In December 2019, new laws came into effect in Victoria that require owners of home swimming pools and spas to register them with their local council.
Under the new laws, owners must also arrange an inspection of their pool and spa safety barrier, and lodge a barrier compliance certificate with their council.
Different deadlines for registration and barrier compliance certification apply depending on when your pool or spa was built.
Home pools and spa built before June 1 2020
All owners of home pools and spas built before June 1 2020 must register it with their local council by June 1 2020, or risk a fine of up to $1652.
They will also need to arrange an inspection of their safety barrier and lodge a compliance certificate with council some time between 1 June 2021 and 1 June 2023, with the deadline depending on when the pool or spa was built.
For more information on deadlines for inspections and barrier compliance, check the relevant page on the Victorian Building Authority website.
Home pools and spas built on or after June 1 2020
For pools and spas built on or after June 1 2020, owners will need to register within 30 days of receiving the occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection.
The first certificate of barrier compliance must be lodged at the same time as the application for registration.
The next certificate of compliance will be due four years after registration.
Why these new laws are important
According to the Victorian Building Authority, an average of four young children die in home swimming pools or spas each year in Victoria.
Many more are taken to hospital for near drownings, which can leave children with severe and lifelong injuries that require ongoing care and treatment.
Maurice Blackburn’s public liability team has represented several families who have experienced the death or injury of a family member in a pool-related incident.
Parents Mark and Jessie Bates shared their story with us last year, about their son Marcus who suffered catastrophic brain damage after almost drowning in an unfenced pool. Marcus now requires 24 hour care and undergoes daily therapy to recover from an accident that was entirely preventable.
We expect the new mandatory registration and inspection regime – combined with adult supervision of children around pools and spas at all times – will improve water safety in people’s homes. They could even help to save a child’s life.
The Victorian Building Authority has a Find a practitioner tool available on its website where you can search for a registered practitioner to carry our pool and spa inspections and certifications.
For more information about the new laws, check the Victorian Building Authority website or contact your local council.