Have you registered your pool or spa?

On 1 December 2019 the Victorian Government introduced new swimming pool and spa safety laws. The new laws require mandatory registration of all private swimming pools and spas in our municipality. This must be done by property owners before the deadline of 1 November 2020.

 

Safety around swimming pools and spas

Children under the age of five are at highest risk of both fatal and non-fatal drownings in Victoria and on average four children die from drowning each year.

Swimming pools are also responsible for the largest number of non-fatal drownings in Victoria. Non-fatal drownings can result in mild to severe brain or other organ damage due to lack of oxygen.

To protect young children we encourage the active supervision of young children in and around swimming pools and spas at all times, in addition to the safety standards and regulations you must comply with.

Safety barrier standards and regulations

Swimming pool and spa owners are required by law to meet government standards and regulations.

Definition of a swimming pool or spa

A swimming pool or spa is any structure or excavation containing water and primarily used for swimming, wading, paddling or the like. This includes:

  • in-ground swimming pools
  • indoor swimming pools
  • above-ground swimming pools (including permanent and temporary swimming pools)
  • spas
  • swim spas
  • bathing and wading pools
  • jacuzzis and hot tubs

What are safety barriers?

Safety barriers are designed to help restrict unsupervised entry by young children to the swimming pool or spa area.
Provided they meet the requirements of the applicable safety standards, a safety barrier may consist of a:

  • fence (around the pool area)
  • boundary fence
  • wall
  • gate
  • screen
  • balustrade

And may include attachments such as:

  • doors
  • gates
  • windows
  • locks
  • latches
  • hinges
  • self-closing devices

When is a safety barrier required?

All swimming pools and spas capable of containing water to a depth of greater than 300mm (30cm) must have suitable child-resistant barriers.

Do I need a building permit?

A building permit is generally required for the construction of pools (including those above ground) and spas that are capable of containing a water to a depth of greater than 300mm. The permit must include details of the type and location of the barriers, fences, gates, doors, windows, latches, catches and self-closing devices etc.

A building permit is generally also required for installing and altering all swimming pool and spa safety fences and barriers including windows, doors and gates that provide access to a pool or spa area.

Please note: If your building inspector identifies that minor rectification work to your barrier is required, some exemptions to obtaining a building permit may apply. Your building inspector will be able to advise you further during the inspection.

More information is also available from the Victorian Building Authority’s website.

Maintenance and ongoing responsibilities of your pool or spa

After your pool or spa is completed and approved, maintenance of the swimming pool and safety barriers is the responsibility of the property owner. Safety barriers must be maintained in compliant working order at all times. New laws now require all swimming pools and spas to be registered with us and be certified as compliant throughout their lifetime.

Once swimming pool safety barriers have been installed in compliance with Australian Standard AS1926.1, it is imperative that property owners with swimming pools be aware of their obligations.

Swimming pool and spa owners have a legal obligation to ensure they maintain the effective operation of swimming pool and spa safety barriers. Gates and doors must remain closed except when entering the pool or spa.

The State Government has a zero tolerance approach to offending property owners and are committed to ensuring adequate water safety for young children. Significant penalties apply if a matter is brought before the court.