On 1 December 2019, new laws to improve child safety in and around pools and spas came into effect in Victoria.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of preventable death in young children aged 0 to 5 years, and in Victoria, 40 per cent of drowning incidents in this age group occur in home swimming pools.
The new laws introduce new registration, inspection, maintenance and compliance requirements for property owners.
As of Sunday, 1 December 2019:
It is now mandatory for owners of land where a swimming pool or spa is located to register their pool or spa with the relevant council. This must be done by 1 June 2020.
The new laws apply to swimming pools and spas that are capable of holding more than 300mm (30cm) of water. This includes permanent pools, above ground pools, indoor pools, hot tubs, bathing or wading pools and some relocatable pools.
Relocatable pools that do not consist of multiple components and do not require any assembly are not subject to the barrier requirements. An example of such a product is a small inflatable pool that requires no assembly other than inflation.
Pool and spa owners must also obtain and lodge a certificate demonstrating the safety compliance of their pool and spa barrier every four years.
An appropriately qualified building surveyor or building inspector must carry out an inspection and provide a compliance certificate.
Furthermore, a new class of building inspector, limited to pool safety, was also introduced.
The eligibility requirements for registration in this new class are:
- The successful completion of a course in swimming pool and spa safety barrier inspection delivered by a Registered Training Organisation and approved by the Victorian Building Authority; and
- At least six months of practical experience.
The Victorian Building Authority will provide further information once courses become available, which is expected to be early next year.
For now, information on swimming pools and spas in Victoria can be found here.