NSW Council Pool Safety Inspection Program FAQs

 

 

Have You Received A Letter From Council?

All Your Questions Answered, Right Here

NSW Council FAQs

I thought only council could do pool inspections and issue pool safety certificates?

Nope! Private E1 Certifiers can do pool, spa and barrier inspections and issue pool safety certificates too. Even if you are directed by the Local Authority – aka Council – to get a Pool Certificate of Compliance, private certifiers – like us here at Pool Safety Solutions – can still help you. 

What is the difference between council and private E1 certifier?

NSW Council and private E1 Certifiers are bound by Fair Trading NSW Government to lodge the inspection and details through the NSW Swimming Pool Register. Council and private certifiers essentially offer the same service, but at different levels:

Local Authority Private E1 Certifiers
are cheaper, but take longer may charge more, but as a private business, are driven to provide excellent service and a more efficient outcome (or they won’t be in business for very long)
are under no obligation to provide any service, help you or relieve any stress or intimidation you may feel are obligated to help you with excellent service, direction and advice where referrals, reviews and testimonials are bloodlines to small business success
  wade through the bureaucracy on your behalf for the most efficient and cost effective outcome
  assists you with all aspects of your inspection and takes care of all the details for you
are not necessarily easy to contact or will contact you at their leisure and not at your convenience are only a phone call or email away for your questions
can supply handwritten reports with little detail use the top-of-the-line digital systems for a detailed report including photos with descriptions and explanations on rectifications
are in the role of finding problems and can not offer solutions, as that is not part of their role driven to arm you with information and details to help you reach compliance
are renown for being booked 3 – 6 weeks in advance offer Same Day Certificates and can reach you within the week, or sooner
notorious for finding problems outside of the pool and spa areas and barriers specialist focus on Pool Safety only
are wandering into unchartered waters by interpreting the laws through “Best Practice” have a thorough interpretation and explanation of state government pool safety following approved E1 Training Courses taking a certifier through their paces in NSW rules, regulations, acts and standards
  offer all the expertise and abilities to translate these often confusing intricate details into everyday speak to the customer
are council, and council means red tape are not council
   

Pool Safety Solutions works to get you compliant and help you reach compliance with

  • a Half Price First Inspection
  • a detailed report including photos with descriptions and explanations on rectifications so you’re clear on the laws, act, standards and regulations 
What's this 6-Week thing with council?

By law, 6 weeks after the first inspection, if your pool, spa or barriers are not compliant, council must be notified. Pool Safety Solutions keeps you informed and updated along the way to remind you of this. 

Does this mean I need to stress?

No need for stress at all. Your certificate of non-compliance is valid for 12 months. Council simply want to be reassured the risk of your non-compliant pool, spa and barriers are being managed, and who is managing the risk of your non-compliant pool, spa and barriers through the sale of the property – be it the seller or purchaser.

Why do we have to let council know?

It’s the law. Council wants to be reassured the property isn’t being left non-compliant and posing a risk to public safety.

Can we keep it a secret? Do you really have to tell them?

Yes. It’s the law.

What happens if I receive a letter from council?

If you receive a direction in the mail from Council, Council notes you can use any inspector or certifier – not just council. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Contact your local Pool Safety Inspector to book in an inspection within the next 48 business hours – or even a same day inspection if you’re lucky.
  2. Read through the NSW Compliance Checklist to prepare for any potential areas of non-compliance. Or make it easy for yourself with our DIY Pool Safety Evaluation: the Ultimate PoolSS Safety Checklist.

    TIPS: Look out for gates that are not self-closing, trees and vegetation in climbable zones, fences not the correct height, gaps in between and under fences and lack of CPR signs.

    The Pool Safety Solutions Free Online Resource has handy reading material for
    NCZ Non-Climbable Zone

    Ultimate Guide To NSW Pool Fences & Barriers
    Pool Gate Latch Safety, and
    CPR Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Signage

     

  3. Pool Inspection takes place
  4. Inspection results are lodged through the NSW Pool Register, taking care of all the council details for you
  5. Providing everything is compliant, certificate is issued – perhaps even on the same-day if you’re lucky
  6. If you are not compliant, your Pool Safety Inspector emails you a detailed report including photos with descriptions and explanations on rectifications.

 

Can we still continue to use PoolSS if we receive a letter from council?

