New Safety Compliance Laws
The NSW government has introduced new pool safety compliance laws. As a pool owner, you are responsible for ensuring your pool is enclosed and access to it by children is restricted at all times. You are also responsible for ensuring that it complies with relevant Australian Standards and laws.
- From April 29, 2013 all properties with a swimming pool and or spa pool must register their backyard swimming pools in an online register which is provided by the NSW State Government. A penalty of up to $220 may apply for failing to register a swimming pool or spa pool. To register your pool, visit the website hereand follow the instructions. Alternatively, you can register your pool at the office of your local council for a small fee of up to $10.00.
- Pool owners will be required to self-assess and state in the register that to the best of their knowledge, their pool complies with the applicable standard. Pool inspection self-assessment checklistsfor you to self-assess can be found here.
- Provide a valid swimming pool compliant certificate prior to selling/leasing the property from 29 April 2016.
Registering your pool and/or spa
It is compulsory for all residential pools and spas to be registered.
Selling or leasing a property with a pool and/or spa
From 29 April 2016, a pool owner must obtain a Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate before they can sell or lease their property.
Tourist and visitor accommodation
A Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate is required for properties on which there is tourist and visitor accommodation or more than 2 dwellings at least once every 3 years.
How do I get a swimming Pool certificate of compliance?
Your local council or an accredited E1 certifier registered with the Building Professionals Board (BPB) can conduct an inspection and issue a certificate if the pool meets all the safety requirements.
SPASA has a number of E1 Certifier members that you can access here in the “Find a Member” section of our website.
- A swimming pool and/or spa pool certificate of compliance cannot be issued to an unregistered pool/spa.
- A swimming pool and/or spa Certificate of Compliance is valid for a period of three years from the date of issue, so long as the fencing remains compliant in that time.
How can I check if a pool has a certificate of compliance?
The NSW Swimming Pool Register provides information on registered pools and whether a certificate of compliance has been issued. You can search the register by the property address here.
This search will provide a valid Registration Certificate and Compliance Certificate (where it exists). If your search does not return a valid pool Compliance Certificate, it does not mean that the pool is not compliant; it may be that the inspection process is yet to be completed. You should contact your local council or private certifier for further information.
Do I need a Certificate of Compliance if I already have an Occupation Certificate?
You do not need to obtain a Certificate of Compliance if you have an Occupation Certificate that is less than three years old.
What happens if a pool doesn’t comply at the time of inspection?
If a pool and/or spa is inspected and the barrier is found to be non-compliant with the pool safety requirements, the council inspector or private certifier will provide the owner with written details of any non-compliances found as well as what is required to achieve compliance.
NOTE: Home owners should never rely on verbal advice or directions provided by a Council inspector or Private Certifier in relation to alleged non-compliances.
Home owners should demand that any advice be in writing and that the advice properly articulates any non-compliance as well as identifies and lists the relevant clauses within the legislation, Standard and Building Code of Australia they are asking the home owner to comply with.
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
The owner of the pool and/or spa may be liable for a penalty of up to $5,500 for non-compliance with the pool safety requirements. On-the-spot fines of $550 can also apply.
Enforcement action is taken by local councils, and may be triggered by a complaint or concern raised by a neighbour, or during a routine inspection of the swimming pool as part of the council’s pool safety inspection program.
The Swimming Pools Act 1992 and its regulations work together with Australian Standard 1926 (AS1926) to establish the safety standards for ‘backyard’ swimming pools. These documents have been updated a number of times and, as a result, apply differently at different points in time.
The legislation can be found here:
The Australian Standard (AS1926) is a document protected by copyright and cannot be reproduced here. Your local council should have a copy of the Standard available for viewing. The relevant versions of the Australian Standard are dated 1986, 2007 and 2012.
A swimming pool is defined as a structure that is capable of being filled with 300mm of water or more and is used for swimming and other water activities. This includes: concrete pools, fibreglass pools, inflatable pools, temporary or wading Pools, above ground pools and spas.
According to the Swimming Pools Act 1992, swimming pools must be surrounded by a Child- Resistant Barrier. It is the pool owner’s responsibility to ensure your swimming pool barrier is in good repair and good working condition.