"The most effective way consumers can protect their financial and legal position is to use a builder who is registered with the Victorian Building Authority(VBA), specifically in the categories of 'Domestic Builder Unlimited' or 'Domestic Builder – Limited Swimming Pools’, SPASAVIC CEO Chris Samartzis said. “The best way to ensure a stress-free experience is to use a SPASAVIC Pool Builder Member."
There are three essential questions prospective pool or spa owners should ask:
1. Are you a Registered Building Practitioner?
2. Are you a SPASAVIC Pool Builder Member?
3. Do you use a SPASAVIC Pool Construction Contract?
Unregistered and inexperienced pool builders can talk unknowing homeowners into accepting all of the responsibility for building faults or structural failures of a pool or spa by getting them to become an ‘owner builder’.
This means that the builder avoids having to provide domestic building insurance for works over $16,000 - which is mandatory for all registered pool builders.
In order to contract a Registered Building Practitioner to undertake work, you must be provided with a major domestic building contract for work over $10,000. For work over $16,000, the Registered Building Practitioner must also provide you with Domestic Building Insurance (DBI).
"It’s usually only when a homeowner attempts to sell their home, within six and a half years of the pool being built or renovated, that they find out they are legally bound to provide domestic building insurance before the sale can go ahead." Mr Samartzis said. "What most ‘owner builders’ don't realise is that they become liable for issues, such as damage to a neighbour's property, or a worker being injured on site. This could see the ‘owner builder’ entangled in expensive legal battles for compensation."
Pool Barriers Are Law
The VBA advises that a building permit is required for all pools or spas with a depth of water of more than 30cm, regardless of whether construction is being undertaken by an ‘owner builder’ or not. The building permit application must also include details of the proposed safety barriers.
Following building completion of a pool or spa, and installation of a permanent barrier, the relevant building surveyor must inspect the work and - if compliant – issue a Certificate of Final Inspection for the building permit and a Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Compliance And Council Registration For the Safety Barrier. Homeowners must ensure they receive these certificates before using their pool or spa, in order to keep their family safe."
Here are five important steps homeowners should take before proceeding with the installation of a pool or spa:
1. Get a building permit from a registered building surveyor. Check with your local council or use the Find a practitioner link on the VBA website.
3. Ask to see a copy of the builder's domestic building insurance policy for the work and also the public liability insurance policy.
4. Check if the builder is a Pool Builder Member of SPASAVIC. All SPASAVIC Pool Builder members must have the correct insurances and be registered with the VBA.
If COVID-19 is preventing you from swimming at your local pool, why not enjoy doing what you love in your own backyard?
This year, as COVID-19 threatens to delay the opening of public swimming pools and clubs, consider getting a backyard swimming pool or spa.
You’re not alone if you’ve been itching to set up your own private backyard oasis as this pandemic drags on. In fact, according to the Swimming Pool & Spa Association CEO, Chris Samartzis, “Due to COVID-19 and the trepidation with travel, people are taking their money and investing it in a backyard pool.”
So what type of swimming pool should I get?
There are so many varieties of swimming pools available – from large, high-end in-ground concrete pools through to fibreglass, vinyl-lined and small lap or plunge pools, there’s a SPASAVIC member that can provide you with your perfect solution.
Regardless of the size and shape of your backyard - and your budget - there is a pool or spa for everyone.
Ongoing maintenance is a must to ensure satisfactory water chemistry, sanitation, and the overall appearance of your pool. "If left untreated, your pool water could grow algae blooms or become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and serious bacteria like E. coli," Mr Samartzis says.
Private pool and spa owners now have until 1 November 2020 to register their pools with their local council – an extension of five months from the original 1 June deadline.
Swimming Pool & Spa Association of Victoria (SPASAVIC) CEO, Chris Samartzis, says, “With the current Covid-19 environment causing people duress, extending the timelines for people to have their pools and spas registered is a welcomed response. We urge all pool and spa owners to register with their local councils by the 1st of November. It is a simple process that will provide a safe environment to enjoy the backyard pool or spa.”
The new deadline is an acknowledgement of the extra pressure on families and the increased workload on councils due to the pandemic.
Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne says,“We know many people are doing it tough and this gives owners and councils more time to comply with the new regulations ahead of next summer. Pool and spa ownership is a choice and with that choice comes the responsibility of making sure they are safe.”
The Government introduced new regulations in December last year to make swimming pools and spas safer and prevent young children from drowning.
These changes require owners to register their pools and spas with their local council with a one-off fee of up to $79.
Once registration is complete, the council will inform the pool owner of the date by which they must organise their first inspection and certification of their barrier – the deadline for owners to lodge their first barrier certification will also be extended.
In addition, owners must have a registered building surveyor or inspector certify the continuing compliance of their safety barrier every four years.
Owners who fail to register their pool or spa with their council by 1 November 2020 may face an on-the-spot fine of $330.
For more information on the Victorian Government’s pool safety reforms, visit vba.vic.gov.au
For further information please contact:
Kathryn Barres – Marketing Communications Co-ordinator
For Media Comment: Chris Samartzis, CEO SPASA Victoria – 0418 443 758
What keeps you grounded? It is different with every individual. For some, it is the thought of gazing under the stars on a warm summer night. For others, it’s basking by the beach, taking in the salty fresh air, soaking up the sun with sandy toes. Everyone envisions their ultimate tranquility scene from time to time – especially during these last few unpredictable months.
