Did you know that all swimming pools and spas that are capable of containing a depth of water exceeding 300mm (30cm which is a standard ruler length) MUST have suitable and compliant child-resistant safety barriers? And did you know that spas with a lockable cover are not deemed as a compliant child-resistant safety barrier under Building Legislation and thus are an unacceptable form of a safety barrier? Swimming pool and spa owners are required by law to meet government standards and regulations under the Building Regulations 2018. This includes swimming pools and spas that are in-ground, above-ground, inflatable and temporary swimming pools and spas.
When it comes down to the life safety of our children, Council's Building Surveyors take a 'No if's - No but's!' approach and the Victorian Building Authority requires all Victorian Councils to conduct a Swimming Pool and Spa Safety Barrier Audit of their municipality on a regular basis. When this time comes you will be notified by mail of a pending property inspection by a Council Building Inspector who will come and assess your safey barrier and help you work towards compliant and child-resistant safety barriers.
A building permit is required to be obtained prior to the installation of any swimming pool or spa as specified above, that is capable of containing a depth of water exceeding 300mm (30cm) and to install and/or alter an existing swimming pool safety barrier. You will be required to submit a design and site plan fully detailing the type and location of the barriers which include but are not limited to:
- Fly screens that restrict access to the swimming pool or spa
- Self-closing devices etc.
The Swimming Pool and Spa Barrier Frequently Asked Questions on the Victorian Building Authority is a helpful resource about the regulations.
For information about installing a pool or spa, please view this Victorian Building Authority Fact Sheet.
If you have an existing swimming pool or spa, there are self-assessment checklists available on the Victorian Building Authority to assist you carrying out safety barrier maintenance checks.
Each time a child drowns, these swimming pool and spa safety barrier regulations and requirements become harder and stricter. Given the seriousness of the Government's zero tolerance approach to offending property owners and it's commitment to ensuring excellent water safety for our young children, a penalty in excess of $10,000 applies to property owners with ongoing non-compliances.
"Council cannot stress the importance of this issue enough to current swimming pool and spa owners and others seeking advice prior to purchasing a swimming pool or spa in the near future".
Council's Building Team can assist you with technical advice on safety barriers and you may also like to research the Victorian Building Authority website for more information at www.vba.vic.gov.au.
For more information please call us on 9581 4130 or alternatively, come down to 1230 Nepean Highway Cheltenham with your plans, ideas and enquiries and head up to Level 1 for a chat with our Building Surveyor on duty between the office hours of 8.30am - 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.