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Swimming Pools and Spas

Enjoying the water is a great Australian pastime, but owning or building a pool comes with strict safety responsibilities.

Statistics show drowning or near drowning incidents in pools have not reduced across Australia. Keep your home and family safe by ensuring your barrier is properly installed, fully compliant to Australian standards and adequately maintained.

Why do I need a pool fence?

All swimming pools and spas on residential properties in Victoria with a depth greater than 30cm are required to be surrounded by a pool safety barrier. This includes bathing, wading, inflatable, above-ground, indoor pools, hot tubs and jacuzzis capable of holding more than 30cm of water.

According to the most recent Royal Life Saving National Report, for every fatal drowning of a child under 5 years in either a swimming pool or spa, there were also 4.3 Non-fatal incidents. A non-fatal incident can result in a lifelong injury.

Adequately fencing off your pool or spa is an essential part of safeguarding children. It’s the responsibility of all owners and occupiers of a property to maintain all parts of a pool safety barrier and to ensure that the barrier is operating effectively all-year-round.

Are there any exemptions?

Temporarily erected children's paddling pools not capable of holding a depth of water of more than 30 cm and domestic baths, which are emptied after each use, are exempt. However, strict supervision should be shown at all times where water and children are concerned.

Bird baths, fish ponds, fountains, dams and the like are not included in these regulations and are exempt.

Victorian Pool Fence Legislation

Current legislation for all new and existing pool safety barriers are determined by the date your pool is constructed:

  • Before 8 April 1991 - must comply with Building Regulation 5.13
  • Between 8 April 1991 to 30 April 2010 - must comply with AS1926.1-1993
  • After 30 April 2010 - must comply with AS1926.1-2007

Penalties may apply for noncompliance.

Victorian Pool Safety Barrier Legislation in the future

The Victorian State Government have indicated that a change in legislation may affect all Swimming and Spa pools constructed prior to 30 April 2010. This change may require an additional barrier to restrict direct access to a pool area and from a building (e.g. House or Garage, pool house or a shed).

Building Permits for Pools and Barriers

Before constructing a swimming or spa pool, a registered Building Surveyor must issue a Building Permit. A Building Permit is also required for any alterations to an existing safety barrier.

If undertaking maintenance to an existing safety barrier (eg: replacing like for like) a Building Permit is not required.

During construction, a temporary safety barrier must be in place and maintained at all times until the permanent barrier is installed.

Council Pool Audits

There are currently approximately 5,000 pools and spas in Knox.
Council proactively inspects around 100 pools and spas per year to assist owners with making sure their pool and spa safety barriers are compliant.

The owner of a property may submit an online application to Council to request an inspection of the pool or spa safety barrier. To lodge this request you must provide your “Assessment Number” located on the front of your rates notice.

Please be aware that Council will issue an Building Order on the owner of the property to carry out works if the safety barrier is deemed to be non-compliant. Normally this Order will allow 30 days to complete the works. We will make every effort to provide clear advice and direction to achieve a compliant safety barrier.

Request a Pool Audit

Resources

Download the home pool safety checklist from Kid Safe Victoria - Kid Safe Victoria

The above checklist is a guide only for property owners to self-assess pool safety and does not guarantee a compliant safety barrier.

For more information

Knox City Council
City Development – Building Services
511 Burwood Highway,
Wantirna South VIC 3152

Tel: 9298 8125
Fax: 9801 0389

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