Backyard cricket, barbeques, 40-degree summer heat and swimming pools are the epitome of Aussie lifestyle. As Australian swimming pool ownership increases each year, we’re clocking up to nearly 2.7 million Australians living in a house with a swimming pool, with more than 374,000 pool owners in NSW alone. That’s a lot of pool safety.
Pool Safety: who dis?
But let’s start at the beginning where the fascinating tale of Pool Safety stars 3 major characters:
- Pool (Property) Owners
- E1 Certifiers or Pool Safety Inspectors, and
- Local Authority
Local Authority. aka Council
The principal role of local authority is to act as the enforcer for government, including management of its area at a local level. Specifically, councils are concerned with matters close to our homes, from building regulations and development to public health, local roads and footpaths, parks and playing fields, libraries, local environmental issues, waste disposal, and many more community services. Council are particularly responsible for managing any risks associated with a property – from building and construction to pool safety.
Queensland’s pool safety laws were revised into one standard in 2015. In 2016 New South Wales’ laws were adjusted so residential properties with a swimming pool or spa pool needed a certificate of compliance for the pool barrier before the property could be leased or sold.
“I Have Come To Inspect Ze Pool”
The role of the Pool Safety Inspector – and authorised council officer – is to
- inspect pools, spas and barriers and
- lodge the inspection and details through their state register
NSW Swimming Pool Register
QLD Pool Safety Register.
The Superhero Property Owner
A Pool Owner is obligated to
- keep their pool surrounded with a child-resistant safety barrier, designed, constructed, installed and maintained to comply with Australian Standards, and
- restrict access to the pool by keeping the gate closed at all times
The Pool Safety Paperwork
A Pool Safety Certificate is needed when
- selling or leasing a property with a swimming pool or spa
- building a new swimming pool or spa on a property
- a new fence is being built around an existing swimming pool or spa
- a property is purchased with a pool or spa 90 days from settlement
- running a family day care, home care or at-home child care facility
- requested by your bank applying for or refinancing your home loan, or
- directed by council
For pool compliance to get pool-safe, a Pool Owner must
- register their pool through their state pool register
- appoint and enter into a contract with their chosen certifier – be it council or private
- pay fees before certification work is carried out
So What Is The Council Pool Safety Inspection Program?
NSW local council initiated the Swimming Pool Safety Inspection Program encouraging pool owners to be pool compliant.
This means councils have decided pools can be inspected under the following circumstances:
- Where the inspection is compulsory because of the property type – be it multi-occupancy such as strata, or tourist and visitor accommodation, such as hotels
- As part of a local council’s adopted inspection program
- At your request, for example, prior to the sale or lease of your property
For Cases 1 and 2, council contacts the property owner by direct mail.
For Case 3, the property owner can contact an E1 private or council certifier for a pool safety inspection.
Really, council wants to be reassured the risk of the non-compliant pool, spa and barriers are being managed, and who is managing the risk of the non-compliant pool, spa and barrier through the sale of property – whether it’s the seller or purchaser. If your pool, spa and barriers are not compliant, by law, 6 weeks after your first inspection, council must be notified.
As a result of the Council Pool Safety Inspection Program, pool safety has become much more of an issue – not just to the property owner, but to their tenants (if leasing) and the community. And with so many pools to inspect, E1 certifiers – both private and council – have quite the job ahead of them.
Got A Letter From Council? Here’s What Happens Next
As part of the local council’s adopted inspection program, council can reach out to pool owners by mail with a Pool Safety Order Reminder for directions their pool, spa and barriers must be inspected for compliance.
If you receive a direction in the mail from your local authority, council notes you can use any E1 Certifier – be it council or private. So here’s what you can do:
- Contact your local Pool Safety Inspector – like us! – to book in an inspection within the next 48 business hours – or even a same day inspection if you’re lucky.
- Read through our DIY Pool Safety Evaluation with the Ultimate PoolSS Safety Checklist.
TIPS: Look out for
- trees and vegetation in climbable zones
- fences must be 1800mm high, no more than 100mm gaps in between and under fences
- gates not self-closing
- CPR signs
The Pool Safety Solutions Free Online Resource has handy reading material for the
• NCZ Non-Climbable Zone
• Ultimate Guide To NSW Pool Fences & Barriers
• Pool Gate Latch Safety, and
• CPR Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Signage
- Pool inspection takes place
- Pool Safety Inspector lodges the inspection through the NSW Pool Register and takes care of all the council details for you
- Providing everything is compliant, certificate is issued – perhaps even on the same-day if you’re lucky
- If you are not compliant, your Pool Safety Inspector emails you a detailed report including photos with descriptions and explanations on rectification
But most importantly, don’t stress. You are the property owner and have your rights – particularly when it comes to allowing anyone/someone to enter your property. No one can bully or intimidate you into entering your property. No one. Ever.
Your NSW certificate of non-compliance is valid for 12 months, allowing you the time to repair any rectifications. In Queensland, a pool safety certificate needs to be renewed each year.
If council contact you during these 12 months, you simply have to reassure them the rectification works are underway, and once completed, your friendly private pool inspector – like us! – will be issuing the certificate of compliance.
Council just want to be reassured your pool, spa and barriers aren’t being left non-compliant and a risk to public safety. And we can do that by keeping them informed when they enquire.
It’s all about keeping pool safety simple.
Do You Have Council Pool Safety Questions?
Need Pool Safety Help?
Pool Safety Solutions brings you peace of mind to the safety of your pool, spa and barriers and works to getting you compliant as soon as possible to NSW Government Standards.
We help you reach compliance with
- free expert advice and guidance breaking down the legal talk into into normal speak, and
- a detailed report including photos with descriptions and explanations on rectifications