New regulations streamline pool safety requirements


Adding a pool or replacing your current pool fence? Ensuring you meet safety requirements will be quicker and easier under new measures announced by the Cook Government last week.

Amendments to the Building Regulations 2012 will streamline the process of installing safety barriers around pools by removing the requirement for a building permit in most cases, simplifying the task for homeowners.

Under the new regulations, which take effect on 21 June 2024, the relevant local government will have to inspect the pool within 30 days of installation to ensure the fences are compliant with safety standards.

If safety barriers are found to be non-compliant, local governments will be required to re-inspect properties within 60 days. They must also report overdue inspections to Building and Energy.

Local governments will still be required to conduct a physical inspection and compliance check every four years.

This approach aims to enhance safety and reduce the risk of accidents involving swimming pools, particularly among young children.

Commerce Minister Sue Ellery stressed the importance of homeowners’ role in pool safety, urging them to secure pool gates and maintain safety barriers.

“Tragically, drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for young children in Australia and most of these devastating incidents happen in private swimming pools,” she said.

“While close and active supervision by an adult remains the best safety measure to keep young children safe around water, pool safety barriers play a vital role in restricting access.”

The Building Regulations 2012 stipulates all private swimming, spa, and portable pools deeper than 30 centimetres (yes, your paddle pools are included) must have a compliant safety barrier.

Failure to comply could result in fines or prosecution. With increased surveillance by councils and government agencies, including the use of aerial photography to monitor backyard pools, compliance is more critical than ever.

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