So, you’ve done your due diligence as a spa or pool owner; you registered your pool or spa, the safety inspection has taken place, and you have received a compliance safety certificate. The Council is satisfied, and you have met the requirements to help keep your family and friends protected.
But what if you’re considering changes to your pool barrier? Maybe you’re not sure if you need to go through the entire process again? Perhaps you’re wondering, ‘What to consider if I make changes to my barrier after I’ve registered my pool or spa?’
This article will look at key points when making changes to your pool space, pool barrier, and whether you need to re-register and apply for another safety certificate.
Registration and safety inspections
You only need to register a pool or spa once*, and safety certificates need to be renewed every four years in Victoria. However, if you make changes to your pool barrier within the four years between inspections, you may need a building permit and your safety certificate reissued.
During the four years between safety inspections, it is the occupier’s responsibility to ensure that the pool barrier is maintained and repaired where necessary to meet the current safety regulations.
What situations would result in changes to your pool barrier fence? The most common reasons for making changes to a pool barrier:
- Repairs – No permit required
- Renovations – A building permit may be required
- Upgrading – Building permit required
- Relocation of a pool or spa – Building permit required
- An additional barrier required – Building permit and safety inspection required
*A pool and spa that occupy the same area within a pool barrier can be registered together, under one registration. However, if your pool and spa occupy separate areas on different sides of a pool barrier or require completely separate pool barriers, they must be registered separately. An inspection and safety certificate is required for each pool barrier.
Over time it is normal for pool barriers to require maintenance and repair. This should not result in the need for a revised safety certificate as long as there are no significant changes and the pool barrier still meets current standards. However, if alterations are required, then a building permit may be required.
Renovations, upgrades and relocation
Major landscaping and renovations can result in a pool barrier being changed or replaced. Pool barriers are sometimes upgraded for a more aesthetic look, and making changes to your pool or spa location may result in the current barrier requiring alterations. A building permit will need to be submitted to the Council for all of these cases, demonstrating the specific plans for changes to the pool barrier. The building plans must meet the current standards as outlined in AS 1926.1.
Additional barrier required
If you add a pool or spa to the property, an additional barrier may need to be installed or the current one altered.
Suppose you have already registered a pool and spa, and renovations require an additional pool barrier to be built. In that case, you will need a safety inspection and certificate for the new barrier. Failing an inspection can add stress, time pressures, and risk of fines. It is wise to engage a safety consultant for a pre-compliance assessment to ensure that your pool barrier is ready for inspection.
Things to consider when you plan on making changes to your pool barrier
If you have an existing compliance certificate but plan to change the pool barrier for any reason, you must ensure that the new barrier meets the current safety regulations.
Points to note within the current standards:
- a pool barrier fence must be a minimum of 1200 mm high
- the barrier must be a permanent structure
- it must maintain a continuous non-claimable zone (NCZ)
- A boundary fence can also be used as a pool barrier; however, it needs to meet slightly different standards. Find out more about NCZ and boundary fences in our up-to-date article, so you don’t miss any critical requirements
- a pool barrier must also be free of hazardous elements such as sharp edges and projections
- Any gaps around, below, or between the barrier must not exceed 10cm
If you are also replacing the barrier gate, here are some key points to consider:
- a pool barrier gate must be installed to swing outward, away from the pool water
- the gate must be self-closing and self-latching.
- the latch cannot be able to lock in the open position
- No adjustments or alterations should be possible without the use of tools
Decommissioning a current pool or spa
If you remove an existing pool or spa and no longer require a pool barrier, you will be required to decommission it by notifying your council and providing evidence. Contact your council to find out more about their specific process of decommissioning a pool or spa.
Decommissioning a pool or spa essentially involves removing its ability to hold more than 30cm of water. You can achieve this by filling in the emptied space with solid layers or completely removing the structure and filling in the gap.
For inflatable or portable pools that hold more than 30cm of water, decommissioning involves completely dismantling the pool and removing it. Simply emptying the pool is not of water is not enough to consider it decommissioned.
To confirm, if you are considering making significant alterations to an existing pool barrier, completely replacing a pool barrier, or installing an additional barrier, you may need a building permit that meets current safety regulations.
During the four years between safety inspections, it is the responsibility of the property occupier to ensure the pool barrier meets current safety regulations. For tenants, this may involve engaging the landlord or real estate agent for any repairs required.
If you are unsure about the best approach for your situation, contact us for support.