A swimming pool can be a worthwhile investment to increase value of a house and for the whole family to enjoy. However, it may also have great safety risks if not properly managed. There’s no better way to stop mishaps before they occur than with prevention.
Complying with Swimming Pool act 2012 is required for every pool owner. You must obtain a certificate of compliance to ensure that your swimming pool is safe for use. Simple additions on your pool area can help create a safe and incident-free environment.
To make sure you can avoid penalty of having a non-compliant pool, we created this blog post that helps.
Swimming pool fencing compliance and safety requirements
Drowning is leading cause of deaths in New South Wales children aged between 1 and 4. Other than supervision of children and teaching them to swim, installing a pool fence can also keep your children safe. Thus, a new pool fence safety rules have been introduced. This affects both existing and new pool owners.
A new standard was introduced on year 2012 and pool owners had until 29 April 2016 to comply with the new pool safety laws. If a pool owner wants to sell or lease their property they should have a certificate of compliance or a certificate of non-compliance.
The key changes are:
- On or after 29 April 2016, all properties with a swimming pool that will be leased or sold should have a valid certificate of compliance, certificate of non-compliance or a relevant occupation certificate.
- A certificate of non-compliance will enable the seller to transfer the responsibility to get a certificate of compliance to the buyer.
- The buyer must fix the listed defects in the certificate of non-compliance and obtain a certificate of compliance. They will have 90 days to amend the faults starting from the date of settlement.
- A latest cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign adopted by the Australian Resuscitation Council must be displayed near the pool.
- Pool fences should be self-closing and must be installed with self-latching doors.
- Portable pools and spas that can be filled with more than 300 millimeters of water should also be fenced。
- Mandatory inspections by Local council Or private certifiers to prevent incidents of children under five in swimming pools.
- For more details refer to the NSW Government web site.
A pool compliance certificate is required when you sell, buy or lease a property with a pool. These certificates can be issued by a licensed pool safety certifier or your local council. It is valid for one year for a shared pool and two years for a non-shared pool.
Leasing a property
If a property with a pool will be leased, the property owner or body corporate is required to obtain a pool safety certificate before the lease is signed. Communal pool located in a unit complex is an example of a shared pool.
For any renewals or new leases that may happen in that period, there is no requirement for another pool compliance certificate. When the certificate is current/not expired, accommodation agreements and leases may be renewed.
Selling or purchasing a property
If an owner is selling their property, they must provide the purchaser with a certificate of compliance prior to the settlement. They can also issue the purchaser with a notice of non-compliance certificate. The buyer will have 90 days from the date of settlement to obtain a pool safety certificate.
A state-based pool register (NSW) has been developed under the new rules. This register contains a list of regulated pools in New South Wales. If the seller's pool registration certificate has been issued, it will show up on the pool registry website. House buyers can use this website to double check that the pool attached to the property they are buying has been registered.
To help ensure that your pool fence does comply, the following actions should be undertaken to improve the compliance and safety of your pool:
- Remove climbable objects such as ladders, trees, etc. if they stay within 900 millimeters of the pool safety fence.
- Trim down branches that a kid could use to climb over the pool barrier.
- Adjust, tighten or replace hinges on your gates to make sure the gate is self-closing.
- Make sure the pool fence is 1200 millimeters in height from bottom to top.
- If windows being are parts of the pool barrier, there should have locking devices in place or having secure screen that make them open less than 100mm.
To assist pool owners to find a pool safety inspector, the NSW State Government has listed here all the private certifiers who are authorised to issue swimming pool certificates of compliance or non-compliance. Pool compliance inspectors that are properly accredited to carry out inspections will hold a license.
All pool owners have responsibilities to ensure pool safety for the whole family. Owners who are unable to comply will get up fines up to $2,200. This also applies for owners who do not register their pools, and if the pool is found to be non-compliant, the fines of $5,000 will apply.
How to get pool certifications may seem to be confusing. If you don't equip yourself with the sufficient knowledge about it and no actions are to be taken, most probably you will get fine in the end.
If a pool owner doesn't try to be compliant with the latest pool regulation to prevent unwanted or unsupervised individuals from gaining access to the pool, if an accident ever occurs, the standard intentional tort and negligence rules would apply and it will be a Lose-Lose situation for everyone.
Therefore, it is important to get your swimming pool inspected by private certifier or council to ensure pool compliance and safety.