On 1 December 2019, new laws to improve swimming pool and spa safety came into effect in Victoria. It is now mandatory for owners of land where a swimming pool or spa is located to register their pool or spa with the local Council.
New registration, inspection, and compliance requirements apply for property owners and maintenance requirements for occupiers. If you own a pool or spa, including portable or relocatable swimming pools or spas, we encourage you to check the compliance of the barrier now.
When can I register my pool or spa?
In general, all swimming pools and spas are required to be registered with Council from between 1 December 2019 and 1 November 2020.
How much does it cost?
Registration of a pool or spa will incur a one-off fee of $79.00 which includes a date of construction and applicable barrier standard search fee for pools and spas constructed before 1 November 2020.
A registration fee of $31.80 is applicable to pools and spas constructed on or after 1 November 2020.
Do all pools and spas need to be registered?
Yes, all permanent, portable or relocatable swimming pools and spas, regardless of when they were constructed or erected, must be registered with Council. All swimming pools and spas capable of containing water greater than 300mm (30cm) must have a compliant safety barrier to restrict access to the pool area by young children.
Barriers are required for:
- in-ground pools and spas
- above-ground pools and spas, including inflatable pools capable of containing water to a depth of more than 300mm (30cm)
- indoor pools and spas
- wading pools that may contain more than 300mm (30cm) of water.
The minimum barrier standards based on the pool or spas construction date are available on the VBA website: https://www.vba.vic.gov.au/consumers/safety-guides/swimming-pools
If I decommission or remove my pool or spa, do I still need to register it?
No, if you decommission (backfill) or remove your pool or spa before 1 November 2020 (final date for registration), you do not need to register it with Council but you must inform Council of the change and demonstrate removal.
What will happen if I don’t register my pool or spa by 1 November 2020?
If an owner does not register their swimming pool or spa, Council may give notice in writing requiring the owner to apply for registration within a specified period of not less than 14 days.
An on-the spot-fine of $330.40 via an Infringement Notice may be applicable or a penalty of up to 10 Penalty Units or $1,652.20 may apply if the matter is brought before the Magistrates’ Court.
How can I find out the date of construction of my pool or spa?
Upon application for registration of the swimming pool or spa, Council will determine the date of construction and the applicable barrier standard and inform the applicant in writing.
What if I don’t agree with the Council’s determination of the date of construction?
As owner, if you disagree with Council’s determination of the date of construction of your pool or spa, you can appeal the decision to the Building Appeals Board (BAB). An appeal must be lodged within 30 days of receiving Council’s determination: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a tenant at a property with a pool or spa, do I need to take action?
No, it is the property owner’s responsibility to register the pool or spa with Council and for arranging the inspection and certification of compliance of the swimming pool or spa barrier.
However, as an occupier you may inspect the Council’s register for information relating to the pool or spa on the property you are renting, including whether the pool or spa is registered, and whether the barrier has a current compliance certificate.
Also, as an occupier, you have responsibility to take all reasonable steps to ensure that a barrier restricting access to the swimming pool or spa is operating effectively.
How can I check the compliance of my pool or spa barrier?
Please check the VBA’s pool and spa safety barrier self-assessment checklist which is available at: https://www.vba.vic.gov.au/consumers/safety-guides/swimming-pools
My pool was built before 8 April 1991, do I need to install a pool or spa barrier?
A pool and or spa constructed or approved prior to 8 April 1991 must comply with one or more of the following barriers:
A wall of a building with compliant door, gates and openable windows as defined;
A fence and gate complying with AS 1926.1 – 1993;
A paling or imperforate fence to a height of 1.5m with compliant door or gates as defined;
How can I arrange an inspection of my pool/spa for the purpose of getting a certificate of barrier compliance?
A certificate of pool or spa barrier compliance can be issued by either Council or a Private Building Surveyor/Building Inspector who offers this service.
Read more: Swimming Pools and Spas - Certificate of Barrier Compliance
How often do I need to have my pool inspected and provide a certificate of compliance to Council?
A certificate of compliance needs to be provided to Council within every four years after the first certificate of pool and spa barrier compliance was lodged with Council.
What happens if at the time of inspection my pool/spa barrier does not comply with the Regulations?
The inspector will give the owner a notice in writing listing the non-compliant items of the pool or spa barrier that need to be addressed. A property owner will have a maximum 60 days to rectify the non-compliances. At the end of the 60 days period, a re-inspection of the property will be arranged.
If the non-compliance items are not rectified within the 60 days, a certificate of pool and spa barrier non-compliance will be issued to the owner and lodged with Council. A non-compliance fee of $385.10 is required to be paid to Council by the owner within 28 days.
The Municipal Building Surveyor (MBS) may serve a barrier compliance improvement notice (BIN) and specify a date within which the owner must bring the barrier into compliance and lodge a Certificate of pool and spa barrier compliance to Council. Failure to comply may incur an Infringement Notice of 2 Penalty Units or $330.40.
Can a Council officer attend my property to fix the non-compliance items of by pool/spa barrier?
No, Council does not provide this service.
Can a Council officer recommend someone to fix the non-compliance items of by pool/spa barrier?
No, Council cannot recommend any trade.
What do I do if my safety barrier becomes non-compliant before the next anniversary inspection is due?
It is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that the safety barrier is intact and performs as required by AS 1926.1.
My pool/spa was inspected by Council before registration was mandatory, do I still need to register it with Council and arrange an inspection?
Yes, all swimming pools and spas must be registered with Council by 1 November 2020.
However, relocatable pools or spas erected for at least 3 consecutive days immediately before 1 November 2020 must be registered by 4 November 2020. As a tenant you should notify the landlord (or their agent) of this as the landlord (owner of the land) is required to register the relocatable pool with Council on the fourth day. A certificate of barrier compliance must also be lodged by the owner with Council within 30 days of the date of registration.
What if I want to have work done to my pool or spa barrier?
If you are carrying out repair works on the existing safety barrier, a building permit may be required to alter the barrier. Work to alter an existing barrier will need to comply with the current regulations.
What if I have a pool and a spa on the same property?
You are only required to pay one registration fee which will cover both the pool and the spa if they are enclosed within the same pool and spa safety barrier area. Otherwise, two registration applications are required to cover each situation.
What about a bath or spa used for personal hygiene?
Barriers are not required for baths used for personal hygiene and emptied after each use. A barrier is also not required for spas inside a building (e.g. in a bathroom) used for personal hygiene and emptied after each use.