The Building Amendment (Swimming Pool and Spa) Regulations 2019 commenced on 1 December 2019. The new laws have been introduced to ensure compliance with existing safety barrier laws and to reduce incidents of drowning in private swimming pools and spas.

The new regulations introduce new requirements for property owners which are set out below.

1. Mandatory registration of swimming pools and spas

Effective 1 December 2019, it will be mandatory for all owners to register their swimming pools and spas with their local council. The council will register a pool with prescribed information. Existing swimming pools and spas are required to be registered on or before 14 April 2020. New swimming pools and spas must be registered within 30 days of receipt of the relevant occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection. Non-registration within the required time frame will attract a penalty of 2 penalty units (definition of a penalty unit here [extenal site]).

Local councils will have broad discretion in determining the date of construction after considering all relevant material and information provided by the owner. Generally, the date of construction of the swimming pool or spa will determine the applicable standards and technical requirements of the barrier.

2. Inspection and certification of safety barriers

Every three years, owners must arrange for an inspection and certification of their safety barriers by suitably qualified inspector. Failure to provide a certificate of compliance by the date required by the council will lead to a fine of 2 penalty units.

The new regulations provide for: transitional arrangements for inspection of existing pools and spas; response of inspector to non-compliant safety barriers; and council’s action against identified non-compliance.

Prescribed fees payable under the new regulations are as under (as December 2019):

One-off registration fee                                                 $37 (max)

Lodgement of certificate of compliance                       $20 (max)

Lodgement of certificate of non-compliance             $385 (max)

Take away

If a property contains a swimming pool or a spa, you should check that it is registered with the local council and that a certificate compliance is recorded with council. Non-compliance of new regulations will attract a penalty of 2 penalty units. Maintenance of swimming pool and spa shall be regularly monitored by the council. The purchaser must consider costs involved in maintenance, inspection and certification of swimming pool, spa and safety barriers.

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