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Pool Inspections when Moving House

We're highlighting some of the key information in relation to the regulations if you are selling, renting, moving in or out of a home with a pool.

Pool Inspections when Moving House

Swimming pool regulations exist to prevent the drowning of young people in swimming pools, pool fencing rules prevent young children entering a pool area unsupervised. These are the most serious of regulations to adhere to if you are selling or renting a home with a pool.

These regulations can also vary from state to state, and council to council, so it is really important to understand the current condition of the pool and it’s fencing, and what you need to maintain or fix to adhere to the rules. Depending on the jurisdiction, you will need to prove that they meet these standards regularly by obtaining a Pool Safety Certificate, issued by a Pool Safety Inspector.

The team from New Home Building Inspetions (Melbourne) say it quite simply, higlighting - Pool safety is paramount to protecting a young child’s life.”

DO I NEED A POOL SAFETY INSPECTION?

There are many and varied factors involved in swimming pool safety in Australia depending on where you intend to move. If your pool is not up to standard you can face non-compliance notices, fines and worse, a child could drown in your pool.

A Pool Safety Inspector’s legal function is to inspect a pool to determine if it complies with the standards as determined by the governing entity. They are qualified to issue safety certificates and nonconformity notices if issues are not corrected within a designated time-frame. They may be private businesses or local government employees.

You may also choose to engage the services of a Pool Safety Inspector to consult with you about how to improve the safety of your pool. Some inspectors may also act as pool maintenance specialists whom you can engage to fix minor repairs such as latches. They are not allowed to perform repairs that are beyond their scope or may require the expertise of a pool builder or fencing specialist.

The team at Hills Pools in Sydney say "Swimming Pool Compliance can be horribly complicated. Choose someone with over 35 years industry experience. Get it right the first time with a simple FIXED price agreement".

If you are building a new pool, selling a property which has a pool or if you are planning to lease or rent a property with a pool you are obligated to get a pool safety certificate. In the case of renting, a safety inspection is required every time the property is leased to a new tenant.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO PAY FOR A SAFETY CERTIFICATE?

Ultimately, the full outlay to have a qualified licensed contractor to carry out a pool safety inspection will depend on the what your individual property circumstances are. Itemised below are a few typical services (@ 2020):

  • General inspection for a residential pool, including up to 2 gates (approx. $175 - $200)
  • A second inspection could be required if there are compliance issues to rectify after an initial inspection (approx. $120)
  • Cost of compliance certificate (approx. $30 - $35)

If the pool is very large, it may cost more to carry out the inspection, and if you have extra gates (approx. $25 extra). You may also need to pay for any extra installations you are told you need, such as compliance signage and even the inspector’s travel time.

Ask your chosen inspector if they offer free pre-inspection checklists so you can get ahead of the compliance process before they arrive, it can help you save on the cost of a second inspection.

We checked in with Robsons Pool Safety Inspections (Brisbane) and they also noted: 

“To save stress in the busy time of moving, organise your pool safety certificate before you put your house on the market. This will allow time if you have to repair any issues. Certificates last for 2 years for private pools, so need to worry about it expiring”

As always, it’s best to compare the costs of a few different local businesses to get the best deal for you.

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RULES THAT APPLY TO ALL SWIMMING POOLS IN AUSTRALIA

The primary goal of pool safety standards in all states, territories and councils throughout Australia is to prevent the drowning of small humans. All of these standards are based on some general principles that are common to all jurisdictions.

  • A fence around a swimming pool must be at least 1.2 metres high.
  • Property boundary fences but be at least 1.8 metres high.
  • There must be absolutely no means for a child to climb over a fence into a pool or spa area.
  • The allowable gap between the ground and the fence, as well as between fence posts must be less than 100 mm.
  • Installed gates must have a self-closing mechanism.
  • Installed gates must have latches that are out of the reach of children.

In some states, it is allowable for a spa to be secured with a “lid” but it must have a lock on it to prevent unsupervised access.

In short, the barrier must be completely childproof and generally it will need an inspection to ensure that it is childproof as it is the key to safety of residential swimming pools. Regardless of the pool being above-ground, inground or a spa, if the water level is more than 300mm deep (30 cm), a barrier must be around the pool. This also includes many of the larger inflatable or kiddy-pools. A pool cover is not sufficient to prevent drowning.

If you are renting, it is the owners’ responsibility to ensure there is a compliant barrier surrounding the pool, however you may need to maintain that barrier at times. If a swimming pool has any damage that impacts on its state of compliance, the owner is obliged to immediately repair the pool.

Children must always be supervised in pools.

SWIMMING POOL REGULATIONS IN SYDNEY (NEW SOUTH WALES)

In addition to the erection of a child proof barrier around the pool which completely inhibits a child from unsupervised access, if the pool is indoors the pool room must be completely lock sealed on the doors, and the windows. These rules also apply to spas and other pool types.

You must engage a Pool Safety Inspector to inspect the pool to ensure compliance with the regulations. Once it is inspected to the satisfaction of the safety standards, the inspector will issue a compliance certificate.

SWIMMING POOL REGULATIONS IN BRISBANE (QUEENSLAND)

In addition to the erection of a child proof barrier around the pool which completely inhibits a child from unsupervised access, if the fence is within 1.5 metres of a boundary, the fence must be 2 metres above ground level. If the pool is built adjacent to a retaining wall, it should also be 2 metres in height. 

You must engage a Pool Safety Inspector to inspect the pool to ensure compliance with the regulations. Once it is inspected to the satisfaction of the safety standards, the inspector will issue a compliance certificate.

SWIMMING POOL REGULATIONS IN MELBOURNE (VICTORIA)

In addition to the erection of a child proof barrier around the pool which completely inhibits a child from unsupervised access, in Victoria it is the new owner’s responsibility to ensure the pool barrier is in compliance. 

We reached out to Pools Safe Inspections Victoria and they have highlighted, 'Victorian Building Regulations Law now requires all Pool Spas to be inspected every 4 years."

You must engage a Pool Safety Inspector to inspect the pool to ensure compliance with the regulations. Once it is inspected to the satisfaction of the safety standards, the inspector will issue a compliance certificate.

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POOL SAFETY IS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF YOUR MOVING CHECKLIST

There is no doubt that owning a home with a swimming pool comes with extra perks, but likewise extra responsibilities to ensure that you and your loved ones are safe, as well as those in your neighbourhood. Factoring these responsibilities into your moving checklist is essential.

Once your pool is inspected and in the “all-clear”, you can be free to bomb-dive your way (safely) into a fun summer (or winter too if that’s your thing)!


Note - this information is a guide only and it is advised to always review your local, state or federal laws when it comes to pool safety or making a decision about your requirements for your pool.

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