New Laws to Improve Swimming Pool and Spa Safety
On 1 December 2019, new laws to improve swimming pool and spa safety came into effect in Victoria.
As of 1 December 2019, it will be mandatory for owners of the land where a swimming pool or spa is located, to register their pool or spa with their relevant council. In addition, owners are now required to obtain and lodge a compliance certificate for the safety of their pool or spa barrier every four years.
As summer begins and Australia starts to heat up, the Victorian government has introduced stricter pool regulations aimed at reducing child drownings.
The new mandatory safety regulations will apply to anyone with a private pool or spa with more than 30cm of water – and they come into effect this weekend.
From December 1 2019, owners will be required to register anything that falls above this threshold with their local council.
The Government has stated that “The new regulations require owners to register private pools and spas with their local council including, all permanent pools and spas and most relocatable ones capable of holding water to a depth greater than 30cm. If the inspection finds the barrier is non-compliant, the owner has up to 60 days to bring it up to code – serious cases of non-compliance will be referred directly to the council for follow up actions.
Owners will need to engage a registered building surveyor or building inspector to carry out an inspection and issue the compliance certificate.
Reducing Swimming Pool Risk
These rules may seem demanding but they are for good reason. In the last 19 years, there have been 27 deaths. Having a non-compliant pool resulted in 20 of these fatalities.
Once a pool or spa is registered, the local council will notify owners of the due date for the first certificate of pool barrier compliance. Owners are required to arrange an inspection and lodge the certificate with their local council by the due date.
SPASA Victoria CEO, Chris Samartzis, applauds the Andrews Government for bringing in this new legislation that will ensure the safety of all Victorians.
“Backyard pool and spa owners can now relax and enjoy the fantastic lifestyle that comes with pool and spa ownership, knowing that their wonderful asset will now be safer than ever. This legislation will help focus attention on a critical component of pools and spas. The regulations allow for a low-cost environment to deal with mandatory barrier inspections and we applaud the state government for a well thought out piece of legislation.” says SPASA Victoria CEO, Chris Samartzis.
Registration of pools and spas
Victorian backyard pool and spa owners have until 1 June 2020 to register their pool or spa with their local council. The maximum fee that a council can charge is $31.84.
For pools and spas constructed prior to 1 June 2020 that have an unknown construction date, an information search fee may be charged, up to a maximum of $47.24.
Pools and spas constructed after 1 June 2020 must be registered within 30 days after issue of an occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection.
Inspection and lodgement of the certificate of barrier compliance for pools and spas
- For pools and spas constructed on or before 30 June 1994, a certificate of barrier compliance must be lodged by 1 June 2021
- For pools and spas constructed between 1 July 1994 and 1 May 2010, a certificate of barrier compliance must be lodged by 1 June 2022
- For pools and spas constructed between 1 May 2010 and 31 May 2020, a certificate of barrier compliance must be lodged by 1 June 2023
For pools and spas constructed on or after 1 June 2020, a certificate of barrier compliance is due within 30 days of an occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection. This certificate must accompany an application for registration. The next certificate of compliance is due four years after registration.
Hefty fines will apply for pool and spa owners who do not register their pool or spa.
The fee for lodging a certificate of pool and spa barrier compliance will be up to a maximum of $20.50, with certificates of compliance being required to be lodged once every four years.
Pool owners will have 60 days to bring their pools into compliance if an inspector identifies any non-compliant safety concerns.
These new regulations also introduce a new class of registered building inspector: Building Inspector (Pool Safety). This new class of building inspector will be limited to carrying out inspections and associated functions for the purposes of the new regulations only.
The state government introduced this new scheme after numerous coronial investigations found that un-maintained and non-compliant pool barriers had contributed to the deaths of children in backyard pools.
The Victorian Coroner recommended strengthened pool safety laws after investigating several drowning cases.
“As the peak body of the swimming pool and spa industry in Victoria, SPASA Victoria is delighted that these new safety measures will increase the enjoyment of pool and spa ownership for all Victorians”, said SPASA Victoria CEO, Chris Samartzis.
For more information visit www.vba.vic.gov.au/consumers/swimming-pools