New QLD Pool Safety Regulations & Laws
Swimming in pools is a great Australian pastime and something that everyone should be able to enjoy. However, statistics show that the leading cause of death in Queensland children aged one to four years is drowning. There are many ways to keep your kids safe in the pool, first of all supervision is very important as is teaching kids to swim at a young age.
Recently, new pool safety laws have been introduced which will make pool fencing more effective and help keep pools a safe and fun place. These new laws affect both owners of existing pools and those building new pools.
Regulations for Existing Pools
Owners of existing pools have until the 30th of November 2015 to comply with the new QLD pool safety laws. They must comply before this time if they intend to sell or lease the property where the pool is. Changes include:
- Replacing the law with one pool safety standard, the Queensland Development Code Mandatory Part 3.4 instead of the 11 different pool safety standards which existed before.
- Pool safety laws that include indoor pools as well as pools associated with hotels, motels, caretaker residences, caravan parks, backpackers, hostels, mobile home parks and home stays.
- Phasing out self closing and self-latching doors that were used as pool barriers
- Pools must now display a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign by the Australian Resuscitation Council
- Portable pools and spas which are filled with over 300 millimetres or more of water must now be fenced (learn more about regulations for spas)
- Mandatory Local Government inspections in cases where there has been a reported immersion incident of a child under five years of age
Use the form to the right to book your pool safety inspection and get your pool certified before the deadline.
Regulations for New Pools
Building approval is required for all new swimming pools being built. Before the pool is filled to a depth of 300 millimetres or more the building certifier who approved the pool is to inspect and attest the pool safety barrier.
Compulsory follow-up inspections are required within six months if the new pool is being added on to an existing property and if the pool is being built alongside a new building a follow-up inspection needs to be scheduled within two years. If the building approval lapses earlier than the mandatory inspection time than the final inspection must be completed before it lapses.
For a maximum of the three months during the building of the pool, temporary fences that adhere to compliancy rules are permitted. The building certifier, who approved of the new pool application, must inspect the temporary and permanent fences.
Owners Selling or Leasing a Property with a Pool
If owners are considering selling or buying a property with a non-shared pool in the next five years a QLD pool safety certificate must first be acquired by a licensed pool safety inspector. If leasing the property the owner will present the certificate before entering into the lease. If the owner is selling the property the certificate must be presented before settlement or they can issue the buyer with a Form 36 Notice of No Pool Safety Certificate before entering into the contract of sale and before settlement. This form states that the buyer will have 90 days to obtain a safety certificate and that the new owner will cover all of the associated costs. The pool safety certificate for non-shared pools is valid for two years.
In regards to shared pools such as pools in hotels, motels and hostels there is a six month phase-in period before management need to obtain a pool safety certificate. However, if you have a shared pool like in a block of apartments there is a two year phase-in period for management to obtain a certificate. These shared pool safety certificates are valid for only one year.
Pool Safety Register:
Under the new laws, State-based pool safety registers have been created to contain a list of all regulated pools in that state. This register also will include all pools that currently hold pool safety certificates as well as a list of all licensed pool safety inspectors. Owners of pools must check the register to make sure that the pool has been registered and if it wasn't owners had until the 4th of November 2011 to rectify this. To see if your pool is registered visit the QLD Pool Safety Register.
A Note for Home Buyers...
Buyers need to be aware that when buying a property with a pool they will also take on the responsibility of putting appropriate fencing measures in place and getting a pool safety certificate within 90 days of settlement, which can sometimes cost you in excess of $10,000. Buyers should also consider the effect of a pool fence on the value of the property, as some homes can be devalued by an intrusive fence that spoils the visual aspect of the perceived value.
Ensure your pool safety barrier complies with the new laws:
- Make sure your self-closing and self-latching gates are in top order
- The pool safety barrier must measure 1200 millimetres from top to bottom
- Remove climbable objects located within 900 millimetres of the pool safety barrier
- All branches that a child could use to climb over the pool safety barrier must be trimmed back
- Security screens must be built on windows that open out to the pool area
Use the form above to book your pool safety inspection and get your pool certified before the deadline.