unregistered.
There was an extension of this deadline during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown; however, this has now passed, and it is imperative that pools are registered as soon as possible.
When building a new pool, you are required to register it within 30 days of construction. In the event that you move into a property and you are unsure whether your pool is registered, contact your local council for further information.
Have your pool barrier checked for safety
Your pool or spa fence is an essential feature of your swimming area. Under legislation, all pools and spas deeper than 30cm must be fenced with a fully compliant barrier. These come in a range of styles, so for more information, speak to your local pool fencer.
To ensure your pool fence is fully compliant, you will need to engage a registered swimming pool inspector. These are specially trained inspectors, that understand all safety requirements for pools and pool barriers. During their inspection, they will carry out a range of checks to keep you and your family safe. These include measuring the height of your fence, checking the locking mechanisms and the furniture and landscapes surrounding your pool fence.
Take the time to speak with your pool fence inspector and learn more about the safety of your pool. These inspectors are at the forefront of knowledge concerning the latest safety standards and can easily apply their expertise to your pool fence. Note that there are varying safety standards, depending on the age of your pool. Your pool inspector will be able to advise you which safety standards are applicable; however, it is always a good idea to comply with the highest standards available.
When your safety inspector is satisfied with the standard of your pool and fence, they will issue a dated and signed compliance certificate. This inspection process needs to be completed every four years.
Rectify any issues
During your pool inspection, your inspector may provide you with a list of items that need to be rectified. It is common to have a few things that need to be fixed before your compliance certificate is issued.
Take the time to adjust these issues and have your pool inspector attend your property again to issue your certificate. It is important to rectify these issues and have your certificate issued as without this certificate your pool registration cannot be completed. If you choose not to register your pool, you risk large fines by your council.
Submit your certificate to your council
After your safety inspector has issued your compliance certificate, take a moment to submit it to your local council. Every council will have a different method of submission, so check your council’s website or call your council for further information. To ensure the entire community is kept safe, a compliance certificate needs to be issued and lodged with your local council every four years.
Note there are deadlines which need to be complied with concerning submissions of registrations and compliance certificates. The deadline for existing pools has now passed, so act quickly. Ensure your pool is registered as soon as possible. If you are building a new pool, registration must be complete, with certificate lodged with your local council, within 30 days of completion.
With these four easy steps, your pool will be compliant under the latest legislation and ready for use all year round. If you have any questions, speak to your local pool fencer, safety inspector or council, or visit https://www.vba.vic.gov.au/consumers/swimming-pools.