New Rules For Pools and Spas
Legislation has been introduced in NSW recently to make backyard swimming pools and spas safer for children.
The legislation includes pools and/or spas located in multi-occupancy developments such as strata property and community and neighbourhood schemes, and also applies to owners of corporations that own property containing a pool and/or spa.
If you currently own a swimming pool and/or spa, you are required to register it with your local council, which will charge you a fee of $10, or online at www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au
To register your pool and/or spa you will need to provide your name, address (of the pool and/or spa), contact details, type of pool and the approximate age of the pool. You will then need to complete a self-assessment checklist about the pool and/or spa.
Essentially, you are required to assess your own pool and/or spa and state that it complies with applicable standards. The standards that apply to your pool and/or spa will vary depending on when the pool was built and the type of property that you have, for example a waterfront property, small sized property (being less than 230 square metres) or a large property (over two hectares).
The standards primarily deal with fencing requirements and the owner's awareness of surrounding safety measures such as any structures near fencing that may enable a child to climb the fence.
If you are not confident of ensuring that your pool and/or spa complies with the relevant standards, you may arrange for your local council or an accredited certifier to inspect it and issue you with a Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate. Your local council will charge a maximum of $150 to inspect your pool. Any subsequent inspections will cost up to $100.
If you have not registered your pool and/or spa you should contact your local council or register online immediately to avoid a fine of $220 for failing to do so.
From 29 April this year local councils will be obliged to inspect pools and/or spas associated with tourist and visitor accommodation and multi-occupancy developments at three-year intervals.
If you are installing a swimming pool and/or spa, you should request that the company installing the pool provides a Compliance Certificate prior to making your final payment to the company.
From 29 April, pool and/or spa owners wishing to sell their property must apply and obtain a Compliance Certificate, which must then be attached to the contract for sale. Similarly owners who wish to lease their property must apply and obtain a Compliance Certificate and provide a copy to the tenant. Compliance Certificates are valid for three years.
Whilst the NSW Government provides the legislative framework to ensure a high standard of private pool barrier fencing, the ultimate responsibility for pool safety lies with pool owners to ensure that their barriers comply with the prescribed standard.
Similarly parents and carers are responsible for ensuring that children are adequately supervised around the pool at all times.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances