Don’t drown in new rules

Owners are now required to obtain and lodge a compliance certificate for the safety of their pool or spa barriers.

On December 1, 2019, new laws to improve swimming pool and spa safety came into effect in Victoria putting more compliance onus on owners.

It is now mandatory for owners of 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.

Owners will need to engage a registered building surveyor or building inspector to carry out an inspection and issue the compliance certificate.

Once a pool or spa is registered, the local council will notify owners of the due date for the first certificate of compliance. Owners are required to arrange an inspection and lodge the certificate with their council by the due date.

Swimming Pool & Spa Association of Australia (SPASA) Victoria chief executive, Chris Samartzis, applauded the new legislation.

“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,” Mr Samartzis said.

Victorian backyard pool and spa owners have until June 1, 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 June 1, 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 June 1, 2020 must be registered within 30 days after issue of occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection.

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.