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SPASA WNP logo 2018Since the collaboration and intellectual property sharing of our Water Neutral Pool Program with the South African Pool & Spa Association last year, the benefits of this innovative water-saving initiative are now being recognised and adopted internationally.

The drought in South Africa’s Western Cape Region was so severe, it was having a negative impact on their swimming pool industry, so much so that there was a proposal from the City of Cape Town council to put an indefinite ban on the construction and installation of all new swimming pools.

South Africa is by nature a water scarce region and in recent years, climate change has caused several droughts around the country. These conditions continue to affect a great many pool owners. The Western Cape in particular continues to face a severe drought, the most extreme in more than 100 years.

The members of South Africa's National Spa & Pool Institue (NSPI) have an innate respect for water and therefore launched this Water Neutral Pool initiative to encourage all pool owners to convert their existing pools to become Water Neutral.

All NSPI Members highly recommend that new pool owners follow the criteria to meet the standards of a Water Neutral Pool. They promote the important fact that owning a Water Neutral Pool will not only save water but will also minimise costs through reduced chemical, energy and water use. 

This success story illustrates how globally, we can all help to preserve our most valuable resource - water. And how pool ownership and conservation can easily and successfully go hand-in-hand. The Italian industry have also reached out to SPASA Victoria for assistance around water conservation for residential pools and are also adopting the Victorian program.

To see how South Africa's National Spa & Pool Institute has implemented SPASA Victoria's 'Water Neutral Pool Program' click HERE

aloha poty 2018 with nameCongratulations to Aloha Pools for winning 2018 Pool of the YearWith over 440 industry stakeholders in attendance, the SPASA Awards of Excellence Gala night is the largest industry event of its kind in Australia and the most anticipated industry event on the Victorian calendar.

A total of 43 Awards of Excellence categories made up the SPASA Victoria Awards of Excellence program, including major awards Product of the Year and Remco Pool of the Year.

The 2018 Remco Pool of the Year was awarded to Aloha Pools and the 2018 Product of the Year went to Supreme Heating for their Heatseeker DualSun product.

Hosted by former Winter Olympic gold medallist Steven Bradbury, guests were treated to pure hilarity and genuine on-stage entertainment from the Olympic champion-turned comedian.

A total of 70 Gold and Highly Commended awards were presented to well deserving SPASA Victoria members.

CEO of SPASA, Brendan Watkins said, "This year's record number of award entrants again demonstrates excellence across the board and proves that SPASA Victoria members are true leaders within the national industry. With Award entry numbers up 25% on last year, it shows healthy competition amongst our most passionate and talented members.”

“The Victorian pool and spa association represents a very mature industry which has evolved over the past 60 years to become truly world class. The innovation and sheer ‘wow factor’ present in Victorian backyards exceeds much of what is celebrated in Europe and America. There’s never been a better time to invest in a pool or spa.”

SPASA Life Member and ex-President John D’Arcy also announced Watkins as the inaugural SPASA Hall of Fame inductee.

With sumptuous food prepared by renowned caterer Epicure, along with images of all award entries prominently displayed up in lights on the MCG scoreboards - as well as video footage on the 'Around-the-Ground' LED Ribbons - a fabulous night was enjoyed by all!

aloha poty 2018 with nameThe 2018 Remco Pool of the Year 2018 was awarded to Aloha Pools

heatseakerThe 2018 Product of the Year Award was awarded to Supreme Heating for their Heatseeker DualSun Solar Electricity + Pool Heating System
A full list of award winners can be viewed HERE

Please see SPASA Victoria Media Release HERE

Michelle Rowcliff and Michael Husken with kids Charli and Cooper. Pic Jenny Evans.Source News LimitedMichelle Rowcliff and Michael Husken with kids Charli and Cooper. Pic Jenny Evans.Source News LimitedA pool is the one thing every Aussie wants at their house, according to a study of the online search habits of property seekers.

Swimming pools have become the most prized feature for house hunters looking to dive into the real estate market.

Data provided exclusively to the Saturday Daily Telegraph showed ‘pool’ was the most searched for attribute nationally on realestate.com.au

The term was searched nearly 270,000 times over the past six months in NSW alone, five times more than the 52,000 searches of “waterfront” — the second most searched term.

Other popular search terms in NSW include granny flat, which came in third with 34,000 searches, garage with 29,000 searches, pets with 25,500 clicks and beach, which had 21,800 views.

In Victoria the second most searched for term was ‘garage’, with ‘courtyard’ coming in third. In Queensland buyers favoured the acronym ‘NRAS’, which stands for National Rental Affordability Scheme, as well as ‘pets’.

South and West Australian house hunters similarly searched for ‘pets’ and ‘granny flat’, while those in the ACT and Northern Territory were seeking a ‘furnished’ look.

The list also revealed some of the stranger search terms in NSW. Over 6000 people were nutty about ‘macadamias’, while ‘deer’ had 295 searches and ‘airstrip’ had 218 views.

Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said it was unsurprising pools were a popular choice as many people still looked for that “dream” of owning a home with a swimming pool.

“I think having a swimming pool is something people aspire to,” she said.

“Historically there was a view that pools don’t add value, but that seems to have changed.”

The results also reveal that Sydneysiders’ obsession with living near the water hasn’t waned, with many of the sought-after and exclusive suburbs situated near the harbour or beaches, Ms Conisbee added.

“There is a real drive to be near the water, other states have it but not on the same level as Sydney,” she said.

What was also interesting was the increase in demand for a granny flat.

Ms Conisbee said it was a combination of buyers looking for added rental income as well as others needing extra space for extended families.

