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Swimming pool and spa registration and fencing

All swimming pools and spas must have a safety barrier to restrict access to the pool area by children under the age of 5. 

Owners of properties with a swimming pool or spa have a legal obligation to ensure that they maintain swimming pool and spa safety barriers to reduce the risk of unsupervised children gaining access.

Residents must also ensure these barriers are always closed except when entering the pool or spa.

These legal obligations apply to all swimming pools and spas in Victoria.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) amendments to registration and certification dates

Due to the impact on the community from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Victorian Government has extended the dates by which swimming pools and spas must be registered with Council and the dates that certification of safety barriers must be provided to Council.

New timeframes

Registration

Swimming pool and spa owners have until 1 November 2020 to register swimming pools and spas. 

New swimming pools or spas constructed after November 2020 must be registered within 30 days of receiving the relevant Occupancy Permit or Certificate of Final Inspection.

Certification

Timeframes for certification will depend on when the pool was built:

  • Pools constructed on or before 30 June 1994 must be certified by 1 November 2021.
  • Pools constructed on or after 1 July 1994 but before 1 May 2010 must be certified by 1 November 2022.
  • Pools constructed on or after 1 May 2010 but before 1 June 2020 must be certified by 1 November 2023.

These new laws came into effect on 26 May 2020.

New safety laws for owners of pools and spas

New laws introduced in December 2019 by the Victorian Government have been introduced to ensure safety barriers are maintained for the safety of young children.  They require:

  • mandatory registration of swimming pools and spas by 1 November 2020
  • inspections and certification .every 4 years.

These new laws came into effect on 1 December 2019. There are costs associated with registration, inspection and certification - see details of costs

You can register your swimming pool or spa with Council via its online portal - you'll start by entering your address:

Register your pool or spa

Which pools and spas must be registered?

Any swimming pool or spa that can hold water to a depth greater than 30cm and is used, designed, manufactured or adapted to be principally used for swimming, wading, paddling, or the like, including a bathing or wading pool, or spa must be registered with Council.

This includes:

  • in-ground and above ground pools and spas
  • inflatable pools
  • indoor pools and spa pools
  • children’s paddling and wading pools
  • spas, jacuzzis, hot tubs and swim spas (including portable spas).

This does not include:

  • structures such as bird baths, fish ponds, fountains
  • spas inside a building that are used for personal hygiene
  • inflatable swimming pools (typically toddler or wading pools) not capable of containing a depth of water greater than 30cm
  • water supply/storage tanks
  • dams, rivers, creeks and lakes.

Registration and inspection process

  1. Register your pool or spa with Council
    Property owners, including landlords, are required to register their pool or spa with Council online by 1 November 2020. You can register your swimming pool or spa with Council via its online portal - you'll start by entering your address:

    Register your pool or spa now


    Council will maintain the register of swimming pools and spas within the municipality and uses owner registrations, existing Council records and aerial photography to ensure the database is up-to-date.
  2. Council will send you a letter
    It will tell you:
    • when the swimming pool was built
    • the relevant safety barrier standard
    • the date the safety barriers must be certified by.
  3. Have your safety barriers inspected by a registered building practitioner
    Property owners will also be required to have their swimming pool and spa barriers inspected and certified by a registered building surveyor or a registered building inspector. This certification will state that the barrier of a swimming pool or spa complies with the applicable requirements.
    This certification does not need to be done at the same time as registration.  The requirements and  timeframes vary, depending on when the pool or spa was installed.
  4. Provide a copy of the Certificate of Compliance to Council.

Costs

The cost of registration and lodging the certificates with Council are set by the Victoria Government.

There will be a cost to:

  • register your pool/spa with Council, including a search fee: $79
  • have your safety barriers inspected by a registered building surveyor or a registered building inspector: this price will vary depending on the individual inspector/inspection
  • lodge your certificate of compliance with Council: $20.40

The cost of the inspection of the safety barriers will be up to the individual inspector and will depend on your particular circumstances. Consider getting quotes from several companies to ensure a better rate.

