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Swimming pools and spas

For home safety, homeowners must register their pool or spa with Council and ensure all barriers are safe.

Keeping pools and spas safe

According to Life Saving Victoria, home pools are responsible for 40 per cent of drowning deaths in children under 4.

Of those accidental deaths, unsafe pool or spa safety barriers are the biggest factor.

The most common safety issues are:

  • faulty fences or gate
  • lack of fences
  • gates left propped open

It's your responsibility to make sure your safety barrier is properly installed, maintained and follows Australian standards. You can be fined if your pool or spa is unsafe.

Safety standards for pools and spas 

In 2019, the Victorian Government introduced new safety standards to stop young children from drowning in home pools. The standards ensure pool and spa safety barriers are regularly maintained and keep our families safe.

Under the new standards, homeowners must register all swimming pools or spas with Council. The pools or spas must also be protected by a compliant safety barrier. This applies to all residential swimming pools and spas with a depth of more than 30cm, such as:

  • bathing pools
  • wading pools
  • inflatable pools
  • above-ground pools
  • indoor pools
  • hot tubs and jacuzzis

Every 4 years, your safety barrier must also be inspected and certified. 

Exceptions to safety regulations

There are exceptions for domestic baths which are emptied after each use and children's paddling pools which:

  • have only been put up temporarily
  • cannot hold more than 30cm of water

However, children must always be supervised around water.

Birdbaths, fish ponds, fountains, dams that are not designed for swimming are not included in these regulations.

Ensuring your pool or spa is safe

There are 3 steps you must complete:

Step 1: Register your pool or spa

You must register your pool or spa with Knox City Council. There is a lodgement fee of $32.30.

An information search fee of $47.90 also applies if your pool or spa was constructed before 1 November 2020. Council uses this search to determine when your pool or spa was built. The construction date defines which safety barrier standards apply.

Register your pool or spa

The registration deadline was 1 November 2020 for existing pools and spas.

If you have not yet registered your pool or spa, we encourage you to apply to Council as soon as possible. If you have a pool or spa but do not register it, you may be fined up to $363. If you cannot register online, you can register in person at the Council offices.

Once registered, Council will write to you confirm:

  • the construction date of your pool or spa
  • the safety barrier standards you must meet
  • when to lodge your first Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Compliance with Council.
Step 2: Arrange an inspection

Every 4 years, you must arrange an inspection of your pool or spa barrier for safety and to make sure it follows Australian standards. 

Registered building inspectors or surveyors can inspect your safety barriers. Some inspectors and surveyors specialise in swimming pool or spa barriers.

If your barrier meets the safety standards, the inspector will approve your barrier and issue a Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Compliance.

If the safety barrier does not pass inspection

If your barrier does not meet the safety standards because of small problems, the inspector will advise you to fix these issues before getting it inspected again.

If these small problems are not fixed or the inspector finds major problems, they may give you a Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Non-compliance.

The inspector must give Council a copy of a Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Non-Compliance immediately.

Owners will also have to pay a fee of $390.80 to Council if the inspector issues a certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Non-Compliance.

Step 3: Lodge your Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Compliance

The date when you must lodge your Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Compliance depends on when the construction of the pool or spa started and finished.

However, once an inspector issues you a certificate, it's important you lodge it with Council within 30 days.

Deadline extension

On 19 October 2021, the Victorian Government announced they have extended the deadlines for lodging certificates of barrier compliance with local councils. This is because inspectors were limited in visiting homes during restrictions. 

Pool and spa owners now have an extra 7 months to lodge their certificates. 

All owners who had previous lodgement deadlines of either:

  • 1 November 2021
  • 1 November 2022
  • 1 November 2023

will automatically transfer over to the new lodgement dates. Council will notify you by mail.

Lodgement dates for existing pools and spas

Pool or spa construction date

Certificate of Compliance lodgement date

On or before 30 June 1994

1 June 2022

From 1 July 1994 – 30 April 2010

1 June 2023

From 1 May 2010 – 31 October 2020

1 June 2024

New pools and spas

For pools and spas constructed on or after 1 November 2020, you must lodge a Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Compliance within 30 days of the date of issue on the certificate.

Lodge Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Compliance

 

Fees

There is a lodgement fee of $20.70.

Certificate of compliance extension

If you need more time to submit a certificate of compliance, you can request an extension.

Reasonable cases for an extension of time may include:

  • you have booked an inspection and are waiting on the inspector
  • you have made arrangements to fix non-compliant issues as directed by an inspector

Request an extension

Note: pool or spa owners whose lodgement dates have changed due to the new deadlines do not have to apply for an extension. The new lodgement dates will automatically transfer.

Special circumstances

Registering your swimming pool or spa is an important safety measure. It is also the law for all pool and spa owners.

If something is stopping you from registering your pool or spa, call our Building Services team on 9298 8000. We can discuss your circumstances.

Unregistered pools and spas

If you do not apply to register your pool and/or spa you can incur an on the spot fine of $363.

A maximum penalty of $1,817 applies for failure to register within the relevant timeframe. We highly encourage you to register on time to avoid being fined.

What if I have removed my pool or spa?

You must tell us if your pool or spa was removed or is not used anymore.

Lodge a request to remove your pool or spa from Council’s register.

Lodging a certificate of non-compliance (inspectors only)

Inspectors registered for online services can lodge the Certificate of Non-Compliance online.

Building permits

Before you construct a new swimming pool or spa, you must get a building permit from a registered building surveyor.

During construction, a temporary safety barrier must be in place.

This barrier must be maintained at all times until the permanent barrier is installed.

You also need a building permit to make changes to an existing safety barrier, unless you're only doing maintenance (such as replacing a part like for like).

Victorian safety barrier legislation

The legislation for all new and existing swimming pool and spa safety barriers is determined by the date your swimming pool or spa is constructed.

Date of construction

Compliance requirement

Before 8 April 1991

Part 9A, Division 2 of the Building Regulations 2018

8 April 1991 – 31 October 1994

Australian Standard AS 1926.1 – 1986 Amendment 1

1 November 1994 – 30 April 2010

Australian Standard AS 1926.1 –1993

1 May 2010 – 30 April 2013

Australian Standard AS1926.1 – 2007

After 1 May 2013

Australian Standard AS1926.1 –2012

More information

You can find an overview of pool fencing laws and drowning prevention on Kid Safe Victoria's website. You can use this as a guide to assess your pool safety. However, it is not a guarantee that your pool or spa safety barrier is compliant.

You can also see: 

Need help?

Contact Building Services and we will get back to you.

Or call our Building Services team on 9298 8000.

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