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Swimming pools and spas

Pool and spa owners have serious safety responsibilities.

Safety barriers must be properly installed, maintained and comply with Australian standards.

Keeping pools and spas safe

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

Of those accidental deaths, non-compliant pool or spa safety barriers are the biggest factor.

The most common causes of non-compliance are:

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

It's your responsibility to make sure your safety barrier is properly installed, maintained and compliant with Australian standards.

Safety standards for pools and spas

In 2019, the Victorian Government introduced new safety standards to stop prevent young children from drowning in home pools.

The goal of these standards is to keep pool and spa safety barriers maintained.

Under the new standards, your swimming pool or spa must be registered with Council.

Under the new standards, all swimming pools and spas on Victorian residential properties, with a depth of more than 30cm must be registered. You can be fined if it isn't.

This includes:

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

They must also be protected by a compliant safety barrier. Your safety barrier must also be inspected and certified every four years.

It's your responsibility to make sure your safety barrier is properly installed, maintained and compliant with Australian standards.

Exceptions to 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
  • can't hold more than 30cm of water.

However, children must always be supervised around water.

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

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.

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 $330.40.

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.

Compliance with safety regulations

There are three steps to complete:

Step 1: Register your pool or spa

You must register with Knox City Council. There is a lodgement fee of $31.80.

An information search fee of $47.20 also applies if your pool or spa was constructed before 1 November 2020. This search enables Council to determine the date of construction of your pool or spa which defines the applicable safety barrier standard.

Register your pool or spa

If you can't 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.

If your pool or spa was removed or is not used any more, you must tell us.

Step 2: Arrange an inspection

Every four years, you must arrange an inspection of your pool or spa barrier.

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

This is to make sure it still meets the relevant safety standard.

Some inspectors and surveyors specialise in swimming pool or spa barriers.

The inspector may approve your barrier straight away. If your barrier is approved you will be issued with a Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Compliance.

Or, the inspector may report small problems meaning your barrier does not comply with the standard.

These problems must be fixed and 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 o $385.10 to Council if the inspector issues a certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Non-Compliance.

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

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

The inspector gives you a Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Compliance when they are sure your barrier complies with the standard.

You must lodge this Certificate with Council within 30 days of the date on the Certificate. There is a lodgement fee of $20.40.

The deadlines for lodging a Certificate of Compliance are:

Pool or spa construction date

Certificate of Compliance lodgement date

On or before 30 June 1994

1 November 2021

From 1 July 1994 – 30 April 2010

1 November 2022

From 1 May 2010 – 31 October 2020

1 November 2023

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 performing maintenance on an existing safety barrier (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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