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Pool Safety Rules (Vic)

Victoria’s pool safety rules are contained in the Building Regulations 2018, made under the Building Act 1993. The laws mandate that all pools must be fenced and registered.

“Swimming pool” means “any excavation or structure (including a spa or relocatable structure) that is capable of containing water to a depth of greater than 300mm and that is principally used, or that is designed, manufactured or adapted to be principally used, for swimming, wading, paddling, bathing or similar activities”.

Barrier requirements

All swimming pools must have a compliant safety barrier that restricts access to the pool area by children aged under 5. The barrier can include wall of a building (with conditions), a fence and gate that meets prescribed standards, or a paling or imperforate fence that is at least 1.5m high and contains a gate that meets prescribed standards. The pool owner must take all reasonable steps to ensure the barrier is properly maintained and operating effectively. A maximum fine of 50 penalty units ($9087) applies for non-compliance.

Doors or gates

The door or gate must have a self-locking or self-latching device the prevents the closed gate from being opened by a person unable to reach the opening mechanism. The opening mechanism must be at least 1.5m from the ground. The door or gate must be fitted with a device that automatically closes the gate. The occupier of land on which the pool is located must ensure any gate or door remains closed except when a person is entering or leaving the pool, and any person who opens the gate or  door must ensure it closes behind them. A maximum fine of 50 penalty units ($9087) applies for non-compliance.

Pool and spa barrier compliance certificates

A swimming pool and spa inspector must issue a swimming pool and spa barrier compliance certificate if they are satisfied compliance requirements have been met.

The owner of land on which a swimming pool is located must lodge the certificate with the local council within 30 days of it being issued, or 14 days if the certificate relates to an alteration. A prescribed fee must be paid on lodgement or a fine of 10 penalty units ($1817.40) applies.

The council must acknowledge receipt of the certificate and advise that the next certificate is due in 4 years.

Non-compliant pools or spas

Under some circumstances, an inspector must immediately issue a certificate of non-compliance. These are when:

  • within 60 days of the inspection the barrier cannot be made compliant or the owner is unlikely to make it compliant;
  • the non-compliance poses a significant or immediate risk to life or safety;
  • the barrier is non-compliant because:
    • it has a gate or door that in the closed position can be opened by a person who is unable to reach the opening mechanism for the door or gate;
    • it has a gate or door that cannot be completely closed;
    • any part of the barrier is less than 1m high.

In other circumstances where the barrier is non-compliant, the inspector must give the land owner a notice which states why the barrier is not compliant and that it must be made compliant within 60 days, and the date for reinspection of the barrier.

Pool registration

The owner of land on which a swimming pool is located must ensure all prescribed pool information is entered on the local council’s swimming pool and spa register. The information includes:

  • the address where the pool or spa is located;
  • the name of the land owner;
  • the date the pool or spa was built;
  • the date of the most recent pool and spa barrier compliance certificate issued and the registration number of inspector who issued it;
  • whether any exemption has been granted;
  • date and permit numbers for any alteration, modification, replacement or renewal of the pool or spa.

The information must be provided to the registry or the local council. A maximum fine of 20 penalty units ($2200) applies for non-compliance.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Sally Crosswell

This article was written by Sally Crosswell

Sally Crosswell has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons), a Bachelor of Communication and a Master of International and Community Development. She also completed a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the College of Law. A former journalist, Sally has a keen interest in human rights law.

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