“With current prices people are always be looking for a bit of extra income,” she said.

“We are also seeing children in their 20s staying at home longer so a separate building to accommodate them makes it bit more comfortable.”

Rich and Oliva property valuer Riccardo Errichiello further strengthened this view, indicating it was granny flats, not pools that were currently a more in demand commodity.

“The cost to build a granny flat is around $120,000. The value of the property would increase by that number and some more at least,” he said.

On average, a pool can add between $30,000 and $50,000 to the value of the house but it tends not to be a necessity.

“They are a capital improvement as long as they don’t take up the whole yard — sizing is a big factor,” Mr Errichiello said.

Families and investors are the two main groups who were seeking these additions, Mr Errichiello added, but there were still other factors like build quality, land size and location that were more important when buying.

When buying their new house in Concord, Michelle Rowcliff and husband Michael Husken weren’t necessarily looking for a home with a pool, but their two kids Cooper and Charli were.

The pair had been searching for a long term home with enough space for their growing family and the addition of a pool was the cherry on top.

“It was a pretty considerable factor because both kids had been keen for ages,” Mrs Rowcliff said.

Devine Real Estate’s Craig Stokes said the warm summer months were a catalyst in the rise of people looking for a pool.

“Pools come up a lot in the search criteria and are quite an important factor,” he said.

“Most people who build a dream home will always have a pool and people who buy older homes have putting in a pool as their first goal.”

Originally published as Home buyers look to dive into the market

New Victorian Pool Spa Fence LawsAs 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.

“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, particularly Kidsafe and Lifesaving Victoria. 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​

 

For further information please contact:

Brendan Watkins, CEO SPASA - 0417 385 929

New Victorian Pool Spa Fence LawsSPASA 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'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 - 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 Victorian State 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 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.

2013 SPASA Victoria Logo blueAlways Choose a SPASA Member!

Former AFL star Nick Stevens faces an investigation by the State building watchdog amid claims he owes substantial money to suppliers and has ripped off Mildura pool buyers.

The investigation centres on allegations his business ‘Leisure Pools Mildura’ installed swimming pools without permits. Police spokesperson Alex Day states in yesterday’s Herald Sun article that, “Police are investigating reports of alleged deception”.

Sunraysia Daily News claims, “Several customers who paid deposits to ‘Leisure Pools Mildura’ have been left with incomplete pools. Fibreglass pool shell supplier ‘Leisure Pools and Spas Manufacturing’ said it received complaints and now alleges the former Carlton and Port Adelaide player owes it a significant amount of money.”

For consumers who are about to undertake the exciting journey of building a swimming pool or spa, it is recommended that they carefully read the important information contained in the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Victoria (SPASA) website: www.spasavic.com.au/about-us/consumer-advice

CEO of SPASA, Brendan Watkins, says “The only way consumers can ensure a seamless construction of their backyard pool or spa is to contract a registered Pool Builder Member of SPASA Victoria. There are many industry-unique regulations, safety issues and mandatory insurances that come as standard with a VBA-registered Pool Builder.”

“Those that cut corners and go ‘Owner Builder’ - or worse - don’t obtain permits, are exposing themselves to significant safety and financial pain.  The association publishes a large array of free consumer advice, found HERE,” Mr Watkins said.

Here are the three questions consumers should always ask of their practitioner prior to engaging them:

  • “Are You A Registered Building Practitioner?”
  • “Are you a SPASA Pool Builder Member?”
  • “Do you use a SPASA Pool Construction Contract?”

SPASA Victoria members are at the forefront of the industry in regards to their experience, professionalism and reputation.

Bound by the Association’s strict Code of Ethics, all SPASA members have a demonstrated history of successful ethical trading and knowledge appropriate to their membership category. Consumers should look for the SPASA member logo to ensure they are dealing with an industry professional.

SPASA Pool Builder Members are pool builders with appropriate experience, practitioner registration and insurances. In order to become a member of the association they are required to demonstrate exemplary trade and consumer references.

SPASA Pool Builder Members also agree to perform all work in accordance with Australian Standards, and to meet all legal requirements. Only SPASA Pool Builder Members can issue you with a SPASA contract.

Anyone involved in a building project deserves to be confident in the practitioner they engage. It is in the best interests of practitioners AND consumers that only registered practitioners are used. Always check that your practitioner is registered.

Here are seven signs that your practitioner is Unregistered

If a building practitioner is not registered, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) can prosecute through the court system. The VBA website holds registration details of all registered practitioners, so it is easy to verify that a registration is current and that the practitioner is appropriately qualified to conduct the task for which they are being employed.

If you become aware of anyone offering to provide services without being registered, or you suspect there may be a registration issue, you can contact the VBA via the website or by phone on 1300 815 127.

Details of all Registered Building Practitioners are available on the VBA website at www.vba.vic.gov.au


Sunraysia Daily online news article ‘Nick Stevens under investigation: Former AFL star in pool probe’

Sunraysia Daily news article ‘Paperwork Before Pools – Stevens Faces Pool Probe’ – Saturday 3 March 2018

Herald Sun News - Police probe ex-AFL player Nick Stevens for deception

SPASA Victoria website Fact Sheet - The Questions You Should Ask

SPASA Victoria Fact Sheet – SPASA Members – The Industry Professionals

Buyer Beware: Kit Pools & Unregistered Pool Builders

Kit Pools & Owner Builders - Traps for Consumers

SPASA Victoria Media Release - AFL Star Pool Probe Highlights Unregistered Builder Danger - 7 March 2018

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