Absolutely. If you receive a direction in the mail from Council, Council notes you can use any inspector or certifier, so you can certainly engage Pool Safety Solutions’ services.

What happens if council contacts me?

If you are still working on rectifications, you can respond to council informing them rectification works are underway but taking a little longer than expected. Then once completed, your private E1 Certifier will return to issue a certificate of compliance.

If my pool, spa and barriers are not compliant, how long do I have until council contacts me?

Your certificate of non-compliance is valid for 12 months from your first inspection date.

By law, 6 weeks after your inspection and you are non-compliant, we must notify council. The reason for this is council simply want to be reassured the risk of your non-compliant pool, spa and barriers are being managed, and who is managing the risk of your non-compliant pool, spa and barriers. 

My question isn't here!

Not to worry. If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Contact Us where our friendly team are available by email or phone. Pool Safety is a community responsibility, and we bring you peace of mind to the safety of your pool and spa. Pool Safety Solutions are a trusted company offering expert knowledge, advice, direction and service with a commitment to pool safety – and proud of it.

Essential Reading

Fundamental local authority educational information on pool safety.

The Ultimate Online Pool Safety Resource

All The Free Stuff

General FAQs

What is a pool?

NSW Fair Trading defines a pool >here as any excavation, structure or vessel including swimming pools and spa pools that are

  • capable of being filled with water to a depth greater than 30cm, and
  • used, designed, manufactured or adapted for swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity

 

The QBCC Queensland Building & Construction Commission classes a swimming pool or spa >here as 

  • an above or below ground structure capable of holding 300mm of water or more, and
  • primarily used for swimming or bathing. 

 

Swimming pools include concrete pools, fibreglass pools, inflatable pools, temporary pools, wading pools, above ground pools and spa pools. A spa pool is classified as a swimming pool but includes any excavation, structure, or vessel in the nature of a spa pool, flotation tank, tub - though not a spa bath.

Essentially, a swimming pool, swimming pool spa, swimming bath, wading pool or paddling pool is designed as a structure to hold water for swimming and other water activities while adding value and lifestyle benefits to a property.

 

What are the reasons for child drownings in residential pools?

When it comes to child drownings in swimming pools, prevention is the best solution.

Statistics show the top reasons for children drowning in private pools are

  • Lack of adult supervision
    Children are reportedly unsupervised for 10 minutes or less when disaster strikes
    The guaranteed way to maintain child safety around water is through constant adult supervision

  • Defective pool barriers
    Keep a high maintenance standard for all pool fences and barriers to keep curious unsupervised little ones safe

  • Lack of child resistant pool barriers
    It is only recently local councils and state governing bodies have legislated pools were built with fencing. As rules, regulations and standards have improved and tightened for pools and pool owners, the number of openly accessible pools has decreased, though child drownings still continue.
But there are no young children in my family?

It is every swimming pool and spa owner's legal duty of care and responsibility to prevent any neighbouring or local children from hurting themselves in your swimming pool or spa.

What is pool safety compliance?

Statistics show the majority of drownings in private swimming pools occurred with children aged 0-4 years, with inadequate pool fencing a major factor contributing to these drownings.

The ultimate goal for pool compliance is to prevent these drownings while specifically focusing on pool fence and barriers.

Pool compliance means your pool meets the legal pool safety requirements for your state for

  • height and strength of barriers
  • non-climbable zones
  • gates and their latching requirements,
  • preventing direct access from a building into a pool area, and
  • adequate signage

The prevention of child drownings with pool and spa safety and compliance is Pool Safety Solutions' #1 priority.

What is a pool safety compliance certificate?

A pool safety compliance certificate certifies a swimming pool or swimming pool spa's fences and barriers meet the state safety requirements.

In 2016, NSW laws required all properties with a swimming pool or spa pool to comply with the pool safety laws with valid safety certification, such as

  • certificate of compliance
  • certificate of non compliance, or
  • relevant occupation certificate

In New South Wales, pool compliance certificates are issued by E1 certified and council pool safety inspectors. 
This certificate needs to be renewed every 3 years.

If an E1 certified and council pool safety inspector finds a pool does not meet the swimming pool spa fences and barriers safety requirements, a certificate of non-compliance is issued. 
This certificate is valid for 12 months, allowing any necessary rectification works to be completed.

