Pool & Spa Safety Changes


Published March 5, 2020
by Emily Story

New regulations could see non-compliant pool and spa owners being faced with costly fines


The Victorian Government recently implemented Part 9A into the Building Regulations 2018 (Vic) which mandates that all pool or spa owners (“an Owner”) must register their pool or spa with their local council. Additionally, pool and spa owners are now required to lodge a certificate of barrier compliance with their council every four years. Failure to comply with the regulations can result in fines.

What are the regulations?
  • All pools or spas capable of holding water of a depth of greater than 30cm are required to be registered with the local council.
  • This includes relocatable pools or spas that are capable of holding water of a depth of greater than 30cm.
  • An Owner must obtain a certificate of barrier compliance from a building surveyor or building inspector (pool safety) and lodge it with the local council.
  • Every four years an Owner must lodge a new certificate of barrier compliance with the local council.
  • The construction date of a pool or spa will determine which of the three current barrier safety regulations will apply:
    1. Before 8 April 1991.
    2. Between 8 April 1991 to 30 April 2010.
    3. After 30 April 2010.

Barriers
The Victorian Building Authority identifies that barriers are required for the following:
  • In ground and above ground pools and spas;
  • Indoor spas and pools;
  • Relocatable pools capable of holding water of a depth of greater than 30cm; and
  • Bathing and wading pools and spas capable of holding water of greater than 30cm.

The Victoria Building Authority identifies that barriers are not required for:
  • Inflatable pools that are not capable of holding water to a depth of greater than 30cm;
  • Dams;
  • Fish ponds;
  • Water fountains;
  • Bird baths; and
  • Baths and spas used for personal hygiene that are emptied after each use.

Deadlines for registration
In order to avoid incurring costly fines, an Owner must register the pool or spa by the below dates.

Permanent pools and spas:
  • If a pool or spa was constructed before 1 June 2020 – final date for registration is 30 days after the date of issue of the Occupancy Permit or Certificate of Final Inspection or 1 June 2020.
  • If construction of a pool or spa commenced before 1 June 2020 but is completed after 1 June 2020 – final date for registration is 30 days after the date of issue of the Occupancy Permit or Certificate of Final Inspection.
  • If a pool or spa is constructed after 1 June 2020 – final date for registration is 30 days after the date of issue of the Occupancy Permit or Certificate of Final Inspection for the pool or spa.

Relocatable pools and spas:
  • If erected before 1 June 2020 and remains erected for at least 3 consecutive days immediately before 1 June 2020 – final date for registration is 4 June 2020.
  • If erected on or after 1 June 2020 for 3 consecutive days – final date for registration is on the fourth day the pool is erected.

Steps that you need to take
  1. Contact the local council for information on how to register a pool or spa and the applicable fees.
  2. Register the pool or spa with the local council before the deadline.
  3. Engage a building surveyor or building inspector (pool safety) to inspect the pool or spa safety barrier.
  4. Obtain a certificate of barrier compliance, lodge it with the local council and pay the fee within the required time frames.
  5. Diarise to have the pool or spa barrier inspected every four years.

If you would like to discuss the above with us, then please feel free to contact Emily Story at Grindal Legal on +61 3 9110 3904.

Disclaimer: This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.


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