- Friday 09 October 2015
Swimming pool owners across the Sunshine Coast have until the end of next month to ensure their pools - including spas and some portable pools - comply with the pool safety standard.
Regional Planning Portfolio Councillor Christian Dickson said the pool safety standard applied to homes with new or existing pools as well as short and long-term accommodation premises.
“Swimming pools should be fun,” Cr Dickson said
“However, drowning is one of the leading causes of death in Queensland for children under the age of five years*.
“Supervising young children, teaching them to swim and having effective pool fencing can help save lives, which is why pool safety laws were introduced.
“Compliant pool barriers help save lives by preventing young children from accessing swimming pools. They also provide peace of mind for pool owners.”
All swimming pools in Queensland must be registered with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).
“Pool registration is free and pool owners can search online to see if their pool or spa is already registered—and then simply record or update their details,” Cr Dickson said.
The Queensland pool safety standard covers the height and strength of barriers, mandatory non-climbable zones, gates and their latching requirements and preventing direct access from a building into a pool area.
Council’s pool safety inspectors provide advice about pool safety and meeting state government requirements, inspect pools and provide pool safety certificates. Council also responds to complaints about pool safety breaches and takes action following complaints or immersion incidents.
Cr Dickson said although council can undertake random compliance audits of swimming pools and issue fines for non-compliance, in the first instance, council preferred to work with pool owners to ensure they meet the pool safety standards by the due date and that their pools and spas are registered by November 30, 2015.
*Queensland Family and Young Child Commission, Annual Report: Deaths of Children and Young People 2013/14 pp 47-51
What is classed as a ‘swimming pool’?
A swimming pool means an excavation or structure—
(a) capable of being filled with water to a depth of 300mm or more; and
(b) capable of being used for swimming, bathing, wading, paddling or some other human aquatic activity; and
(c) solely or principally used, or designed, manufactured or adapted to be solely or principally used, for the purposes mentioned in paragraph (b) despite its current use; and includes a spa pool, spa tub or similar thing (whether portable or fixed) and a wading pool (other than a portable wading pool), but does not include—
(d) a fish pond or pool solely or principally used, or designed, manufactured or adapted to be solely or principally used, for ornamental purposes; or
(e) a dam or tank solely or principally used, or designed, manufactured or adapted to be solely or principally used, for aquaculture, marine research or storage of water; or
(f) a watercourse; or
(g) a portable wading pool; or
(h) a spa bath situated in a bathroom, other than a spa bath continually filled with water to a depth of more than 300mm; or
(i) a birthing pool used solely for waterbirths.
Pool safety register
All pools in Queensland must be registered with the QBCC. List your pool on the pool safety register.
You can search to see if your pool is registered in the property search directory. You will need the address details and/or Lot and plan number.
Does your pool comply?
The pool safety standard covers such things as the height and strength of barriers, mandatory non-climbable zones, gates and their latching requirements and preventing direct access from a building into a pool area.
Local council authorities may undertake random compliance audits of swimming pools to ensure pool owners are complying with safety standards. They can issue fines for non-compliance.
Penalties for non-compliance
You may receive a fine from your local government and in some cases the QBCC may also issue fines. Applicable fines for individuals can be up to $19,437 and up to $97,185 for corporations.
What to do if your pool is non-compliant
If you own a property with a pool, you will need to comply with the pool safety standard by 30 November 2015, or earlier if the property is sold or leased. A pool safety certificate is only needed if the property is sold or leased.
What happens if my pool doesn't comply?
You may get a fine from your local government.
To make your pool compliant and avoid a fine:
- get advice from a pool safety inspector about what to do to make your pool comply
- get a pool safety inspector to do a formal inspection with a view to getting a certificate
Pool safety inspectors
A pool safety inspector’s role is to inspect pools to determine whether they comply with the standard. Search for a swimming pool safety inspector in your local government area or you can enter the name, business name or licence number if you are looking for a specific inspector.