Swimming Pools and Spas

You will need a building permit to construct, install or alter a swimming pool or spa if it is capable of holding water more than 300mm (30cm) deep. This excludes spas inside a building (e.g. in a bathroom) used for personal hygiene and emptied after each use.

Swimming pools and spas are also required to be protected with a safety barrier that complies with the Building Regulations 2018. 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 to a registered Private Building Survey or to Council’s Municipal Building Surveyor.

For all building forms see our forms page.

Do I have to install a safety barrier around my swimming pool or spa?

Yes, all swimming pools and spas having a depth of more than 300mm (30cm) must be completely enclosed within a safety barrier. Drowning is the most common cause of preventable death for children under five in Victoria. Safety barriers reduce the risk of child injury and drownings.

Do I have to get a building permit for my safety barrier before it is installed?

Yes, a building permit is required to be issued before you install a new swimming pool or spa and required safety barrier or carry out any alterations to an existing 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 swimming pool and spas capable of more than 300mm (30cm) water depth. If the swimming pool or spa is less than 300mm (30cm) deep or located inside a building (e.g. in a bathroom) and used for personal hygiene and emptied after each use, a building permit and safety barrier are not required.

What happens if I don't do anything about pool safety?

Council Building Surveyors do conduct routine audits of swimming pool and spa safety barriers. If a complying safety barrier is not maintained around your swimming pool or spa, significant penalties can apply.

You can find out more about safety barrier requirements on the Victorian Building Authority website and the Victorian Government Legislation website

Swimming pool and spa safety barriers

Prior to installing any swimming, paddling or wading pool (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 the Council Municipal Building Surveyor.

Pools and Spas of this type are required to be enclosed within a safety barrier that complies with the Australian Standard for Pool Safety Barriers (AS1926.1-2012). Building Regulations make Pool owners responsible for the maintenance of 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 located so that they cannot be used to climb over a safety barrier to gain access to a pool. There are significant penalties applicable to failure to maintain a compliant safety barrier. Things to remember include

  • Ensure that all gates and doors providing access to a swimming pool or spa have self-closing and self-latching devices that work effectively at all times.
  • Ensure that things such as tree branches, pool pumps, pot plants, furniture, BBQs and other items which could be used for climbing are not located within the required exclusion zone around the safety barrier.
  • Make sure any fences (especially boundary timber paling fences) are maintained in a good repair at all times.
  • Ensure that all gates and doors that provide access to the swimming pool or spa area are closed at all times, except when entering or leaving the protected area.

 

Relocatable Pool Safety Barriers

A building permit is not required for relocatable pool safety barriers around a relocatable swimming pool or spa (Item 21 of Schedule 3 of the Building Regulations 2018). 

Even though such a barrier may be exempt from the requirement for a building permit, a relocatable pool safety barrier is still required to comply with the Australian Standard for Pool Safety Barriers (AS1926.1-2012) in all respects.

Hume City Council’s Building Surveyors are not aware of any products or systems currently on the market that are accredited under the Building Act 1993 by the Building Regulations Advisory Committee, or any other approved accreditation scheme, as complying entirely with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and AS1926.1-2012.

The BCA and AS1926.1-2012 form part of the Building Regulations 2018. Owners of relocatable swimming pools or spas must make their own inquiries in order to determine and confirm whether a relocatable pool safety barrier product or system complies with these regulations.

To meet the exemption from the requirement for a building permit for a relocatable pool safety barrier, the product or system you are using must be

  • designed to be relocatable
  • be able to be reasonably and practically relocated
  • comply with AS1926.1-2012 in all relevant respects.

As a general rule, a building permit is required for the construction or installation of a pool safety barrier or fence.

Owners of relocatable swimming pools or spas are subject to all of the relevant provisions of Part 9A of the Building Regulations 2018, including the requirement to ensure that a compliant pool safety barrier is in place, whether or not the barrier is relocatable. 

A relocatable swimming pool or spa must also be registered with Council by 1 June 2020 and a certificate of barrier compliance lodged with the Council starting 1 June 2021, depending no the age of the swimming pool and/or spa.

New laws introduced 1 December 2019

New laws introduced by the Victorian Parliament which took effect on 1 December 2019 require:

  • mandatory registration of all swimming pools and spas in Victoria by 1 November 2020
  • a new compliance regime to improve the safety and compliance of swimming pool and spas.

There are fees and costs associated with the registration, inspection and certification of swimming pool and spa safety barriers.

You can register your swimming pool or spa via Council’s online applications portal eHume. Register your swimming pool and/or spa online. If you can't access eHume, you can download the Application to register your swimming pool and/or spa form and submit it to Council. 

Find out more about the new pool and spa registration and compliance laws.

New property owners

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

Further information

Contact our Building Control Services on 9205 2200


Updated : 3:43 PM, 26 May 2020

Related Links

What's Near Me?