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3 children in a pool

Swimming Pools and Spas

Enjoying the water is a great Australian pastime, and owning a pool or spa comes with strict safety responsibilities. It is important that you make water safety a priority at home.

Statistics show drowning or near drowning incidents in pools have not reduced across Australia. According to Life Saving Victoria, 40% of fatal drowning incidents of children (0-4 years) occur in home pools. This tragic fact is recognised in the Victorian Water Safety Strategy 2016 – 2020, where a reduction in drowning deaths of young children is one of the three areas noted as highest priority.

Keep your home and family safe by ensuring your safety barrier is properly installed, adequately maintained and fully compliant to Australian standards.

Why do I need a pool and spa barrier?

Pool and spa barriers saves lives. As a pool or spa owner, you are required to install a safety barrier and have it checked for compliance. Non-compliance of the safety barrier is the single biggest contributing factor to tragic drowning deaths of young children at home.

The most common issues of non-compliance of the safety barrier are:

  • faulty fence or gate
  • lack of fence
  • gate propped open

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

Are there any exemptions?

Temporarily erected children's paddling pools not capable of holding a depth of water of more than 30cm 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 which are not intended for swimming are not included in these regulations, and are exempt.

New safety standards for Swimming Pools and Spas

The Victorian Government has introduced new safety standards from 1 December 2019, in an effort to prevent drownings of young children in home pools by improving the maintenance process of safety barriers.

Under the new safety standards, all pool and spa owners are required to:

1. Register your pool or spa with Knox Council by 1 June 2020, and pay the lodgement fee of $79.00*. You can do this:

  • Online (register button below)
  • Or in person at Knox Civic Centre, 511 Burwood Hwy, Wantirna South VIC 3152.

*The lodgement fee includes the pool or spa registration fee of $31.80, and the information search fee of $47.20. The information search fee enables Council to conduct the required searches to determine the date of construction of your pool or spa which defines the applicable barrier standard.

2. Follow the mandatory certification regime:

  • Every 4 years, you are required to organise inspections by a private building inspector or surveyor, obtain a certificate of compliance and lodge it with Knox Council. There will be an applicable lodgement fee of $20.40.
  • After the initial registration, Knox Council will notify the date you need to lodge your first certificate of compliance. The lodgement date will depend when your pool and/or spa was constructed:
Category Number Date when pool and/or spa constructed Certificate of compliance lodgement date
1 On or before 30 June 1994 1 June 2021
2 On or after 1 July 1994, and before 1 May 2010 1 June 2022
3 On or after 1 May 2010 1 June 2023

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What happens if I do not register my pool and/or spa by 1 June 2020?

If you do not register your pool and/or spa by 1 June 2020, you will incur an on the spot fine of approximately $330. A maximum penalty of $1,652.20 applies for failure to register within the relevant timeframe, so we highly encourage you to register on time to avoid being fined.

I have special circumstances that prevented me from registering my pool and/or spa by 1 June 2020, what should I do?

It has been important for Knox Council to provide sufficient time for pool and spa owners to register with Council. Knox Council began informing residents about the new safety standards and compliance regime introduced by Victorian Government since November 2019. In December 2019, a letter will be mailed out to all pool and spa owners in Knox about the required registration process and compliance regime. Non-registration of a pool and spa by 1 June 2020 will incur a fine of approximately $330.

I have other queries about the new pool and spa safety standards, who should I contact?

The Victorian Building Authority can help you with your queries about the new pool and spa safety standards introduced by the Victorian Government.

I have other queries about Knox Council’s pool and spa registry, who should I contact?

Our Building Services team are available to help you with your queries.

Contact Building Services about a Pool or Spa

Victorian Pool Fence Legislation

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

  • Before July 1994 - must comply with Part 9A of the Building Regulations
  • From 1 July 1994 and before 1 May 2010 - must comply with AS1926.1-1993
  • After 1 May 2010 to April 2013 - must comply with AS1926.1-2007

Note: Pools that have been constructed from 1 May 2013 – Must comply with AS1926.1-2012.

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.


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.

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