In an age of uncertainty, it is important to stay centered, and it’s crucial to make the time in one’s day to do so. With everyone spending so much time at home lately, creating a serene space in your own back yard can be the first step in feeding the body and mind the quietude it deserves.
Soake Pools is the product of Karen and Brian Larson; a six-year-old business based out of Pembroke, N.H., with a goal of “extending the living space to the outdoors.”
Karen thought of this particular business opportunity after she and her husband had a hard time finding something similar to a plunge pool for their own backyard. “We developed the product from our own personal experience,” Karen said.
She was looking for an oasis – something small and versatile that added elegance and serenity to her backyard without breaking the bank or requiring a lot of maintenance. “Our mantra is, ‘install a vacation in your backyard,’ and it’s very true!” she said. “It makes a great addition to any home.”
Soake Pools specifically hones in on the recent surge of the “small pool,” (or “plunge pool”) trend. When considering a plunge pool, there are several factors to contemplate, which are specific to each homeowner. For one, plunge pools use considerably less water than a traditionally constructed large pool. They come equipped with variable speed pumps, resulting in cost and environmental efficiency as well as overall reduced energy usage. The appeal is certainly there – who wouldn’t want to add a luxuriously tranquil pocket-sized pool that leaves a smaller carbon footprint?
Unlike conventionally built pools that are crafted ideally for swimming, plunge pools are designed for cooling off, relaxing and general wading and lounging. “Plunge pools are similar to Roman baths,” Karen said.
These small slices of aquatic paradise come tiled on the inside and with soothing lights, effectively creating a lavishly zen atmosphere.
More often than not, newer homes are typically assembled on smaller lots, so opting for a plunge pool is a great way to own a pool without it dominating the space. Small pools come in several sizes - the range of sizes offer perfect placement options in areas with gardens, patios or other limited outdoor spaces.
In addition, plunge pools offer versatility in terms of design, and make an excellent addition to any landscape architecture. Homeowners who install plunge pools outdoors sometimes also include a water feature, like a water wall or a sheer descent waterfall. Small pools can easily adapt to any backyard, successfully adding a sense of tranquility and beauty every single time.
Plunge pools are also unique in that they have an optional salt water sanitation system instead of a typical chlorine sanitizer. Not only do salt water sanitation systems produce a smooth, silky salt water, but they require less chemicals, simplify general upkeep, and produce astounding health and beauty benefits – from therapeutic effects to glowing skin. Salt water therapy has been an effective therapeutic treatment for centuries, and salt water plunge pools help to prove the timelessly classic truth.
Plunge pools are also excellent for aquatic exercise and hydrotherapy. With aquatic exercise comes stress relief on the joints, tension relief on the body and general pain reduction. These particular pools can be used year-round, maintaining optimum temperatures during the unpredictable New England seasons, and making them the perfect aquatic exercise outlet all year.
“I call it a ‘hybrid’ – a mix between a pool and a hot tub,” Karen said. The outcome of each individual plunge pool is unique to its design, and customers have limitless possibilities to crafting a pool specific to their needs and wants.
The overall process of acquiring a small pool is extremely simple. The designers will precast the customized product and deliver it to the property, plumber-prepared and ready to be dropped into the hole that had been dug prior. This less disruptive installation process is effortless and less messy; the small pool will arrive fully finished and delivered on a truck, effectively reducing the installation time by months. This is a huge advantage – owners will get to enjoy their pools almost immediately.
With the recent pandemic raging on, Karen has found herself inundated with phone calls and emails asking about crafting together a plunge pool. Between everyone having the free time to look into this year’s trendiest backyard accessories and coming to terms with the fact that they might be stuck at home for a majority of the summer, many are acting on their desire to acquire the pool they’ve always wanted. Generally speaking, people are spending more on their outdoor spaces, and a tiny cocktail style pool can be an excellent, cost-efficient addition. Plunge pools can also increase the property value and aesthetic of one’s home, so they’re a great addition when looking to add resale value.
In an ambiguous time when many feel unbalanced, it is important to be reminded that there can be peace within the chaos. Rejuvenating the intimate spaces of your home can be an excellent place to start. Take the time to unwind, appreciate the smaller pleasures in life, and know there will always be time to enjoy the personal gratifications.
Plunge pools, in varying styles and sizes, can turn any outdoor space into a tranquil oasis.
SPASA Victoria Members are Industry Professionals.
For all your swimming pool and spa related needs, we’ve got a member who can help:
Bound by SPASAVIC’s Code of Ethics, SPASAVIC members must have a demonstrated history of ethical and competent trading and carry sufficient public liability insurance cover at all times to protect consumers and contractors on your project.
SPASAVIC members perform all work in accordance with Australian Government Standards and have access to training programs to ensure their construction staff carries out all work with technical excellence.
Only SPASAVIC members can issue you with a SPASAVIC Domestic Building contract. Beware of unregistered pool builders with no contract, or any pool builders with a less than adequate contract.
Remember that all SPASAVIC Members:
SPASAVIC members set themselves apart from the rest of the industry by setting a high standard of skill, workmanship and ethical business behaviour in the best interests of pool and spa owners.
Enter Now For Your Chance to WIN a Year’s FREE Supply of Pool Chemicals!
Simply provide SPASAVIC with your name, email address and a photo showing how you and your family are enjoying your backyard pool in this time of home quarantine. Don't forget to include your location in Victoria and up to 100 words describing what owning a backyard pool or spa means to you!
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