Planning to design and construct a swimming pool on your premises? It is important to be cognisant of the stringent pool building requirements and Regulations in Victoria. These apply to the building of both pools and spas. As an owner, you have to take the initiative to ensure full compliance. Non-compliance will not only increase the risk of hefty fines and prosecutions but it also puts users at risk.
In Victoria and certainly in Melbourne, you have to meet the following requirements when it comes to swimming and spa construction.
Pool or Spa Safety Barriers
Every Victorian residential spa or pool that contains at least 30cm or more of water must be installed with a safety barrier or a fence. This requirement covers various kinds of pools and spas including the following:
- Indoor pools and spas on your premises.
- Inflatable pools and spas
- Wading and paddling pools
- Above-ground as well as in-ground pools and spas
The barrier or pool fence must be constructed by an owner builder or a registered builder. If you are an owner builder planning DIY pool fencing, then you have to get a certificate of consent from the Building Practitioners Board before you proceed with the construction.
The pool safety barriers must have a minimum height of 1.2m.
Additionally, the pool safety barrier or pool fence has to be approved by the relevant building authorities before it is constructed. To build a spa, a pool or even a barrier fence, you will have to obtain a building permit.
When submitting applications for your building permits, ensure you include the design of the pool safety barrier in the application. The designs that you will submit for approval must also satisfy the Australian Standard.
You can submit the applications for the pool or spa safety barriers or fences through to the municipal building surveyor in your local council.
Pool or Spa Gates
The pool or spa barrier gates should be self-closing. They should also be self-latching and must always be closed. The requirement is that the gate must never be propped open and the design should be one that closes and latches automatically. The gate design should be such that it swings outwards.
If you are constructing an outdoor pool or spa, the design should be one that does not provide direct access to the pool area through a door from the building.
Clear space around the safety barrier
Ensure that the area around the pool fence or safety barrier is clear. The pool fence should not be constructed close to objects such as barbecues, chairs or benches that are likely to be used by kids to climb into the pool area. It should also not be too close to trees.
Gaps in the pool fences
Watch out on the spaces or gaps in your fences. The gaps in the fences shouldn’t be more than 10cm wide. The bottom space between the pool and the ground also shouldn’t be more than 10cm. This safety requirement has been put in place to protect kids who might squeeze themselves in between the spaces and enter the pool.
The pool fencing or safety barrier must be well-maintained
Make that the pool fencing is maintained on a regular basis so that it serves its purpose of providing adequate safety. If you own the home, make plans to carry out the maintenance. If you are renting, notify your landlord in time about any damages or safety issues on the safety barriers.