 

 

In 2015, QLD laws required all properties with a swimming pool or spa to comply with the pool safety laws with valid safety certification, such as

  • pool safety certificate
  • Form 26 pool safety non-conformity notice, or
  • relevant occupation certificate

In Queensland, pool safety certificates are issued by pool safety inspectors. This certificate needs to be renewed every 2 years.  

If a pool safety inspector finds a pool does not meet the swimming pool spa fences and barriers safety requirements, a Form 26 non-conformity notice is issued, allowing the property up to 90 days to complete any necessary rectification works.

Why do I need a pool safety compliance certificate?

As part of the delicious paperwork to maintain a wonderfully safe standard of living, a pool compliance 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

You can sell your home with a
NSW Certificate of Non-Compliance
QLD Form 26 Non-Conformity Notice, or
VIC Certificate of Barrier Non-Compliance

as long as

  • you provide a copy of your certificate or notice to the buyer
  • the buyer acquires a pool safety compliance certificate within ninety (90) days after settlement
How long are certificates valid for?

In NSW, a pool safety compliance certificate is valid for 3 years. A certificate of non-compliance is valid for 12 months.

In QLD, a pool safety certificate is valid for 2 years.

Do I need to register my pool?

To prevent the high-risk group of children aged 0-4 drowning in private swimming pools, state pool registers in NSW and QLD were set up to track and monitor each pool.

In NSW, all residential pools must be registered with the NSW Swimming Pool Register.

In QLD, all residential pools must be registered with the QBCC Swimming Pool Register.

In VIC, all residential pools must be registered with their local council.

Failure to register your pool results in fines.

 

What is a pool safety inspector?

In NSW, pool compliance certificates and certificates of non compliance are issued by E1 certified and council pool safety inspectors.

In QLD, pool safety inspectors issue Form 23 pool safety certificates and Form 26 non-conformity notices.

In VIC, pool safety inspectors issue Form 23 pool certificate of barrier compliance and Form 24 pool certificate of barrier non-compliance

Essentially, the pool safety inspector's role is to

  1. inspect pools, spas and barriers, and
  2. lodge the inspection and details through 
    NSW Swimming Pool Register or
    QLD Pool Safety Register (VIC property owners lodge directly with their local council).
I thought only council could inspect pools and issue certificates?

Nope! If you are directed by Council to get a pool safety certificate of compliance, registered swimming pool inspectors in NSW, pool safety inspectors in QLD/ VIC - like us here at Pool Safety Solutions - can help you too.

NSW registered swimming pool inspectors are empowered by NSW Fair Trading 
QLD pool safety inspectors by QBCC Queensland Building & Construction Commission, and
VIC pool safety inspectors by VBA Victoria Building Authority, to  

  • inspect swimming pools and spa fences and barriers, 
  • issue pool safety compliance certificates, NSW non compliance certificates, QLD Form 26 non conformity notice or VIC Form 26 certificate of barrier non-compliance

Training assessment sees inspectors put through their paces when it comes to pool safety so Pool Safety Inspectors really knows everything there is about the pool rules, regulations, acts and standards.

At Pool Safety Solutions, our PoolSS inspectors are amazing at their job - and they love it! You can read for yourself >here 10 Reasons For Hiring A Private E1 Certifier

 

What happens at a pool safety inspection?

Armed with a tape measure, your pool safety inspector completes an onsite inspection within 45 minutes. They’ll check your pool, spa and barriers are compliant to the Australian Standard and State regulations. And, you don't have to be present for the inspection - check the next FAQ.

 

Do I need to be present for the inspection?

As long as we have access to the pool area, you don't need to be present - which saves you time (when we always want to save you time and money). If you're concerned you won't understand exactly what issues you need to address, you are emailed a detailed report including photos with descriptions and explanations on rectifications.

our-response-to-covid19-poolsafetysolutions-socialshare

Read our article "Our Response To COVID-19 (coronavirus) > here - and how we maintain the health of our customers and community as our number one priority - with easy-to-use online and automated systems in addition to rigorous hygiene procedures (we do love the smell of fresh chlorine in the morning!)

 

What happens after a pool safety inspection?

Once the inspection is complete, your paperwork reaches you.

If your pool is

  • compliant, you’ve got a gold star in pool safety and receive your pool safety certificate
  • not compliant, you’ll receive your certificate or notice with a report for rectifications. The NSW certificate of non-compliance is valid for 12 months, allowing any necessary rectification works to take place and solve those pool safety issues.

