search iconlogin icon

29 November 2019

New Laws to Improve Swimming Pool and Spa Safety

On 1 December 2019, new laws to improve swimming pool and spa safety will come into effect in Victoria.

As of 1 December 2019, it will be mandatory for owners of land where a swimming pool or spa is located, to register their pool or spa with their relevant council. In addition, owners are now required to obtain and lodge a compliance certificate for the safety of their pool or spa barrier every four years.

Owners will need to engage a registered building surveyor or building inspector to carry out an inspection and issue the compliance certificate.

Once a pool or spa is registered, the local council will notify owners of the due date for the first certificate of pool barrier compliance. Owners are required to arrange an inspection and lodge the certificate with their local council by the due date.

SPASA Victoria CEO, Chris Samartzis, applauds the Andrews Government for bringing in this new legislation that will ensure the safety of all Victorians.

“Backyard pool and spa owners can now relax and enjoy the fantastic lifestyle that comes with pool and spa ownership, knowing that their wonderful asset will now be safer than ever. This legislation will help focus attention on a critical component of pools and spas. The regulations allow for a low-cost environment to deal with mandatory barrier inspections and we applaud the state government for a well thought out piece of legislation.” says SPASA Victoria CEO, Chris Samartzis.

Registration of pools and spas

Victorian backyard pool and spa owners have until 1 June 2020 to register their pool or spa with their local council. The maximum fee that a council can charge is $31.84.

For pools and spas constructed prior to 1 June 2020 that have an unknown construction date, an information search fee may be charged, up to a maximum of $47.24.

Pools and spas constructed after 1 June 2020 must be registered within 30 days after issue of occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection.

Inspection and lodgement of certificate of barrier compliance for pools and spas

  • For pools and spas constructed on or before 30 June 1994, a certificate of barrier compliance must be lodged by 1 June 2021
  • For pools and spas constructed between 1 July 1994 and 1 May 2010, a certificate of barrier compliance must be lodged by 1 June 2022
  • For pools and spas constructed between 1 May 2010 and 31 May 2020, a certificate of barrier compliance must be lodged by 1 June 2023

For pools and spas constructed on or after 1 June 2020, a certificate of barrier compliance is due within 30 days of occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection. This certificate must accompany an application for registration. The next certificate of compliance is due four years after registration.

Hefty fines will apply for pool and spa owners who do not register their pool or spa.

The fee for lodging a certificate of pool and spa barrier compliance will be up to a maximum of $20.50, with certificates of compliance being required to be lodged once every four years.

Pool owners will have 60 days to bring their pools into compliance, if an inspector identifies any non-compliant safety concerns.

These new regulations also introduce a new class of registered building inspector: Building Inspector (Pool Safety). This new class of building inspector will be limited to carrying out inspections and associated functions for the purposes of the new regulations only.

The state government introduced this new scheme after numerous coronial investigations found that un-maintained and non-compliant pool barriers had contributed to the deaths of children in backyard pools.

The Victorian Coroner recommended strengthened pool safety laws after investigating several drowning cases.

“As the peak body of the swimming pool and spa industry in Victoria, SPASA Victoria is delighted that these new safety measures will increase the enjoyment of pool and spa ownership for all Victorians”, said SPASA Victoria CEO, Chris Samartzis.

For more information visit www.vba.vic.gov.au/consumers/swimming-pools

SPASA Victoria Media Release - New Laws to Improve Swimming Pool and Spa Safety - 29 November 2019

Victorian Government Media Release - Keeping Kids Safe With New Pool Safety Regulations - 29 November 2019

 

1st August 2019

Backyard Swimming Pools Just Got a Whole Lot Safer and More Enjoyable in Victoria!

From 1st December this year, local councils will register all backyard pools and spas in their area, with property owners being required to submit a current certificate of compliance for their pool or spa safety barrier.

