Swimming Pools & Spas

You will need a building permit to construct, install or alter a swimming, wading, paddling or spa pool if it is capable of holding water more than 300mm deep. Such pools and spas are also required to be protected with a safety barrier that complies with the Building Regulations 2006. Safety barriers includes fences, walls, windows, doors, screens, gates and other permanent elements that prevent access by children to the pool or spa area.

An application for Building Permit can be made to either the Council’s Municipal Building Surveyor, or to a registered Private Building Surveyor.

Link to the Building Permit Application Form.pdf

If the cost of building work is more than $5000 (including labour and materials), the builder (excluding Owner Builders) must be registered with the Building Practitioners Board.

Do I have to install a Safety Barrier around my pool?

Yes, all Swimming Pools and Spas having a depth of more than 300mm (30cm) must be completely enclosed within a Pool Safety Barrier. Drowning is the most common cause of preventable death for children under five in Victoria. Pool fencing reduces the risk of drowning.

Do I have to get a Building Permit for my Pool Safety Barrier before it is installed?

A Building Permit is required to be issued before you install a new Pool or Spa and required safety barrier or carry out any alterations to an existing pool safety barrier.

Do I need a Building Permit and Safety Barrier to install an above ground or inflatable pool or spa?

The legislation applies to all pools and spas more than 300mm (30cm) in depth. If the pool is less than 300mm deep a permit and barrier are not required.

What happens if I don't do anything about Pool Safety?

Council's Building Surveyors do conduct routine audits of pool and spa safety barriers. If a complying Pool Safety Barrier is not maintained around your pool or spa, Council may seek to recover costs associated with enforcement and there are penalties of up to $70,000 which can apply for breaches of building control legislation.

To find out more about safety barrier requirements, refer to the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) web site www.vba.vic.gov.au or the Victorian Government Legislation website www.legislation.vic.gov.au

Pool Safety Barriers

Prior to installing any swimming, paddling or wading pools (including spas and inflatable or above-ground pools) with a depth greater than 300mm (30cm), you must obtain a Building Permit. Building Permits can be obtained from a Private Building Surveyor or from Council's Municipal Building Surveyor.

Pools and Spas of this type are required to be enclosed within a safety barrier that complies with the Australian Standard 1926. The Building Regulations 2006 make Pool owners responsible for the maintenance of pool safety barriers to ensure that they are operating effectively at all times. You should also ensure that household objects that could be used for climbing (such as tree branches, pot plants, chairs and BBQs) are not located any closer than 1.2m from the outside of a pool safety barrier. There are penalties of up to $6000 for failing to maintain a pool safety barrier.

  • Ensure all gates providing access to a pool or a spa have self-closing and self-latching devices that work.
  • Ensure no tree branches, pool pumps, pot plants or other items which could be used to climb over the barrier are within a 900mm radius of the gate or fence.
  • Make sure any fences (especially boundary timber paling fences) are still in good repair and non-climbable.
  • Ensure all gates that provide access to the swimming pool or spa area are closed at all times, except when entering or leaving the area.

New property owners

If you are considering the purchase a property with a swimming pool or spa, it is important to make inquiries to ensure the pool and safety barrier comply with the Building Regulations. Be aware that as the new owner of a property you accept responsibility for ensuring that the safety barrier is compliant and maintained. If you own, or are purchasing a home with a swimming pool or spa, and are not sure that the swimming pool or spa fence or barrier complies, you should engage the expert advice of a Building Surveyor.

Further information

Contact our Building Control Services on 9205 2200.


Updated : 3:33 PM, 27 November 2015

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