PRIVATE BACKYARD SWIMMING POOLS
What is a Swimming Pool?
The NSW Swimming Pools Act 1992 defines a swimming pools a an excavation, structure or vessel:
(a) that is capable of being filled with water to a depth greater than 30 centimeters, and
(b) that is solely or principally used, or that is designed, manufactured or adapted to be solely or principally used, for the purpose of swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity,
and includes a spa pool, but does not include a spa bath. Anything that is situated within a bathroom or anything declared by the regulations not to be a swimming pool for the purpose of the Act.
Swimming Pool Safety Initiative
Sadly drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in very young children who lack the cognitive and water skills to deal with the danger.
With over 300 private backyard swimming pools in Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council area, swimming pool safety is a vital issue that affects the whole community.
Council is responsible for promoting swimming pool safety in our local community which is done through Councils Swimming Pool Inspection Program.
The Swimming Pools Act
The Swimming Pools Act 1992 prescribes the fencing requirements of backyard swimming pools in NSW.
Some other safety requirements are prescribed including the requirement for a CPR sign to be displayed near the pool.
The Swimming Pools Regulation
The Swimming Pools Regulation 2018 was re-made on 31 August 2018. It calls up Australian Standard AS1926 Swimming Pool Safety, Part 1: Safety barriers for swimming pools, which includes new requirements for non-climbable zones, mesh sizes for fences, retaining walls that form part of a barrier and balconies that project into the pool area.
It is important to note that exemption from fencing swimming pools on rural properties has been withdrawn. All swimming pools constructed after 1 July 2010 now must be surrounded by a child resistant barrier complying with the Regulations.
Swimming Pool Registration
All backyard pools and spas in NSW are now required to be registered on the NSW Swimming Pool Register. You can access the Register at www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au.
Registering is simple and easy. To register your pool, all you’ll need to know is the address, the size of the property, the type of pool you own (e.g. in ground, spa pool), whether any work has been done to your pool barrier, and how old your pool is.
The Register is open now, and it will stay open. Whether you already own a pool, or you build one later on, you will need to register it.” Failing to have your pool registered can attract a fine of up to $220.
Certificates of Compliance
All properties being sold or leased with a swimming pool or spa pool need a valid certificate of compliance, or a relevant occupation certificate to be annexed to the Contract for Sale, the Lease or the Residential Tenancy Agreement.
A property with a pool cannot be advertised for sale or lease if it does not have a valid certificate of compliance or a relevant occupancy certificate.
To obtain a certificate of compliance you will need to contact either your local council or an independent accredited certifier who is registered with the Building Professionals Board. Independent accredited certifiers can be found on the Building Professionals Board website at www.bpb.nsw.gov.au
Evidence suggests that around 95% of pools will fail to obtain a certificate of compliance at the first inspection. Councils advise that it can take up to 90 days to rectify faults in safety barriers before they can issue a certificate of compliance, mainly due to the unavailability of qualified contractors to make any needed repairs or remediation work.
Requirements to obtain a certificate of compliance vary depending on the age of the property age of the pool. If you want to view the standards for your pool, contact the council to make an appointment.
To avoid any unnecessary delays in selling or leasing your property, be proactive and give yourself plenty of time.
To obtain a swimming pool compliance certificate you must complete the Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate Request form and pay the relevant inspection fee. A council Accredited Certifier will come to the property and inspect and assess the swimming pool barrier against the Standards relevant to the polls age. If everything is found to be complaint a compliance certificate will be produced and will be available on the NSW Swimming Pool Database.
Fees for compliance certificate inspections are $150.00 for the first inspection and $100.00 for an additional reinsertion. (Council cannot charge for more than one reinsertion even if more than one is required.).
Portable (blow up) Swimming Pools and Spas
A portable swimming pool or spa is a structure or vessel that is not permanently installed, is portable and is only utilized for a short period of time. Unlike permanent in ground or above ground swimming pools, some portable swimming pools and spas do not always need Council Development approval or need to be fenced. To ensure the safety of small children exposed to portable swimming pools please review the SWIMMING POOLS & SPAS Fact Sheet for more information.
Self-Assessment Inspections of Swimming Pool Barriers
Council recommends that pool owners and occupiers do a self-assessment check of their swimming pool at least once a year. The best way to undertake this self-assessment inspection is by downloading a checklist from the NSW Swimming Pools Register. If the swimming pool has been registered you can download a checklist relevant to that specific pools age. You can access the Register at www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au.
Information relating to the specific requirements such as height type and location of swimming pool barriers are contained within the Australian Standard AS1926. This is a copyrighted document and Council cannot legally provide copies of this standard to the general public, however Council is legally obliged to make available upon request a copy of the standard that can be reviewed at the Council Office. For more information please contact Councils Development group at either office.