Pool and Spa Registration Requirement
Statistics from the Australian's National Drowning report confirms that swimming pools are the most common location for children aged between 0-4 year, backyard pool drownings. A large number of drowning deaths are a result of a faulty or non-compliant pool barrier or lack of supervision.
Each year, on average, four children lost their lives in pools and spas in Victoria. Therefore, the Victorian building regulatory regime made it a legal obligation for swimming pool and spa owners to ensure that pools and spas are properly maintained with an effective safety barrier around swimming pools and spas.
The new legislation requires, pool and spa owners to register their pool with local councils and get them inspected by a professional building practitioner every 4 years.
To register your pool and spa, you need to contact your local council and apply for registration. Once your application is received by the council, the authority will give you a notice specifying the date of construction of the swimming pool/spa, the applicable barrier standard and the date by which the certificate of pool and barrier compliance must be lodged with the council.
Pool and Spa Inspection in Melbourne and Metro Areas
Once your swimming pool or spa is registered, you will be required to obtain and lodge a compliance certificate for your safety barriers. You can contact our office to arrange an inspection by our registered practitioners and we will make ourselves available to inspect your pool barrier and assist you in the compliance process.
Our practice is providing the inspection services to ensure safety barriers are correctly installed, hazards are removed and compliant with the relevant Australian Standards is achieved.
Following our inspection, if we determine that your pool barrier is compliant with the relevant standard specified by the council, we will issue a certificate of the pool or spa barrier compliance ( Form 23 ), and then you can lodge the certificate with your local council.
If a pool barrier requires minor works, we follow the VBA guide, will highlight the relevant requirements in a report and give you additional time to address the issues before we can reinspect the barrier. However, if it causes imminent danger to life, we must issue a certificate of non-compliance.
Swimming Pool Safety Barrier Requirements
A building permit will be required if you are planning to build a swimming pool or safety barrier associated with a pool or spa in your property, then the barrier must comply with AS1926.1 -2012. Our registered building surveyors are empowered by the Victorian Building Act 1339 to issue building permits and to ensure the pool complies with the relevant requirements. Please CLICK HERE for more information.
If you already have a pool or spa, you have an obligation to maintain the operation of the safety barrier associated with your pool or spa. The following checklists will help you to have a better understanding of the standard relevant requirement associated with your pool and spa.
The owners are legally obliged to apply for inspection and lodgement of a certificate of pool barrier compliance within the following deadlines and failure to register swimming pool or spa within relevant timeframe can have penalty up to $1652.20.
Frequently asked questions
Can a boundary fence form part of a pool barrier?
For swimming pool or spa that was constructed before 8 April 1991, a paling or imperforate fence complies with the relevant requirements if it is at least 1·5 m in height measured above the ground level on the approach side.
Can I have a climbable object inside my pool against the fence?
All barriers with vertical openings 10-100mm in width require non climbable area of 900mm high by 300mm deep rectangular space on the inside of the barrier which is identified as NCZ 4.
Can you provide more examples of non climbable zones (NCZ)?
Can I use perforated material or mesh as part of my pool safety barrier?
Can a barrier have a surface projections and/or indentations?
For a barrier having random projections the following applies:
How can we build a fence on a slope or step surface?
The following pictures show you how to comply with the pool barrier requirements on a slope or a step surface areas:
Can gates swing towards a pool area?
No! Gates shall be installed so that they only swing outwars and away from the pool area.
What are the requirements for a location of the latch?
What are the requirements for a retaining wall that acts as a pool barrier?
The following pictures are highlighting some of the critical requirements for a retaining wall that forms part of a pool barrier.
What are the consequences if an owner chooses not to register their pool or spa?
If a pool or spa is not registered within the mandatory timeframe, the owner of the property that the pool or spa is located can face an on spot fine of $330 or a penalty up to $1652.20.
What should I do if my barrier is non compliant and requires major changes?
In most cases, if we find there is an issue with the barrier that causes no immediate risk, e.g. minor changes are required within less than 50% of the area of the barrier, we will issue a report and identify the issues and give you up to 60 days to address the matters and arrange for reinspection.
However, a building permit will be required to install a fence, if you have no safety barrier around your pool, or you will need to make significant changes. We have a registered building surveyor who can issue a building permit so you can install your pool barrier. Our fee for building permit starts from $660.