Spring is here, and the weather is warming up, and being a homeowner with a pool, it is your responsibility to ensure your pool complies with regulations to ensure the safety of those who attend the property.
It is a requirement that your pool has a current certificate of compliance, these are valid for a period of three years.
If you are looking to sell your property you must also have an inspection of your pool undertaken which will see it compliant or non-compliant, if deemed to be non-compliant it must be rectified within a set period as directed in the inspection results.
We at The Property Inspectors can offer these services, please follow the link “https://www.thepropertyinspectors.com.au/product/pool-compliance-inspection/” to view our competitive pricing, which will also allow you to make a hassle-free booking online, or you can contact Ashleigh in the office on 02 9181 5989 and he will be able to assist you further.
Below is an excerpt for the NSW Fair-trading website outlining basic requirements and potential risks.
Drowning in swimming pools is a significant cause of preventable death in children under five years of age. Pool owners must ensure that children are always properly supervised, and are required by law to maintain the safety of their pool area.
If you are a pool owner, planning to build a pool or looking to buy, rent or sell a property with a pool, you need to ensure you are aware of laws that apply.
Do swimming pool laws apply to me?
The Swimming Pools Act 1992 applies to swimming pools and spa pools that are located (or being built) on site with a residential building, moveable dwelling or tourist and visitor accommodation.
If you are the owner of a property with a swimming pool or spa pool, these laws apply to you.
In a strata or community scheme, all of the lot owners jointly own any swimming pool or spa pool that is on common property. The Owner’s Corporation (or Body Corporate) is responsible for ensuring such pools are compliant with the Swimming Pools Act 1992.
The law applies to 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.
Pool owners must register their pools online on the NSW Government’s Swimming Pool Register. Alternatively, you can pay a fee to your local council to do this on your behalf.
A certificate of registration will be issued to the pool owner. Go to the NSW Government’s Swimming Pool Register website to check that your pool has been registered.
Owners of properties with swimming pools must at all times:
- ensure that pools are surrounded with a child-resistant safety barrier that separates the swimming pool(s) from any residential building and any place adjoining the property
- keep closed the doors and gates that provide access to the swimming pool
- ensure that fences surrounding pools are designed, constructed, installed and maintained to comply with the relevant Australian standards.
Visit the pool safety checklists page on the NSW Government’s Swimming Pool Register for more information.
Note that portable and inflatable pools that are capable of being filled to a depth of 30cm (300mm) or more must also be surrounded by a swimming pool safety barrier and meet the requirements listed above. Safety information about inflatable or portable pools is on the inflatable swimming pools page.
In case of an emergency, the law requires that you have a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign displayed near your pool.
You can buy a CPR sign from your local pool shop, council or community organizations such as St John Ambulance, the Australian Red Cross or Royal Life Saving. The sign must be in good condition and able to be read easily from 3 metres.
From 1 September 2019, new CPR signs come into effect. From this time, all new pools must use the updated signage. Owners of existing pools are not required to update their signage unless the pool is substantially altered or re-built.
Signage for pools under construction or renovation
From 1 March 2019, new signage requirements will apply to pools under construction. A sign must be displayed in a prominent position near the pool that states “this swimming pool is not to be occupied or used”. The sign must be displayed at all times while the pool is under construction and only removed once an occupation certificate has been issued for the pool, or once a certificate of compliance has been issued.
Owners who are renting or selling a property with a swimming pool or spa pool have additional obligations to meet.
When selling a property with a swimming pool or spa pool, you must ensure the contract for sale includes:
- a Registration Certificate issued from the Swimming Pool Register
- a valid swimming pool certificate of compliance, or
- a relevant occupation certificate issued within the last 3 years, or
- a valid certificate of non-compliance.
If you do not attach the certificates as required, the purchaser may be allowed to rescind the contract within 14 days of exchange, unless settlement has already occurred.
If a certificate of non-compliance is attached to the contract for sale, the vendor is transferring the obligation to obtain a certificate of compliance to the purchaser.
The purchaser will have 90 days from the date of settlement to rectify defects listed in the certificate of non-compliance and obtain a certificate of compliance.
This requirement does not apply to a lot in a strata scheme or in a community scheme if that strata or community scheme has more than two lots, or if the sales contract is for an off-the-plan property.
Renting a property with a swimming pool or spa pool
When a residential tenancy agreement is entered into for a property with a swimming pool or spa pool, the landlord or real estate agent must provide the tenant with a copy of the valid certificate of compliance or occupation certificate. A certificate of non-compliance must not be used where a residential tenancy agreement is proposed to be entered into at the property.
This requirement does not apply to a lot in a strata scheme or in a community scheme if that strata or community scheme has more than two lots. If you have any concerns about the actions of a real estate agent, contact Fair Trading.
Hazards and risks
Pool cleaning systems
There have been several incidents where children have become trapped in cleaning and skimming systems used in swimming pools.
The types of pool cleaning devices involved in these incidents have included:
- potty-style skimmer boxes
- in-floor cleaning systems using suction outlets that are located on the bottom of the pool.
All pool owners should:
- prevent anyone using their pool, particularly children, from playing with or near any pool outlets
- clearly label and know the location of the on/off switch for the pool filtration system
- display an approved cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign in the pool area.
Pools and electricity can be a lethal combination. Take extreme care if you have a swimming pool that has a portable electric pump and filter system, particularly if it does not have protective housing.
When buying pools with electrical pumps and filters you should:
- make sure the pump and filter have an electrical safety approval number or Regulatory Compliance Mark
- check they are suitable for outdoor use
- fit a safety switch to the house where the pool will be used
- arrange for a licensed electrician to install a suitable weather-protected electrical powerpoint close to where the pool equipment will be located, in order to avoid the use of extension cords.
If it is necessary to use flexible extension cords:
- only use heavy duty cords and always roll them up and store them overnight or when not in use
- do not join a number of extension cords together – purchase a single cord of the required length
- make sure extension cords are not damaged by people walking or driving over them or by pets chewing on them
- always remove the extension cords before mowing any lawn area near the pool.