SWIMMING POOL INFORMATION

Your swimming pool may be subject to an annexure attached to your contract of sale of land.

Your swimming pool and the surrounding pool barrier must comply with the local government regulations.

USEFUL FAQS REGARDING SWIMMING POOL COMPLIANCE

Q.  Can I use a door as part of my barrier?

A.  Only if the pool/spa was given approval for building by the Local Government on or before November 4, 2001.  Pools/spas approved after this date may not use a premises wall that contains a door within it, unless this door is permanently sealed closed.  Use of key, pad or combination type locks is not acceptable to meet the requirements of the Legislation.

Q.  If I use a wall of the building as part of the barrier can it contain a window?

A.Yes.  As long as the window is child resistant it may be contained within a wall that is part of the barrier.

Q.  If my barrier location permits can I use bi-fold or double leaf type doors?

A.Yes.  However, all operating parts of the door must self close and latch.  With doors of this type is can be problematic to implement and are not recommended for use where doors are permitted as part of a barrier.

Q. Under what circumstance can an exemption be grant for use of a door within a barrier that is a post – November 5 2001 approved swimming pool?

A.  Local Government can provide approval for use of a door in a swimming or spa pool that was given approval for construction on or after November 5 2001.

Approval can be given if the door is child resistant and meets the requirements for DOORS within AS 1926.1 – Fencing for swimming pools.  Approval of the door will be considered under the following conditions:

  • In the opinion of the Local Government to install between the premises and the pool a  barrier would create a sufficient structural problem that is neither in control of the owner or occupier of the property;
  • The pool is totally enclosed by a building; or
  • In the opinion of the Local Government, a separate barrier between the premises and pool/spa would create a sufficient problem for a person with a disability who is a resident at the premises and wishes to have access to the pool.   Prior to making the decision the Local Government will give sufficient weight as to whether a young child resides at the property.  However, it is unlikely that Local Government will approve the use of a door unless it meets all requirements as described in AS 1926.1 and this includes the minimum height requirements for door furniture (latch release mechanism).

The individual seeking approval for the use of a door must be a “person with a disability”.  This means a person who is able to produce a certificate given by ACROD Limited (Western Australian Division) (CAN 0088445485), registered under the Corporations Act 2001of the Commonwealth, certifying that the person has a disability that makes It difficult for the person to use a gate of the kind that would be required by these regulations in a swimming pool fence.

Q.  Is a key or pad lock suitable to secure gates, doors and windows?

A.  No.  The device which secures these parts of a barrier must be removed with the use of a hand tool.  This may be Allen keys, pliers, spanners, screw drivers etc.

Q.  Does my portable wading pool require registration or a barrier?

A.  No.  If the portable wading pool is not more than 300mm deep it does not fit the definition of a swimming pool under the Act.  However, these remain a danger to young children if water is not emptied immediately after use or adult supervision is not directly provided when the child is within the area in which the wading pool is situated.

As soon as the depth exceeds 300mm a barrier compliant to the Legislation will need to be installed.

Q.  Does my spa pool require a barrier?

A.   Yes.   A spa pool, whether portable or fixed comes under the definition of a ‘swimming pool’. Unless the new pool is totally enclosed by the walls of the building it must be fenced.

Q.  Does my above ground pool require a barrier?

A. Yes.  Unless the walls of the pool are not less than 1200mm high and no climbable objects appear on the outside of the pool then a barrier is required.  For above ground type pools the filtration, pumps and entry ladders will generally require a barrier and gate even though the height and outside surface of the pool walls may comply.

Q:  What is my Local Government’s role in relation to swimming pool barriers?

A.  Under the Act the State Government requires your Local Government to enforce barrier Legislation provided for domestic swimming or spa pools.  Your Local Government is responsible for ensuring that when a new swimming or spa pool is installed that the appropriate barrier is installed prior to the structure being filed with more than 300mm of water.

Further, Local Governments are required to inspect swimming or spa pool barriers for compliance to the Legislation at least once in every 4 year period.  This requirement has been in place since 1992.  Your Local Government is also responsible for the issuing of infringements or legal proceedings if a barrier is found to be non-compliant.

Local Governments can provide a key role is assisting a new pool owner to select the most appropriate barrier location and design based on the features of the pool/spa prior to its installation.  This advice can assist you to ensure wrong placement or design to not become costly because of modification works, infringements issued or a child’s life is lost.

Q.Who is responsible for ensuring the pool or spa has a compliant pool barrier?

A. For a swimming or spa pool the land owner is responsible for installation of a pool barrier. In the case of an in-ground pool, the pool owner is generally the owner of the land. However, if a person who is renting a property buys a portable pool that requires pool fencing around it, the owner of the portable pool is considered the pool owner and that person must ensure the pool has a fence around it.

Q. What are the penalties for not installing or maintaining a barrier for swimming or spa pools?

A.  Local Government is empowered to issue infringements or penalties for non-compliance.  It is the responsibility of the owner/occupier to ensure that a compliant barrier is maintained in a functional condition at all times.

    • Upon inspection a Local Government may impose a penalty of $100.00 without first issuing a defect/compliance notice.
    • Upon inspection a Local Government may impose a penalty of $200.00 if defect/compliance notice has been issued to the occupier.
    • A pool owner/occupier who fails to comply with a defects/compliance notice risks the commencement of legal proceedings, a maximum penalty of $5,000 and penalty of $250.00 for each day until the barrier is again deemed to comply.

Q.What makes up a barrier?

A.  A barrier may consist of any fence, wall, gate, window or door set that complies with the requirements of the Legislation for location and design.  This can be purpose built pool fencing, brickwork, limestone, glass, metal, fibro-cement and even brushwood as long as they meet the testing requirements of AS 1926.1.

Q:  Do I need a barrier all the way round my pool/spa?

A.  This depends on when your pool or spa was built. If your pool was approved by Local Government on or before November 4 2001 then you do not have to have a separate barrier.

You must, however, ensure that access from the street or from adjoining properties is restricted. The pool does not have to be separated from any residential building on the land provided the means of access from the building to the pool is restricted at all times (ie child resistant doors and windows).

Q.  Can I use my boundary/dividing fence-line as part of the barrier?

A.  Yes.  You must ensure that a height not less than 1200mm is maintained on either side of the barrier.  As far as practical climbable objects on the neighbouring side (remote) are not to be within 1200mm of the top of the barrier line; however, you may have little influence over what your neighbour does to their side of the barrier.  If 1200mm cannot be maintained on the remote side the measurement is to be taken from the inside (pool side).

Where climbable objects are within 1200mm from the top of the inside of the barrier then it is the pool owner’s responsibility to ensure that the objects are moved away from the inside of the barrier or the height of the barrier is increased.

Where boundary fences are used as part of the barrier it is recommended that consultation with your affected neighbour occurs to ensure they are aware of the impact any changes to their side may have on the compliance of the barrier.  In this case it may not always be practical to use boundary fences as part of the barrier.

Visit the WA Building Commission web-site for regulations and standards regarding dividing fence lines.

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