Pool & Spa Compliance
As property managers, we have a duty of care to our landlords, tenants, potential landlords and potential tenants to ensure that pools at rental properties adhere to the regulations. In Victoria, the design, construction and installation of swimming pools, spas and their safety barriers are subject to strict building requirements under Building Regulations 2018.
Home-owners who wish to have or already have a pool or spa must ensure that the barriers comply with the building regulations and have a legal obligation to ensure the barriers are maintained at all times. Non-compliance with these regulations can increase the risk of drowning and lead to prosecution.
The following is a breakdown of some pool and spa safety facts that home-owners may not be aware of:
Pools & spas holding 30cm+ of water must have a safety fence or barrier
Safety barriers must be a minimum of 1.2m high
Barrier gates must be self-closing, self-latching and should never be propped open
Outdoor pools & spas (built since 1 May 2010) must not have direct access to the pool area via a door from a building
Safety barriers should be clear from any object that children can use to climb into the pool or spa area
Inflatable pools holding 30cm+ of water require the same safety standards as all other pools & spas
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) have prepared a checklist which outlines the process for the installation of a swimming pool, or spa, and their mandatory safety barriers. Home owners, whether you are a landlord or occupy the home yourself, must comply with these legal requirements.
The checklist can be found here: http://www.vba.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/28293/Swimming-pools-spas-safety-barriers-checklist.pdf
The requirements will vary for each home-owner and the diagram below will help in ascertaining what your requirements are. Your local council is responsible for enforcing the Regulations and can issue on the spot fines for certain breaches.
A major issue for property managers is tenants purchasing and using inflatable pools, especially during the warmer months. Whilst the installation or construction of temporary or inflatable pools and spas does not require a building permit, they must still have appropriate safety barriers which do require a building permit. Without the permit, the safety barrier cannot be installed and therefore the pool cannot be safely used. If a tenant wants to have an inflatable pool, they must seek permission from their landlord or agent to have required safety barriers installed. If agreed to, a certificate of final inspection must be issued by the relevant building surveyor before use. Should the landlord not agree, it is in the tenant’s best interest to discontinue use of the pool or risk substantial fines, or worse. Temporary or inflatable pools and spas containing less than 30cm of water do not require a building permit or a safety barrier.
If you’re considering purchasing or have already purchased a property which has a pool or spa, it is highly recommended that you check with a private or local council building surveyor to ensure the safety barriers comply.
Finally, whilst taking the above precautions is important to protecting the safety of children and others, always ensure children are actively supervised around water.
Do you have questions about your pool or spa or need assistance arranging the required inspections? Feel free to contact Casey at Savoy Real Estate on 0418 677 370, she’ll be sure to help you out.
* The above information is general in nature and may not apply to your situation. The above information is in accordance with the current legislation as at the 11th of October, 2018.