Pool Safety Laws (Qld)
Queensland’s pool safety laws took effect in 2010 and cover new and existing pools. The laws mandate that all pools must be fenced and registered. They are contained in the Building Act 1975 and administered by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).
A pool is a structure above or below ground used mainly for swimming, bathing, wading or paddling. Pool safety laws apply if the pool can hold water to a depth of 30cm, meaning they can apply to some portable pools and spas (if they a have filtration system)
The state’s pool safety register contains a list of regulated pools in Queensland, including pool safety certificates, as well as a list of all licensed pool inspectors.
Under the Act, a swimming pool must have a barrier that:
- is continuous for the full perimeter of the pool;
- is strong and rigid enough to withstand the impact of a person;
- restricts access for young children to the pool and immediate pool surrounds;
- does not incorporate a door providing access to of from a building (unless it is an indoor pool).
The barrier can include fencing as well as walls of a building that enclose a pool.
There are strict laws in relation to the barrier’s height, construction material, gates and “non-climbable zone” – the zone where it is not reasonably possible for a young child to gain access to the pool by climbing. “Climbable objects” must be placed at least 90cm away from the fence facing away from the pool, and there must be none within 30cm of the fence facing the pool.
Pool fencing must be at least 120cm high and the bottom of it no more than 10cm off the ground. Any fence rails must be no more than 1cm apart.
Gates must open outwards, away from the pool, and automatically close and latch. The latch must be on the inside of the gate, 15cm from the top of the fence, and not able to be operated by small children.
A CPR sign must be prominently displayed in the pool area.
Pool safety certificates
A pool safety certificate is required when a property is sold or leased. The process for obtaining a certificate depends on whether the property is being sold or leased. Non-compliance can lead to the issuing of an on-the spot fine of more than $2000 for an individual and more than $6000 for a company.
A property can be sold with or without a pool safety certificate. If the seller chooses not to provide a certificate with the sale, they must give the buyer a Form 36 – Notice of No Pool Safety Certificate prior to entering into a contract of sale and send a completed copy to the QBCC before settlement. The buyer must obtain a certificate within 90 days of settlement. It is important to note a Form 36 notice does not prevent a local council from taking action against a seller if a pool fence is non-compliant.
If the property is being leased, a pool safety certificate must be obtained by the property owner before a rental lease is offered to a prospective tenant.
A shared pool is one that is accessible to residents of 2 or more homes. They are typically found at unit complexes, hotels, backpacker hostels and caravan parks. A current pool safety certificate must be on display near the main entrance to the premises or the pool. Class 3 buildings, which include boarding houses, hostels and aged care homes, can use a pool safety management plan in place of a pool safety certificate. The plan must be approved by the QBCC and updated annually.
All new pools require a building approval, with the building certifier inspecting and certifying the pool’s fencing before the pool is filled to a depth of 30cm or more. If a final inspection has not been done, a mandatory follow-up inspection must be done within 6 months of the pool’s building approval (or 2 years if building approval is granted for a swimming pool and new building).
Compliant temporary fencing is allowed for up to 3 months during building of a pool. It will need to be inspected and certified by the building certifier.
A Final Inspection Certificate (Form 17) or Certificate of Classification issued by a building certifier can be used as a pool safety certificate. Either of these certificates replaces a pool safety certificate. For shared pools the certificate is valid for 1 year for shared pools and 2 years for non-shared pools.
If a pool does not pass the final inspection, the building certifier or licensed pool inspector must issue a Nonconformity Notice (Form 26) advising why the pool does not comply and what is needed for compliance.
For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.