Are you compliant? You can check

While there are stricter laws on managing pool and spa compliance, the requirement to have safety barriers hasn’t changed. You were already expected to have safety barriers in place.

You can check if your pool or spa barriers are compliant using the Victorian Building Authority’s 3 self-assessment checklists. They reflect the standards and regulations that are applied to your pool or spa, depending on your installation date. Choose the one applicable on the VBA's website:

VBA’s checklists for compliance

Building or modifying a pool, spa or safety barrier?

See if a building permit is necessary

Safety barrier FAQs

Drowning is the most common cause of preventable death of children under the age of five. For every fatal drowning of a young child in a private swimming pool there are approximately six non-fatal drowning incidents. Around 20% of these result in some form of long-term impairment, with 10% displaying a severe neurological deficit.

There is clear evidence that safety barriers that do not comply are a significant factor in fatal and non-fatal drowning incidents of young children in private swimming pools and spas. Coronial findings reported that in 74% of cases the safety barrier was non-compliant and may have played a direct role in the fatal drowning.

The Victorian Coroner has therefore recommended strengthening pool safety laws in several findings relating to the fatal drownings of young children. The Victorian Government has introduced these new regulations in response to this.

You can register your swimming pool or spa with Council via its online portal from 2 December 2019.

Existing pools and spas must be registered by 1 November 2020.

New swimming pools or spas constructed after 1 November 2020 must be registered within 30 days of receiving the relevant Occupancy Permit or Certificate of Final Inspection.

Where an owner has both a swimming pool and a spa, they will need to register the swimming pool and spa separately with Council unless the swimming pool and spa were installed together (i.e. both pool and detached spa are in the same approved pool/spa enclosure) or form part of each other.

You can register your swimming pool or spa with Council via its online portal - you'll start by entering your address:

Register your pool or spa

Costs include:

  • registration of your pool/spa with Council (including a search fee) - $79 
  • safety barrier inspection by a registered building surveyor or a registered building inspector - this price will vary depending on the individual inspector/inspection
  • lodgement of your certificate of compliance with Council - $20.40

The cost of registration and lodging the certificates with Council are set by the Victoria Government.

The cost of the inspection of the safety barriers will be up to the individual inspector and will depend on your particular circumstances. Consider getting quotes from several companies to ensure a better rate.

It is an offence not to register within the required timeframe and is subject to a fine of $330.

When you complete your application to register your swimming pool or spa, Council will email you confirming:

  • the date or the period of construction of the swimming pool
  • the relevant standard that the safety barrier must comply with
  • the date the safety barriers must be certified as compliant by.

Due to the number of pool and spa registrations at the present time and the investigation it involves, the timeframe to receive this letter may take some time.

Once the swimming pool or spa has been registered with Council, it will remain registered until the swimming pool or spa is removed and the owner applies to take it off the register.

Safety barriers restrict unsupervised entry by young children to the swimming pool or spa area.

A safety barrier may be a:

  • fence
  • wall
  • gate
  • screen
  • balustrades

and includes attachments such as:

  • doors
  • gates
  • windows
  • locks
  • latches
  • hinges
  • self-closing devices.

The date of construction of the swimming pool or spa will generally determine the applicable barrier standard. This is the set of technical requirements that the barrier must comply with. The applicable barrier standard will also allow for alterations to the safety barrier that were made after the date of construction. The relevant compliance standards are:

  • Swimming pool or spa constructed before 8 April 1991 is to comply with Part 9A, Division 2 of the Building Regulations 2018.
  • Swimming pool or spa constructed between 8 April 1991 to 31 October 1994 is to comply with Australian Standard AS1926.1-1986 Amendment 1 or Volume 2 of the Building Code of Australia applicable at the time of construction.
  • Swimming pool or spa constructed between 1 November 1994 to 30 April 2010 is to comply with Australian Standard AS1926.1-1993 or Volume 2 of the Building Code of Australia applicable at the time of construction.
  • Swimming pool or spa constructed between 1 May 2010 to 30 April 2013 is to comply with Australian Standard AS1926.1-2007 Amendment 1 or Volume 2 of the Building Code of Australia applicable at the time of construction.
  • Swimming pool or spa constructed after 1 May 2013 is to comply with Australian Standard AS1926.1-2012 or Volume 2 of the Building Code of Australia applicable at the time of construction.

