Your legal obligations
Under the Building Regulations 2018, all swimming pools and spas built or approved before April 1991 must have suitable barriers to prevent unsupervised children entering the pool area.
If your pool was built after that date, you must comply with the requirements of the National Construction Code and a number of Australian Standards. There have been several amendments to the standard in recent years.
Further clarification on what regulation and Australian Standard to adopt can be found on the Victorian Building Authority’s swimming pools, spas and their safety barriers page.
Definition of a swimming pool
The definition of swimming pool includes:
- any excavation or structure containing water and used primarily for swimming, wading, paddling or the like, including a bathing or wading pool or spa
- in-ground and above-ground pools, spas, hot tubs, Jacuzzis, and indoor pools.
Bird baths, fish ponds, fountains and dams are not included and do not require a compliant safety barrier as they are exempt.
Barriers and gates
All pools should now have barriers, however you will need a building permit for any new or relocated pool fencing.
As of 1 July 2002, any door or gate to an area containing a pre-1991 pool or spa must have a self-closing device. This device must allow the gate to close by itself without any manual force. It must also be at least 1.5 metres above the ground or internal floor.
The above applies regardless of the level of compliance before any amendment to the Standard, including where we or any other adviser have agreed that the barrier complied.
Maintaining your pool barrier
Regardless of whether your pool is old or new, you must maintain your pool barrier to ensure it operates properly at all times.
- All parts of the barrier, such as hinges and self-closers, must work as intended.
- Don’t leave any objects near the barrier if they could reduce its effectiveness (this includes plants and objects on adjoining properties).
- Don’t leave doors or gates to the pool area open.
Does the council inspect pools and spas?
Yes, we conduct regular proactive and reactive inspections of pools spas, ensuring that you’re meeting your obligations for safety barriers.
Pool safety regulations have been in place for more than 10 years, there’s no excuse for not being aware of them.
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
If you fail to comply with regulations, you could receive a $332.40 on-the-spot fine. If the matter goes to court, you could be fined up to $8,059.50.
You should also be aware that land owners, tenants and even pool visitors are now responsible for complying with the regulations. For further information, contact us on 9524 3333.
For more information, visit the Victorian Building Authority's pools and spas page.