Frequently Asked Questions

If I have an above-ground swimming pool or spa, do I need a safety barrier?

The walls of an above-ground swimming pool or spa provide a barrier if they are at least 1.2 m high from the ground level, and do not have a surface that allows a child to gain a foothold and climb into the swimming pool or spa. Any objects that could be climbable by a young child, such as a pool ladder, pool filter and pump equipment, should be properly fenced.

Can I have a door leading from my house into the pool?

Pool safety barriers installed from 1 May 2010 must not provide direct access from any building, such as a house or garage, into an outdoor pool area. For all swimming pools and spas constructed before 1 May 2010, or for which a building approval or building permit was issued before that date, a door that forms part of the safety barrier must be child-resistant, self-latching and self-closing. In the case of screen doors, it is recommended that these be of solid construction with a securely fitted mesh screen. The door must be kept closed and latched at all times, except when a person is using the door to enter or leave the pool area.

I have recently installed a cover over my swimming pool or spa. Does it comply with the legislation as a safety barrier?

No. Placing a cover or lid over the swimming pool or spa does not meet safety barrier regulations. You are required by law to provide a permanent safety barrier.

I need to replace my current barrier. Do I need a building permit?

If you are replacing an existing safety barrier with a new barrier you will need to comply with the current regulations. This work will require a building permit.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

The Building Act 1993 and the regulations prescribe fines that can be imposed on an owner or occupier who fails to comply with the swimming pool or spa regulations. Depending on the circumstances, fines can be several thousand dollars. Local councils are responsible for enforcing the regulations. The VBA can also prosecute for breaches of the swimming pool and spa regulations. An example of non-compliance may be failing to install self-closing or self-latching devices, or failure to maintain your swimming pool or spa barrier so that it operates effectively at all times.

A person claiming to be a building surveyor or inspector has recently visited my home requesting to inspect my pool or spa. Do I have to provide them with access to my home?

The owner must be given notice of the inspection and asked to give consent to allow access. If you choose not to allow access, the council or VBA may use their enforcement powers to allow them to enter without your consent. Request to see the officer's identification and, if you have any concerns, contact your local council or the VBA on 1300 815 127 to confirm their identity.

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