A self-assessment checklist for each standard is available from the Victorian Building Authorities website

Download copies of the Building Regulations 2018 (PDF, 480kb)

Buy copies of the Australian Standards

Yes, all swimming pool or spa safety barriers are required to be inspected and certified as compliant by a registered building practitioner. The date by which the barriers must be inspected and certified is based on the date of construction that has been determined by Council.

Once the registered building practitioner has certified the safety barriers, the owner must provide the Certificate of Barrier Compliance to Council by:

  • Pools constructed on or before 30 June 1994 must be certified by 1 November 2021.
  • Pools constructed on or after 1 July 1994 but before 1 May 2010 must be certified by 1 November 2022.
  • Pools constructed on or after 1 May 2010 but before 1 June 2020 must be certified by 1 November 2023.

Pools and spas constructed on or after 1 November 2020 must submit the Certificate of Barrier Compliance to Council within 30 days of occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection.

This certificate must accompany your application for pool or spa registration. Your next Certificate of Barrier Compliance is due 4 years after registration.

Any building surveyor or building inspector who is registered with the Victorian Building Authority is able to inspect and certify your safety barriers. You can also check if a building practitioner or company is registered using the VBA’s Find a practitioner directory.

Council is unable to recommend or provide details of building surveyors or building inspectors that can inspect your safety barriers. A list is available by searching: VBA's Find a practitioner directory

No, Council will not perform the certification inspection. Council will be following up on those that do not register their swimming pools or spas or have not had their barriers inspected and certified. Council will only inspect pools to confirm that a pool/spa has been decommissioned.

Yes. While Council may have recently inspected your safety barriers, the changes to the Building Act require all swimming pool or spa safety barriers to be reinspected and certified by the required dates.

If the inspector determines a barrier is non-compliant:

  • if the defects are minor, the inspector may provide the owner with a date by which the identified non-compliant matters must be fixed, as well as the date that the inspector will return to re-inspect the barrier. If the barrier remains non-compliant following the next inspection, the inspector must issue a Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Non-compliance and provide this to Council.
  • the inspector will issue a Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Non-compliance and provide it to Council if:
    • the barrier cannot be made to comply within the maximum time period
    • if the nature of the non-compliance includes certain prescribed matters
    • if the nature of the non-compliance poses a significant and immediate risk to life or safety, 

Once Council receives a Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Non-compliance, Council will issue a non-compliance fee of $385.10 and utilise their existing powers under the Building Act to address the non-compliance.

It is an offence to fail to provide a Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Compliance by the prescribed time or to fail to comply with an order or direction from Council and may result in fines or prosecution.

If the inspector is satisfied that the safety barrier is compliant with the applicable barrier standard:

  1. They will issue a Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Compliance and provide a copy to the owner.
  2. The owner, or their agent, must provide a copy of the certificate to Council.
  3. Council will record details of the certificate on the register.

Registrations, once submitted, do not need to be renewed for the life of the pool or spa.

Inspections and the submission of certificates of compliance must be completed every 4 years.

An owner can remove or decommission their swimming pool or spa by either:

  • completely removing the swimming pool or spa
  • placing holes in the pool or spa to prevent it from being capable of containing more than 30cm of water and removing the access ladders and filtration system.

Once decommissioned, the site must be inspected by Council before it can be removed from the register. See full details of acceptable methods of decommissioning a swimming pool or spa

01/06/2017
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