Swimming Pool Safety

The new swimming pool legislation I preempted on this blog site back in May has been gazetted, 2 days ago just in time to be seen as a Christmas present for parents. Concentrating only on new pools at this stage this is but a start on rolling out all the proposed changes as a result of the Coroner’s report I referred to in May.

The new laws will come into effect on January 1, 2014.The regulation amendments are about council inspections of new swimming pools upon completion of the permanent, approved child-safety barriers.
Inspections of existing swimming pools will be addressed in legislative proposals in 2014.

From 1 January 2014 amendments to the Development Regulations 2008 will require:

 The builder or owner to notify their local council when the construction of a new swimming pool
is completed, before it is filled with water. Councils will not be required to inspect the swimming
pool at this stage.

 The builder or owner to notify their local council when construction of the approved swimming
pool child-safety barriers has been completed.

 A new expiation penalty for failure to give either or both of the above notifications.

 Documentation submitted for approval of a new swimming pool, under Schedule 5, to include
details of its associated safety barriers and other safety features to ensure that building rules
consents issued for new swimming pools include the assessment and approval of all required
safety features and barriers.

A new lodgement fee of $170, payable on all new development applications involving a
swimming pool. The new fee is to compensate councils for the costs of inspecting new
swimming pools.

 Completion of the approved swimming pool child-safety barriers within two months of
completion of the swimming pool. This amendment recognises that it’s not always possible to
have the permanent approved barrier in place at the time of filling the pool with water.
Regulation 83B requires that a person must not fill the pool with water unless the pool is
enclosed by a barrier that complies with the Building Code. In effect, this allows the use of a
temporary barrier that complies with the Building Rules including AS 1926.1. Councils will not
be required to inspect temporary barriers, as it is recognised that the council or private certifier
would not have conducted an assessment of the temporary barrier. In consultation with the
industry it has been determined that two months is a reasonable amount of time for the
permanent approved barrier to be established. It is also appropriate to limit the amount of time
that a temporary barrier is in place.

Child-safety barriers will be included in Schedule 1A, along with swimming pools so that the associated
safety barriers are also excluded from requiring development plan consent. This will correct an anomaly
whereby a swimming pool is ‘building rules consent only’ but development plan consent is still required
for the associated child-safety barriers.
From 1 April 2014 amendments to the Development Regulations 2008 will require councils to have a
swimming pool inspection policy for all new pools (for which an application for Development Approval is
lodged from this date), upon completion of the permanent, approved child-safety barriers. Each
council’s inspection policy must specify inspections of at least 80% of all new swimming pools within its
council area within two weeks of completion of the child-safety barrier, and the remaining 20% within
two months.

Proposals for the remaining outcomes of the discussion paper are being prepared. These include:
 Regular inspections of all swimming pools
 Registration of all swimming pools
 All swimming pool child-safety barriers to comply with current safety standards within five years
and, or at change of property owner or tenant (whichever occurs first)
 Mandatory installation of warning notices/CPR signs to be displayed near swimming pools

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