SPASA Victoria CEO Chris Samartzis, applauds the Andrews Government for bringing in this new legislation that will ensure the safety of all Victorians. “Backyard pool and spa owners can now relax and enjoy the fantastic lifestyle that comes with pool and spa ownership, knowing that their wonderful asset will now be safer than ever. Thank you Minister Richard Wynne,” says SPASA Victoria CEO, Chris Samartzis.

It is proposed that local councils will take charge of this mandatory registration scheme from December, with all pool owners required to contact their council by April 14 next year and pay the proposed small $37 registration fee.

Inspection certificates for all pools built before 1994 must be lodged by 30 October 2020. For pools built between 1994 and 2010, it is proposed that owners will have until 30 April 2021, with all pools built after 2010 requiring to be certified by 29 October 2021.

It is also proposed that councils will charge pool and spa owners a $20 fee to lodge their inspection compliance certificates, a process they will be required to undertake just once every three years. Households are also tipped to have 20 days to bring their pools into compliance if an inspector identifies any safety concerns.

The state government introduced this new scheme after numerous coronial investigations found that un-maintained and non-compliant pool barriers had contributed to the deaths of children in backyard pools.

The Victorian Coroner recommended strengthened pool safety laws after investigating several drowning cases.

“As the peak body of the swimming pool and spa industry in Victoria, SPASA Victoria is delighted that these new safety measures will increase the enjoyment of pool and spa ownership for all Victorians”, said SPASA Victoria CEO, Chris Samartzis.

Read SPASA Victoria's Media Release HERE

 

21 September 2018

The Swimming Pool & Spa Association of Victoria is today elated at the State Government’s decision to implement a mandatory barrier inspection program in Victoria.

This decision comes after a long-running campaign by SPASA Victoria - and other leading industry stakeholders - who have stridently promoted the importance of a mandatory barrier inspection program in Victoria for many years.

It was only one year ago that SPASA Victoria - along with many other industry stakeholders – were surprised at the Government’s announcement of proposed new legislation which would have forced thousands of pool and spa owners to endure the inconvenience and expense of re-fencing their pool and/or spa areas for no guaranteed improved safety outcome.

“It is with great delight that the decision to implement a mandatory barrier inspection program in Victoria has been made by the Government. To their credit, the Andrews Government saw the logic and reason behind our advocacy. With the support of the opposition, the community and other leading industry stakeholders, this critical piece of legislation has now been officially passed in Parliament. Our advocacy and reasoning has been heard and acted upon. Thank you Minister Richard Wynne,” says SPASA Victoria CEO, Chris Samartzis.

After years of heavy media promotion along with highly strategic advocacy, the hard work and passion of those within the pool and spa industry has delivered a great result for Victoria.

SPASA Victoria Media Release - SPASA Victoria Claims Victory on Backyard Pool & Spa Safety

 

6th April 2018

SPASA Victoria Claims Victory On Long Running Pool & Spa Safety Campaign

As announced on Neil Mitchell’s 3AW Melbourne radio program this morning, SPASA Victoria are today elated at the State Government’s decision to implement a mandatory pool and spa barrier inspection program in place of the proposed retrospective barrier legislation.

This decision comes after a long-running campaign by SPASA Victoria - and other leading industry stakeholders - who have stridently promoted the importance of a mandatory pool and spa barrier inspection program in Victoria for many years.

It was only six months ago that SPASA Victoria - along with many other industry stakeholders - were shocked at the Government’s announcement of proposed legislation which would compel pool and spa owners to comply retrospectively with safety barrier laws, forcing thousands of people to endure the inconvenience and expense of re-fencing their pool and/or spa areas for no guaranteed improved safety outcome.

“It is with delight that the decision to implement a mandatory barrier inspection program and reverse the proposal of retrospective barrier legislation has been made by the State Government,” says SPASA Victoria CEO, Brendan Watkins.

“Today we have won the great safety debate. We are pleased that the Andrews Government has listened and respected the research, knowledge and experience of those within the pool and spa industry. After many years of being ignored on this topic, this is a victory for SPASA Victoria as well as all of the industry stakeholders. A mandatory pool & spa barrier inspection program will save lives.”


