Wherever you live in Australia, if you are planning to add a swimming pool to the property, you will need to have the pool certified by an approved assessor in order to comply with local authority regulations.
New South Wales
If you live in Sydney or surrounding areas, in 2016 the NSW government amended the Swimming Pool Act of 1992 that now requires all swimming pools and spas to be registered. Luckily, obtaining a pool certificate in Sydney is relatively straightforward if you approach an accredited pool certification firm, who can easily be contacted with a Google search.
In order to prevent children drowning in domestic swimming pools, the NSW government decided that every swimming pool and spa should be evaluated for safety, and fencing is a major part of this. The evaluation process includes the following:
- CPR Signage – A resuscitation sign must be displayed inside the pool fencing area, which must be legible. If you are unsure exactly where the sign should be installed, your local government officer would be able to help, and it is vital that the sign is not positioned in such a way that it would help a child to climb over the pool fencing.
- Pool Fencing – The pool fencing must be in good order and be of a height that is suitable for the standard of your pool. There must be no gaps exceeding 100mm, including the gap between the bottom of the fencing and the ground, as this will ensure that a child cannot squeeze through the fencing and gain access to the pool.
- Pool Gating – The pool gate must be outward opening and have a minimum height of 1200mm, with protruding hinges capped, and the pool gate must never be propped in the open position.
- Climbing Hazards – You need to check that there are no objects within 1200mm of exterior of the pool fencing. This would include furniture, trees, pots or plants, or indeed any object that might assist a child who wishes to climb over the fool fencing. Any form of vegetation that might be used to gain access to the pool area should be removed prior to the pool inspection, as if the inspector feels there are objects that could assist a child to climb the fence, the certificate will not be granted.
- Inside the Pool Area – The only items allowed inside the pool area are fixed slides, filtration equipment and a shading device. BBQs and tables and chairs must be located outside the pool area for safety reasons.
Penalties for Non-Compliance
You should be aware that state governments are authorised to carry out pool spot checks, and should they find your pool does not comply, they can issue you with a fixed penalty notice. In the event an accident occurred and it was deemed that your pool safety was inadequate, you could be sued, and to be on the safe side, you should have the pool certified by a state accredited pool certification firm.