New pool safety legislation came into effect on 1 January 2017. The Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 repeals the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 and includes new provisions in the Building Act 2004 relating to residential pools.
Residential pools (including portable pools) that are filled or partly filled with water must have physical barriers that restrict access by unsupervised children under five years of age. This requirement applies to pools that can be filled with water to a depth of 400mm or more.
Key changes include:
- A new requirement for mandatory inspections of swimming pools every three years
- Allowing lockable safety covers to be used as barriers for spa pools and hot tubs
- Introducing additional enforcement tools for territorial authorities, including notices to fix.
Portable pools are treated in the same way as other residential pools. They must have barriers that restrict access by young children if they are filled or partly filled with water. Portable pools with a maximum depth of water of less than 400mm are exempt.
Non-compliant pools will be issued with a notice to fix under the Building Act, failure to comply with a notice to fix can incur a Court fine of $5000.
Please contact your local council to ensure your pool is compliant.
Why fence pools?
Research shows that fencing reduces drowning of young children in home pools.
Drownings decreased dramatically after the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act was enacted in 1987. Before pool fencing legislation was enacted, an average of 10 young children per year drowned in residential swimming pools. This average has reduced to two young children per year. Most of the children who have drowned were under three years of age.
For more information on your obligations click on the following links: New pool safety legislation Restricting access by young children to residential pools
You can cut the risks even further by:
- always supervising children in or near a pool;
- maintaining the fence and gate in good condition;
- always making sure the gate to the pool is safely shut;
- setting rules of behaviour around the pool and teaching your child water safety and swim and
- clearing away toys and flotation aids from the pool area when not in use;
- NEVER prop open the pool gate;
- learn first aid and resuscitation.