Once rectification work is complete, your pool safety inspector returns to inspect all over again to issue your pool safety compliance certificate.

How much does it cost?

When it comes to child drownings in swimming pools, prevention is the best solution. We are dedicated to keeping pool safety simple, easy, cost-effective and educational for the community. This means we believe property owners are entitled to free expert advice and guidance and access to our services for a half price first inspection

By law, a certificate or notice is issued for every inspection.

NSW Inspection Prices

Spa Inspection + Certificate $178+GST
Half Price First Inspection + Certificate $178+GST
Pool Inspection + Certificate $277+GST

 

QLD Inspection Prices

Spa Inspection + Certificate $138+GST
Half Price First Inspection + Certificate $138+GST
Pool Inspection + Certificate $237+GST

 

Inspection Prices

Spa Inspection + Certificate $208+GST
Half Price First Inspection + Certificate $208+GST
Pool Inspection + Certificate $357+GST

 

If your pool and barriers are compliant the first time we visit, your pool safety compliance certificate is issued.

If your pool and barriers are not compliant the first time we visit, your
NSW non compliance certificate
QLD Form 26 notice of non-conformity, or
VIC Form 26 certificate of barrier non-compliance
is issued.

Once rectifications are complete, a reinspection is arranged.

Will my dog be a problem?

We love dogs! In fact, if they're super cute, they're likely to be featured across our social media. But don't fret, the privacy of your home and dogs are never revealed, and you can always let us know you'd prefer they weren't across Facebook or Instagram - we understand.

However, if your dog is dangerous or often unfriendly towards strangers entering your property, we do ask you secure your dog away from the pool area for the day of inspection. We don't want to upset your dog - we just want to make sure your pool is safe.

What if my pool is not compliant?

That's OK. Pools are frequently not compliant because small rectifications are required.

If a pool safety inspector finds a pool does not meet the swimming pool spa fences and barriers safety requirements, a certificate or notice is issued.

In NSW, this is valid for 12 months, allowing any necessary rectification works to take place and solve those pool safety issues.

If your pool is non-compliant, legally, Council requires notification
6 weeks in NSW
90-days in QLD, and
67-days in VIC
after the first inspection.

Rectifications may require the skills of a contractor builder. Be sure to pick the right builder who gets the job right the first time and saves you from spending money unnecessarily.

The best questions to ask your builder are

Do you know pool safety compliance?
I'm in NSW: what standard do I comply to?
Do you know how to do the rectification works to meet pool safety compliance?

What are the top reasons for failing an inspection?
These are the top reasons when a pool fails compliance - many with easy solutions prior to inspection
  • Gate hinges and/or latches are faulty or do not self-close
  • Climbable objects are too close to a pool fence, such as trees, plant pots, BBQs and clothes lines
  • Pool fence height is less than 1200mm or boundary fence height is less than 1800mm
  • Distance between the vertical elements of a fence is greater than 100mm
  • Distance below the bottom of the fence is greater than 100mm
  • CPR Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation sign is missing, incorrectly located or out of date
Can I do the rectifications myself?

Sure you can. A detailed report is written up including photos with descriptions and explanations on rectifications. Often, rectifications require installing new latches or hinges to your gate, or extending the height of your fence. If you are capable, go ahead and save those dollars.

Rectifications may require the skills of a contractor builder. Be sure to pick the right builder who gets the job right the first time and saves you from spending money unnecessarily.

The best questions to ask your builder are

Do you know pool safety compliance?
I'm in NSW: what standard do I comply to?
Do you know how to do the rectification works to meet pool safety compliance?

What can I do for a compliant pool? Can I DIY Pool Safety?

You certainly can DIY Pool Safety - and do all the hard work before the pool safety inspector arrives.

Check

  • trees and vegetation are not in the 900mm arc of the non-climbable zone
  • fences are at least 1800mm high with no more than 100mm gaps in between and under fences
  • gates are self-closing
  • CPR sign is in the vicinity of the pool

Need more details? The Ultimate PoolSS Safety Checklist has everything you need to navigate the Pool Safety Australian Standard >here

My question isn't here!

Not to worry! If you've got questions, we've got answers. Contact Us where our friendly team are available by email or phone.

Pool Safety is a community responsibility and we are driven to bring you peace of mind to the safety of your pool and spa. We are experts in the pool safety laws with a commitment to service and pool safety - and proud of it.