Pool fencing safety regulations in Victoria are designed to keep your family safe. If your pool fencing does not adhere to regulatory requirements, you could risk endangering the lives and health of young children.
On 1 December 2019, new Victorian legislation came into effect to improve the safety of swimming pools and spas. These new laws introduce registration, inspection and certification requirements for property owners.
As part of the changes, property owners are required by law to register their pool and spa with their local council and have their safety fencing inspected and certified once every four years. The deadlines for inspection and pool safety certification depend on when your pool or spa was installed.
Here are our 3 top tips for meeting the new pool fencing regulations in Victoria:
1) Make sure your pool fencing meets safety requirements
To ensure that you and your loved ones can enjoy the pool without worrying about safety, your pool fencing should comply with the following requirements:
- Pool fencing must be built from strong materials, such as glass, steel, timber, mesh or vinyl. It must be in good working condition, with no missing, damaged, or loose palings that could leave a gap for a young child to access the pool area.
- Pool fencing must be at least 120cm high from the ground. There should not be a gap at the bottom bigger than 10cm from the ground, so that no child can climb under the fence.
- If there are any boundary fences used as a spa or pool safety barrier, these must be at least 180cm high.
- Pool fences must be free from handholds or footholds that can be used to climb into the pool area. This could include the bracing on a pool deck.
- Safety fences should not be installed close to garden beds, trees, or other structures that give young children a way to climb into the pool area. Such structures could reduce the effective height of the barrier fence.
- Similarly, objects that can be used to climb over the fence should be removed, such as BBQs, pot plants, chairs, tables, or step ladders. It’s amazing how ingenious little climbers can be!
- Pool gates must be outward opening – gates that open inwards are non-compliant. Gates must also be self-closing and self-latching from all positions. Be sure to check that the self-closing mechanism is working smoothly, that railings are secure, and hinges are tight.
- Windows that open directly into a pool area must be secured, and have childproof metal bars or security screens. Windows should not be able to be opened more than 10cm.
If your pool does not meet the above requirements, make sure that you fix any issues before arranging for a professional inspection and certification. Some requirements for pool fencing may differ depending on when your pool was built. For example, if your outdoor pool was built after 1 May 2010, there must not be direct access to the pool area from the house.
2) Register your pool or spa
The new laws stipulate that property owners must apply to their local councils by 1 June 2020 to register their existing pool or spa to comply with the latest regulations. The council will then inform owners of when they must organise the first inspection and certification of their pool barrier.
Check with your local council on how to register, and what fees are payable.
3) Organise an inspection and certification of your pool or spa
According to Victorian law, an inspection of your pool or spa must be conducted every 4 years. This is to give property owners peace of mind that the spa or pool fencing is up to professional standard.
From there, a pool safety inspector will check that your pool fencing meets legal requirements, and issue you with a pool safety certificate. If the pool safety inspector deems your barrier to be non-compliant, they will let you know what issues must be addressed to bring the barrier up to compliance.
To save you costly re-inspections, we can provide a pre-compliance pool fencing regulations consultation, so that you can get expert advice on what’s required to meet the latest Victoria regulations before you arrange for a pool safety compliance certificate.
Once you receive your safety certificate, you must then lodge the certificate with your local council within 30 days of receiving the certificate. 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 the date your first safety certificate was lodged, and when the next certificate is required to be lodged.
It is important that you comply with the new regulations in Victoria, because they will help you to keep your loved ones safe. Furthermore, if you don’t lodge a certificate by the due date, you will likely be fined.
Have a question or need some assistance with pool safety? Contact us here.