New swimming pool and spa laws

All swimming pools and spas capable of containing water greater than 300mm (30cm) – excluding spa baths – must have a compliant safety barrier to restrict access to the pool area by children under the age of five.

Owners of properties with a swimming pool and/or spa are legally obliged to ensure that they maintain and repair their swimming pool and/or spa safety barriers to reduce the risk of unsupervised children gaining access to the pool.

Occupiers (tenants) must also ensure that safety barriers are kept closed at all times, except while entering or exiting the pool and/or spa area.

These legal obligations apply to all swimming pools and spas in Victoria.

Children should be actively supervised by an adult in and around swimming pools and spas, even when safety barriers are in place.

New laws introduced 1 December 2019

New laws to improve swimming pool and spa safety that came into effect on 1 December 2019 require:

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

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 and/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. 

After you have registered you swimming pool and/or spa, Council will confirm in writing to you that your registration as lodged is accepted and confirm the rules applicable to your swimming pool and/or spa safety barrier.

Council will also inform you as to when your pool safety barrier must be inspected. A registered Building Surveyor or Building Inspector (Barrier Inspector) will then need to confirm that your pool safety barrier complies with the legislative requirements.

Which swimming pools and spas need to be registered with council?

Any swimming pool or spa that can hold water to a depth greater than 300mm (30cm) that is used, designed, manufactured or adapted to be principally used for swimming, wading, paddling, or the like (including a bathing or wading pools) must be registered with Council by 1 June 2020.

This includes

  • in-ground swimming pools
  • inground spas
  • above ground swimming pools
  • above ground spas
  • inflatable pools
  • indoor swimming pools
  • indoor spas
  • paddling and wading pools
  • spas, jacuzzis, hot tubs and swim spas (including portable spas).

This does not include

  • structures or bodies such as bird baths, fish ponds, fountains
  • Spa baths inside a building that are used for personal hygiene which are emptied following use
  • Inflatable swimming pools (typically toddler or wading pools) not capable of containing a depth of water greater than 300mm (30cm)
  • Water supply/storage tanks
  • Dams, rivers, creeks and lakes.

 

What do I do now?

1. Register your pool or spa with Council:

 Property owners, including landlords, are required to register their pool or spa with Council by 1 June 2020. You can register your swimming pools or spa with Council via its online portal – you'll start by entering your address.  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. 

If you have more than one swimming pool or spa (for example: an in-ground swimming pool, an above-ground spa and an above-ground swim spa) you can register and list them all on the register at the same time.

Council will maintain the register of swimming and spas within the municipality through owner registrations, maintaining and reviewing existing Council records and, where possible, reviewing aerial photography to ensure the database is up to date.

When you register your swimming pool or spa with Council, you will be required to provide information to verify the approximate construction or erection date of your swimming pool or spa. This information is important for establishing the regulations and standards that will apply to the compliance requirements of your safety barrier. You will also be required to provide information about any alterations that have been made to your safety barrier that may affect the regulations and standards that apply.

As part of the registration process, Council will write back to you confirming that your swimming pool or spa has been registered together with confirmation of the construction or erection date derived from Council records and the applicable regulations and standards that will apply. You will also be advised as to the final date by which you will be required to have lodged a Certificate of Pool Barrier Compliance with Council.

2. Ensure that your Pool or Spa Safety barrier is inspected for compliance by a registered Building Practitioner:

 Property owners will also be required to have their swimming pool and/or spa barriers inspected and certified by Barrier Inspector. This certification will state that the pool safety barrier of a swimming pool or spa complies with the applicable standard. The requirements vary depending on when the swimming pool or spa was constructed or installed.

3. Lodge a copy of the Certificate of Barrier Compliance with Council.

Timeframes for compliance

Existing swimming pools and spas must be registered with Council by 1 June 2020. 

New swimming pools or spas constructed after 1 June 2020 must be registered within 30 days of receiving the relevant Occupancy Permit or Certificate of Final Inspection.

A relocatable swimming pool or spa if erected for more than three consecutive days, must be registered on or before

(a) 4 June 2020, if the relocatable swimming pool or relocatable spa was erected three or more days before 1 June 2020 and remains erected on 1 June 2020; or
(b)  the fourth day after the relocatable swimming pool or relocatable spa was erected in any other case.

Fees and costs 

Information about Fee Units is available here.

  • Registering your pool or Spa (compulsory at registration) – 2.15 Fee Units
  • Search fee (compulsory at registration) – 3.19 Fee Units
  • Total Registration Fees – 2.15 + 3.19 = 5.34 Fee Units
  • Have your pool safety barrier/s inspected and certified by a registered Building Surveyor or Building Inspector (This price will vary depending on the inspection service providers)
  • Lodging a Certificate of Barrier with Council – 1.38 Fee Units
  • Lodging a Certificate of Barrier Non-Compliance with Council – 26 Fee Units

 

Penalties

Information about Penalty Units is available here.

  • Failing to register your pool/spa – 10 penalty units
  • Failure to lodge a Certificate of barrier compliance with Council – 10 Penalty Units
  • Failure to lodge a Certificate of Barrier Non-Compliance with Council – 10 penalty units
  • Failure to maintain the safety barrier, and while in use – 50 Penalty Units

 

Notes

  • The fees for registration and the lodging of certificates with Council are set by the Victoria Parliament through legislative processes and are subject to annual CPI increase.
  • The fees and costs associated with the inspection and certification of pool safety barriers will vary according to the individual Barrier Inspector you engage and according to your particular circumstances.
  • The new laws only relate to registration, inspection and certification of pool safety barriers. The requirements to maintain compliant pool safety barriers have not changed and the compliance standards are the same as they were previously.

More information is available on the VBA website.


Updated : 3:48 PM, 12 February 2020

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