After years of heavy media promotion along with highly strategic behind-the-scenes advocacy, the hard work and passion of those within the pool and spa industry has finally paid off.

The Andrews Government will introduce this new legislation to parliament in June, and the new mandatory pool and spa register and inspection regime will be in place by the 2019 summer season.

Under this regulatory overhaul, households will need to register their pool or spa with their local council and declare their pool barriers compliant. A regular regime of inspections as frequent as every three years will then be enforced.

Victorian Government Media Release - Overhaul To Keep Kids Safe Around Pools And Spas
SPASA Victoria Media Release - SPASA Victoria Claims Victory - 6 April 2018​

_____________________________________________

4th April 2018

SPASA Victoria is Today Celebrating a Huge Win for Victorian Pool & Spa Owners - and the Industry as a Whole

The proposed ‘Retrospective’ pool barrier upgrade laws have been abandoned by State Government due to SPASA Victoria 's extensive advocacy campaign.

The final decision on a mandatory barrier inspection program in Victoria will be announced shortly. It is hoped State Government continues to see merit in the significant safety enhancement provided by a regular inspection program of residential pool and spa barriers.


Six months ago SPASA Victoria - along with several industry stakeholders - was shocked at the Government’s announcement of draft legislation which was to compel pool and spa owners to comply with 'retrospective' safety barrier laws. It would have compelled many thousands of pool and spa owners to upgrade their barriers to comply to current regulations by 2020 - for no guaranteed improved safety outcome.

"By abandoning retrospective barrier laws, Minister Richard Wynne has made an informed decision that will save undue hardship on tens of thousands of Victorian pool and spa owners. The voice of reason has been heard. There is scant evidence that retrospective barrier laws would save lives. However, mandatory barrier inspections undoubtedly enhance toddler safety outcomes – this is clearly the legislation Government must introduce.

Government have got it half right – walking away from the unproven retrospective laws is sensible. The problem in Victoria is that pool fences aren’t being maintained. The majority of Australian pools and spas are covered by a mandatory barrier regime. It’s time for the Victorian Government to get on board," says Brendan Watkins, CEO of SPASA Victoria.

Wide Ranging New Victorian Building Regulations to Commence on 2 June 2018

Every ten years, Victorian legislation requires that existing building regulations be reviewed and remade - this process is known as “sunsetting”. In May 2017 the Victorian Government released a consultation version of new Building Regulations. SPASA Victoria provided information to members about this version last year and made a submission to Government in response to what was proposed.

The 10 Key Areas of Regulatory Change Are:

  1. New forms and further requirements to make sure that the permits, orders and notices include the information that is needed
  2. The Regulations have been modernised for the electronic use of documents for permits
  3. Updated requirements for the chief officer, RBSs and building practitioners in relation to documenting performance solutions
  4. New building permit reporting requirements commencing on 1 July 2019
  5. New obligations for the RBS to provide notice 30 days prior to a building permit lapsing to minimise lapsed permits
  6. Clear obligations on the RBS and the owner to inform the adjoining owner about protection work
  7. Introducing a new mandatory notification stage and inspections if the building work includes fire and smoke resistant building elements, which are lightweight construction in multi-storey residential buildings, and service penetrations in multi-storey residential and healthcare buildings. The Regulations also clarify the prescribed mandatory notification stages for demolition work or the construction of a pool
  8. The Regulations clarify the obligations of owners in relation to ESM maintenance, and encourage the uptake of maintenance schedules to simplify information for the owner. They also clarify the notification requirements in relation to pool barriers
  9. As-of-right construction of a Class 10a building with a floor area not exceeding 10m2 on undeveloped land
  10. Formalising the process for granting a determination to treat two or more allotments as a single allotment for the purpose of a building permit application
SPASA Victoria will shortly receive a briefing from the VBA on the detail of the above.
We will keep members posted on the detail of these amendments as soon as they come to hand.