Pool Safety Certificate Inspections
As of December, 2015, every swimming pool in Queensland, Australia is required to be inspected and have a Pool Safety Certificate. This safety certificate is an official document that ensures that a pool complies with all the safety regulations and standards for pools in Queensland and must be provided by a licensed pool safety inspector.
Before an inspection can be performed, it is necessary to register your pool. This can be done online at the official Pool Safety Register. Once a pool has successfully been registered, it is necessary to ensure that it is compliant with all the required regulations before applying for a safety certificate.
1. Pool Barrier Requirements – Australia Pool Safety Standards
A pool is required to have a barrier to prevent easy access to the pool area – for example, a pool fence. The fence must meet with the following requirements:
– It must be at least 1,2m in height.
– The bottom of the fence must be at least 100mm above the ground.
– The spaces between the horizontal bars of the fence must be no less than 900mm.
– The spaces between the vertical bars may not be less than 100mm.
– No object can be placed within 900mm of the outside of pool fence which could make it easy to climb or within 300mm of the inside of the fence.
– The fence must be rigid, secured and undamaged.
– There can be no missing bars, rails or struts.
The access point or pool gate also needs to meet with specific standards:
– The gate must open outwards and not inwards.
– The gate must swing closed automatically from any open stationary position.
– The gate must have a self-latching or self-locking mechanism that latches automatically when the gate is closed manually or swings shut.
– There may be no mechanism that prevents the gate from closing such as a tie back or a prop.
– The latch or locking mechanism should be located on the inside of the gate at least 1,5m above the ground and 1,4m above a horizontal bar or rail.
– The hinges on the gate need to be 90cm apart and the bottom hinge must have a safety cap that prevents climbing.
– There can be no doors that provide direct access to the pool area.
– Windows that provide direct access must have a security screen or bars fitted or open no wider than 10cm.
These barrier measures need to be put in place to make the pool inaccessible to children and toddlers. If the barrier or gate does not comply with all the above specifications, it is recommended to make the necessary alterations before having a pool inspection performed and applying for a safety certificate. Remember to ensure that any alterations do not affect the integrity and security of the fence or gate.
2. Signage – CPR
A CPR safety and warning sign needs to be displayed prominently on the pool fence or within the swimming pool area. The sign should depict the steps to be taken in giving CPR in the event of a drowning or other accident in the pool area. These steps need to be displayed in a pictorial format.
As far as CPR signs are concerned the current standard according to ANZCOR is guideline 8 which has a slight change in terms of how CPR is administered. If you are looking to purchase a new CPR sign for your pool make sure it complies with guideline 8 which is the current standard. ANZCOR Guideline 8 – Click here.
If you are unsure whether your swimming pool meets with the required regulations, call a safety inspector for advice. If you are sure that your pool does meet with all the necessary compliance requirements, you can make an appointment with a pool safety inspector for a full inspection to be conducted.
NB: It is an offence under the Building Act 1975 for the owner to ask, within three months after a non-conformity notice is given, a person other than the who performed the original inspection to inspect the pool for the giving of a pool safety certificate:
Should the pool safety inspector find that there are any issues with compliance, you will be issued with a non-conformity notice. This document will detail the areas that require attention, repair or alterations. You will have 3 months within which to comply after being issued a Notice of Non-Conformity. If the owner wishes to ask another person to inspect the pool within three months after this notice is given, they may make a written request to the QBCC. If the QBCC gives the owner a written notice agreeing to the request, the owner can then ask another person to reinspect the pool without committing an offence. It is therefore a requirement that under normal circumstances the same pool inspector must be requested to do the re-inspection.
Your pool safety inspector may or may not be licensed to perform minor changes to the barrier, gate or other areas of non-compliance. The total cost of these minor repairs may however not exceed $3,300.
If non-conformity issues still exist, penalties will apply. These penalties are usually in the form of fines that can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
A pool safety certificate will only be issued when all the regulations and requirements have been met as determined by the inspector. The pool inspector needs to be reasonably satisfied that a pool is compliant.
Upon reasonable satisfaction, the pool safety inspector will apply for a certificate online through the Pool Safety Register. If your pool has not been registered, a certificate cannot be issued. The inspector needs to be licensed in order to log-in to the register and issue a certificate. Your pools registration can be checked using this link.
It is important to keep a record of the inspection as well as the pool safety certificate. You will need to present this to potential buyers should you wish to sell your property and transfer it to a new owner of the property.
It is essential for home buyers to insist on a safety certificate for a pool on the property or to ensure that an inspection has been performed before purchasing a property. If the pool does not comply with the requirements, the new home owner will become liable for any penalties associated with a Notice if Non-Conformity unless a certificate is issued before the sales agreement is finalised.
Fees for an inspection can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. Certificates are normally issued immediately upon compliance or within 24 hours of resolving issues detailed in a Form 26 – Notice of Non-conformity can be found by clicking here