Pool Safety

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For more information see below:

Pool Safety Links
Information about the Pool Safety Laws

About the Laws

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE NEW LAWS?

The purpose of the new laws is to reduce the number of young children drowning in swimming pools by requiring all pools to be isolated by a complying pool fence.

The new laws also introduce a single standard for pool fencing across the State, replacing numerous State and local government standards, this includes removing many previously permitted exemptions such as direct access from a house to a pool.

From 1 December 2015, all pool fences must comply with the new Pool Safety Standard.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A POOL?

Swimming Pools

The legislation defines swimming pools as being excavations or structures:

  • capable of being filled with 300mm or more of water; and
  • capable of being used for swimming, bathing, wading, paddling or other human aquatic activity; and
  • solely or principally used/designed/manufactured/adapted for the purposes above.

Pools that meet the definition of “swimming pool” must be fenced in accordance with the fencing standards.

Spa pools, spa tubs and wading pools are also deemed to be swimming pools.

Fish ponds, dams, watercourses, portable pools, spa baths in bathrooms and birthing pools are not deemed to be swimming pools.

Portable Pools

Portable pools are readily available to purchase, however you should be aware that some of these pools will require pool fencing and a building approval before they can be used.

Pool fencing legislation does not apply to a portable pool if the pool:

  • can only hold less than 300mm water and
  • has a volume of less than 2000L and
  • has no filtration system.

All 3 criteria must be met to be exempt from the fencing legislation.

This means that if the portable pool has any one of these characteristics, then it is not considered to be a portable pool and requires compliant fencing installed (i.e a portable pool of any size but with a filtration system would need to comply with the fencing standards).

If you are considering purchasing a portable pool from a department store, it is also wise to consider the dimensions of the pool and whether it will require fencing & approval.

Spas

Spa pools and spa tubs need to be fenced in accordance with the fencing standards.  Spa covers are not an acceptable substitute for pool fencing.

Spa baths in bathrooms that are not continually filled with 300mm or more of water do not need fencing.

Indoor Pools

Indoor pools need to be fenced in accordance with the fencing standards.  Pools on decks/rooftops also need to be fenced in accordance with the fencing standards.

Shared Pools

A shared pool is a pool where residents of 2 or more dwellings have the right to use the pool.  An example of a shared pool is a communal pool in a unit complex.  Shared pools need to be fenced in accordance with the fencing standards.

WHAT IS THE REQUIRED FENCING STANDARD?

The required fencing standard is the Queensland Development Code MP3.4 which also references Australian Standard AS1926.

  • QDCMP3.4
  • The Australia Standard AS1926 is available for viewing at most Council libraries.

WHAT IS A POOL SAFETY CERTIFICATE (PSC)?

A Pool Safety Certificate (also called a Form 23) is given by a Pool Safety Inspector when a pool is inspected and deemed compliant with the fencing standards.

A Pool Safety Certificate is valid for 1 year for a shared pool and 2 years for a non-shared pool.

A Pool Safety Certificate is mandatory if you are renting or leasing your house with a pool.

If you are selling your house or renting/leasing a property with a shared pool, then you can choose whether to obtain a Pool Safety Certificate or otherwise notify the new owner/tenant that the pool does not have a certificate.

If the pool at your property is new, you can use the Final Inspection Certificate (Form 17) instead of a Form 23 if the certificate was issued within the last 2 years.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO WHEN YOU’RE SELLING YOUR HOUSE

If you’re selling your property, you need to provide the new owner with either:

  • a Pool Safety Certificate (Form 23) or
  • a Notice of No Pool Safety Certificate (Form 36) or
  • a Final Inspection Certificate (Form 17)

A Form 23 tells the new owner that the pool fencing is compliant.

A Form 36 tells the new owner that you haven’t had the fencing checked.  The new owner will have 90 days from settlement to achieve compliance and obtain a Pool Safety Certificate for the pool.

A Form 17 is for a new pool, and tells the new owner/tenant that the pool fencing was compliant at the time of inspection.  Form 17s can only be used instead of a Form 23 if they were issued within the last 2 years.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO WHEN YOU’RE RENTING OR LEASING YOUR HOME

If you’re leasing your property, you must provide the new tenant with a Pool Safety Certificate (Form 23) before the lease is signed.  It is an offence to enter into an accommodation agreement without the Certificate.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE A SHARED POOL

If you’re selling or leasing your property with a shared pool, you can provide the new owner/tenant with either:

  • a Pool Safety Certificate (Form 23) or
  • a Notice of No Pool Safety Certificate (Form 36) or
  • a Final Inspection Certificate (Form 17)

A Form 23 tells the new owner/tenant that the pool fencing is compliant.

