Pyrenees Shire Council is reminding property owners that every private swimming pool or spa capable of containing a depth of water exceeding 300mm requires a building permit prior to its installation.
The building permit will specify that a childproof safety fence and gate must be built and approved before the swimming pool or spa can be used. The importance of adequate and compliant fencing around home pools and spas cannot be underestimated.
Drowning is the most common cause of preventable death for children under 5 years of age in Victoria. Pool fencing significantly reduces the risk of drowning with research showing that the risk of drowning in a fenced pool is about one quarter of that of drowning in an unfenced pool. Our children need to be protected from such accidental drowning.
Safety Fence Tips
- Maintain gates and fences regularly to ensure they comply with the Building Regulations.
- Fit correct safety measures to gates, doors and windows.
- Make sure no tree branches, pool pumps or pot plants etc are near the safety fence and be sure that anything able to be climbed is not placed in a position where children could climb to gain access to the pool or spa.
- A safety fence is required if you have an inflatable pool filled with water which is deeper than 300mm.
- Position any chairs, boxes, pool pumps etc so that they cannot be used to climb the fence to access the pool or spa.
Pool and Spa Regulations
- It is law that swimming pools or spas on private residential properties in Victoria are provided with safety fences to restrict access to the pool or spa.
- Swimming pools that require safety fences: in-ground pools, above ground pools (including inflatable), hot tubs, Jacuzzis and spas.
- Any pool or spa fence, gate or door must be maintained in good working order.
- All gates and doors providing access to a pool or spa must have self-closing and self-latching devices and open away from the pool – even pools and spas built before laws were introduced in 1991 to make fencing compulsory.
- It is an offence to prop open any gate or door providing access to a pool or spa.
- A building permit must be obtained prior to the installation of all pools and spas with a depth greater than 300mm and for the safety barrier.
- The Building Act 1993 contains penalties for pool owners who install a pool or spa and fail to carry out work in accordance with the Act.
Recent legislative changes have been adopted by the Victorian Government which, amongst other measures, include the mandatory registration of swimming pools and spas and introduces a new compliance regime to improve swimming pool and spa safety. The importance in improving pool safety so as to avoid child drownings cannot be underestimated. The new legislation will come into effect on 1 December, 2019.
Council is committed to ensure the utmost safety is provided to our residents and as such, as a precursor to the commencement date of the new legislation, we have adopted a pool and spa safety and compliance inspection program.
Information provided by the Victorian Building Authority on the legal obligation and responsibilities for swimming pool owners can be found here. The information also provides a VBA Pool and Spa Safety Barrier Self-Assessment Checklist.