There are strict laws that govern swimming pools and pool safety.
A Certificate of Compliance (or Certificate of Non-Compliance) is required to be attached to a Contract of Sale for any properties with a pool.
The great Aussie dream is to own a house with a backyard – even better if it has a swimming pool. But homeowners must remember, that owning a pool (or outdoor spa) has some strict safety guidelines as specified by relevant laws. There are guidelines available covering all sorts of areas from safety, location, construction, fencing and the like.
Pool fencing, for example, has strict guidelines, including minimum heights, the spacing between vertical rails, the ground and lower rails; access restrictions; and even what trees can be planted in gardens within two metres of swimming pool barriers.
New pools cannot be filled with water until they have been inspected and certified as compliant by an authorised inspector. In the past, once a pool was certified, homeowners had little else to do but regular maintenance and keep the water clean.
What is a certificate of non-compliance?
In cases where a swimming pool barrier does not meet the required certification standards, a valid certificate of non-compliance must be attached to the Contract for Sale.
New South Wales has strengthened pool safety and barrier laws, making it compulsory for homeowners to maintain standards.
New measures include surprise inspections by local government authorities, the potential to be fined for compliance breaches, and mandatory inspections and compliance certificates before homeowners can sell or lease properties with pools.
Pool owners who breach safety regulations can receive on-the-spot fines or be taken to court. Often the penalty will exceed the cost of repairs.
Laws not only concern fencing, self-closing gates, and access but can also restrict certain trees and shrubbery near pools and also may require child-proof doors and window locks on houses near pools.
In New South Wales swimming pools must be registered. The onus is on homeowners to ensure their pools meet the safety standards. Swimming pool owners can also expect regular (and random) Local Government inspections where non-compliance notices and, if faults are not rectified, on-the-spot fines will be issued. Unresolved matters can end up in court.
Inspection and Certification
If the home is being sold or rented, homeowners must have the pool certified by an independent safety inspector before new owners or tenants can move in.
The certification must be attached to the sale contract or rental agreement and submitted to the state government.
Our advice is for pool owners to implement strict safety and maintenance regimes to avoid unnecessary accidents and unexpected fines, regardless of the laws in place in their region.
Further information on pool safety laws is on government websites or contact your municipal council.