A Form 36 tells the new owner/tenant that you haven’t had the fencing checked.  The owner will then have 90 days from settlement/lease to achieve compliance and obtain a Pool Safety Certificate for the pool.

A Form 17 is for a new pool, and tells the new owner/tenant that the pool fencing was compliant at the time of inspection.  Form 17s can only be used instead of a Form 23 if they were issued within the last 2 years.

Where a Pool Safety Certificate has been issued, the certificate must be displayed near the main entrance or at the gate/door giving access to the pool.

FORMS

The common forms used for Pool Safety Inspections are:

Form Name Who issues the Form? When is the Form issued?
Form 17

Final Inspection Certificate

Building Certifier Where pool fencing is deemed compliant at time of inspection (for new pools only)
Form 23

Pool Safety Certificate

Pool Safety Inspector Where pool fencing is deemed compliant at time of inspection
Form 26

Pool Non-Conformity Notice

Pool Safety Inspector Where pool fencing is deemed non-compliant at time of inspection
Form 36

Notice of No Pool Safety Certificate

Property Owner When:

Selling a property with a pool

Leasing a property with a shared pool.

CHECKING YOUR FENCE YOURSELF

A self-assessable checklist is available for homeowners at www.qbcc.qld.gov.au.  The checklist will help you determine whether your fencing is compliant.  We recommend seeking the advice of a Pool Safety Inspector if you’re unsure or if your circumstances require personalised advice. Refer to Inspections below for more information on our inspection process.

MAINTENANCE

Maintenance is an important part of ensuring your pool fence remains compliant.  We recommend regularly:

  • Checking gates self-close and self-latch from all positions
  • Checking that trees, bbqs, pot plants, toys, ladders, chairs and other climbable objects are not located near the fence
  • Trimming vegetation or branches that a child could use to climb over the fence
  • Checking fencing panels for correct gaps, rust, wear and tear
  • Checking fence bolts, screws and fasteners are tight and in good order
  • Replacing springs and spraying self-closing gate hinges with lubricant.

INSPECTIONS

Inspectors

Professional Certification Group has a number of Pool Safety Inspectors (PSIs) who are trained and licensed to carry out pool safety inspections and issue certificates.

Booking our Inspectors

Call us on 3069 5799 to arrange for one of our PSIs to inspect your pool the following business day.

Our Fees

To undertake a pool safety inspection and issue a Pool Safety Certificate, our fee is $250.

To undertake a site inspection only, our fee is $150.

What happens at inspection?

Once you’ve made a booking with us, one of our inspectors will attend your property to inspect your pool fencing for compliance with the pool fencing standards.

If your fencing is compliant, the inspector will issue a Pool Safety Certificate (Form 23).

If your fencing is found to be non-compliant, the inspector will either:

  • Provide verbal advice and re-inspect the pool within 2 days (usually for minor matters); or
  • Issue a Pool Non-Conformity Notice (Form 26), which will include details about why the fence doesn’t comply and what must be done to make the fencing compliant. We will work with you to suggest options for making your pool fencing comply, and help you along the way.  Re-inspection is required within 3 months, and owners must ask the same Inspector to undertake the re-inspection.

ARE THERE EXEMPTIONS TO THE FENCING RULES?

Legislative exemptions

The pool fencing legislation does not apply some pools/bodies of water, including:

  • Fish ponds
  • Dams
  • Watercourses
  • Portable pools
  • Spa baths in bathrooms
  • Birthing pools
  • Public pools
  • Pools on common property under the Integrated Resort Development Act or Sanctuary Cove Resort Act where a Pool Safety Management Plan is required

Council Exemptions

Your local Council can issue exemptions to the pool fencing legislation where:

  • an occupier has disability or
  • it is impractical to fence the pool in accordance with the fencing standards.

Contact your local Council to discuss the exemption application process and for the applicable forms and fees.

Exemptions previously issued by Council under the old legislation no longer apply.

ENFORCEMENT

The pool fencing legislation allows Councils to issue on-the-spot fines for pool fencing not complying with the fencing standards.

Fines range from $117.80 to $824.60.

HOW THE SYSTEM IS MANAGED

The Queensland Building & Construction Commission (QBCC) oversees the Pool Safety Inspector licensing system.

The QBCC also maintains a pool register.

 

Useful links

Department of Housing and Public Works

Building Act 1975 – Queensland Government legislation

Building Regulation 2006 – Queensland Government legislation

Australian Standards 1926 – available at Council libraries

Queensland Development Code (QDC) MP3.4

 

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