Pool safety - top tips

Date: 2 March 2021

Chris Short from the Association of Building Consultants shares his top tips on how to keep your pool sparkling and safe.

Get it checked. Tap into the experience of a specialist inspector to have a safety check done on the pool to confirm whether the fencing system and gates are compliant. Gates need to swing away from the pool area and automatically latch when closing. Other dangers can include gaps around the safety fence of more than 100mm, climbable objects right against fencing and gates and fencing that are not rigid enough.

Rules and regulations. If you’ve bought a home with a pool already installed then consider making an enquiry with the local council about the Development Application (DA) date for the pool. If the pool was installed pre-30 June 1993 it is classed as a “prescribed pool” under the Development Act and all compliance features, such as safety fencing and gates, must be in place by the time of the property settlement. If installation was after that date then different rules apply for boundary fencing and child resistant doors if they are part of the access control system. Regardless, legislation requires the swimming pool safety to be brought up to current standards. If you are selling a home with a pool, this is your responsibility, not the purchaser’s.

Maintenance matters. Maintaining a pool is one of the biggest responsibilities around a home. Water needs to be regularly tested, chemicals and acids need to be handled and safely stored, and barrier systems – such as gates and fences – all need to be regularly checked.

Spa safety. It often comes as a surprise to many homeowners, but spas must also have effective and safe access control and Council approval. A spa cover cannot be used as a safety barrier because it can be removed. Gates and the safety barrier must be checked regularly and maintained so they continue to work effectively.

Peace of mind. There’s a growing number of vendors who are now having a pool safety inspection completed before putting the property onto the market because it gives peace of mind to potential buyers that a pool is compliant.

www.buildinginspectors.org.au