The Victorian Government is proposing to make the registration, inspection and certification of swimming pools and spas mandatory across the state.

New requirements proposed by the Victorian Government require all swimming pools and spas in Victoria to be registered, inspected and certified on a regular basis.

These new requirements are designed to save the lives of young children.

Below are some important points to help explain the current requirements for pool barriers. Please note that the information below is not exhaustive and is a guide only.

Pool Fencing Laws

  • If a Victorian residential pool or spa has a depth of 30cm or more (300mm), it is required to be surrounded by safety barrier. This includes inflatable pools.
  • All pools and spas built after 2010 require a four sided barrier (isolation fence), with no direct access from the house or any other building to the pool or spa.
  • Safety barriers must be a minimum of 1.2 metres high.
  • Barrier gates must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • It is illegal to leave a pool or spa gate propped open.
  • Climbable objects such as pot plants, eskies, pool pumps and chairs must be moved away from the barrier.

Permits
A building permit is required before installing a new pool, spa, or barrier.
This permit needs to be issued by a registered building surveyor.
Building work must start within 12 months of the date that the building permit was issued.
During construction, if a new pool is filled with more than 30cm of water it must have a temporary safety barrier put around it.

Professional Inspections

Building surveyors (either municipal or private) are able to inspect your property and issue you with a certificate of compliance for your pool or spa, to demonstrate that it complies with Australian Standards and Building Regulations.

When you are choosing a company to undertake your inspection, ensure that they are registered with the Building Practitioners Board and have full Public Liability Insurance. Minimum Professional Indemnity Insurance in Australia is $1m.

Top 5 Tips 

  • Closely supervise children at all times around the pool/spa
  • Ensure that all gates and doors that lead to the pool area are self-closing AND self-latching
  • NEVER leave the pool gate propped open
  • Check the safety barrier for any gaps, holes or spaces that a child could try to get through
  • Keep climbable objects (BBQs. tree stumps, chairs etc.) away from the pool barrier

Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional death in children worldwide. Life Saving Victoria states that children under five years of age have the greatest overall risk of drowning, with the highest age-specific combined rate of fatal and non-fatal drowning.

Safety barriers surrounding pools and spas are the responsibility of the owner. These requirements are designed to help owners properly maintain these important barriers.

The new regime proposed by the Victorian Government includes:

  • a mandatory requirement for pool and spa owners to register their pools and spas with their municipal council
  • requirements on pool and spa owners to have their safety barriers inspected
  • processes for the certification of the compliance of a safety barrier following inspection or dealing with non-compliance
  • fees to register and lodge compliance and non-compliance certificates.

New regulations are expected to commence on 1 December 2019.

It never fails to amaze me what I see on my weekly inspections.  Pool gates propped open or step ladders and chairs left in easy reach of the barrier.  Although the Australian Standards excludes swimming pool and spas from Building Inspections I make comments on safety issues  and defects to these areas. Including broken locks on gates, cracked tiling and safety issues. Drowning happens quickly and silently. Always actively supervise your child around water.

Professional Inspections

Building surveyors (either municipal or private) are able to inspect your property and issue you with a certificate of compliance for your pool or spa, to demonstrate that it complies with Australian Standards and Building Regulations.

When you are choosing a company to undertake your inspection, ensure that they are registered with the Building Practitioners Board and have full Public Liability Insurance. Minimum Professional Indemnity Insurance in Australia is $1m.