New pool and spa barrier regulations keeping kids safe around water

Published on 03 December 2019

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The State Government has introduced new mandatory safety regulations for private pools and spas that include homeowners to register their pool or spa with council. 

All permanent pools and spas and most relocatable pools capable of holding 30cm of water or more will need to be registered while small inflatable wading pools that do not require any assembly will not have to be registered.

For a more detailed definition of a pool or spa please visit council’s website.

While there will be stricter laws on managing pool and spa fencing compliance, the requirement to have safety barriers has not changed. 

The regulations require owners to ensure their pool or spa safety barrier is compliant every four years and a compliance certificate must be lodged with council. 

Inspections of pool or spa barriers can only be carried out by a private registered building surveyor, a registered building inspector, or council’s municipal building surveyor.

If the inspection finds the barrier is non-compliant, the owner has up to 60 days to bring it up to code and in serious cases of non-compliance, owners will be referred directly to council for follow up actions.

The new regulations come into force on 1 December 2019 but the rollout of the new rules will be staged to give owners and councils time to adjust to the new requirements.

Pool and spa registrations will need to be submitted to council by 1 June next year and Northern Grampians Shire Council has set up a dedicated webpage to assist pool owners in the region to comply with the new regulations. 

Northern Grampians Shire Council Mayor, Murray Emerson, said council will make it as easy as possible for residents to comply with the new regulations. 

“We understand that when new rules are introduced it can seem like a big hassle but if these rules save one life, it’ll be worth it,” he said. 

“Our team will help residents through this transition and our dedicated webpage will have all the information you need to ensure your pool fence is up to scratch.” 

According to a state government review into pool safety, the majority of drowning deaths of children under five happen in home swimming pools. 

In Victoria, there were 27 fatal drownings in private swimming pools and spas over the last 19 years and the Victorian Coroner found in at least 20 of these cases the safety barrier was non-compliant, and this is likely to have played a role in the deaths.

Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said the new regulations are all about keeping kids safe. 

“The number of children drowning in non-compliant backyard pools is tragic and unacceptable – that’s why these new regulations are necessary,” he said. 

“We owe it to our children to do everything we can to make sure our pools and spas are safe.”

Click here to register a pool or spa in the Northern Grampians Shire Council area.

For more information on the new regulations, visit the Victorian Building Authority Website.