New Pool and Spa Barrier Laws in Victoria
On 1 December 2019, new laws came into effect in Victoria to improve pool and spa safety. Owners of land with a pool or spa must register their pool or spa with the relevant council in their municipality.
It is the responsibility of all owners to have their safety barriers inspected and lodge a certificate of barrier compliance with their council. If a safety barrier is not compliant, the onus is on the owner to make it compliant.
These new laws apply to all pools and spas capable of holding water to a depth of more than 300mm or 30cm, and typically refers to permanent, above-ground, indoor, wading, or some re-locatable pools. They also apply to hot tubs.
Any pools that do not have multiple components and do not require any assembly like small inflatable pools are exempt.
The date of construction of your pool or spa also determines the set of requirements that you’ll need to follow to get compliant. These important dates are:
- Before 8 April 1991
- Between 8 April 1991 – 30 April 2010
- After 30 April 2010
New Pool and Spa Barrier Laws in Victoria – Barrier Inspections and Getting a Certificate of Compliance
Once you have registered your pool or spa, you’ll need to arrange for an inspection of the safety barrier. Checks can only be carried out by:
- A registered building surveyor or inspector
- A municipal building surveyor
- AVI Glass Fencing
If the inspector passes your safety barrier, they then issue a certificate of barrier compliance, which you need to lodge with your council within 30 days of receiving the document. Contact your council for more information if you’re unsure of the process.
When the council receives your certificate, they’ll send a written notice confirming:
- The lodgement date
- The next certificate’s lodgement date (four years after the previous certificate)
Please note that there are deadlines to adhere to for inspection and lodgment of documents as below:
Pools and Spas Constructed before 1 June 2020:
|Date of Construction:||Deadline:|
|On or before 30 June 1994||1 June 2021|
|From 1 July 1994 until 30 April 2010||1 June 2022|
|From 1 May 2010 until 31 May 2020||1 June 2023|
Pools and Spas Constructed on or after 1 June 2020:
The first certificate of barrier compliance is due within 30 days of receiving the occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection for all pools and spas constructed after the above date. This certificate must accompany the application for registration to your local council.
Non-compliant Barriers & Barrier Improvement Notices
If the inspector determines that your safety barrier is not compliant, they can issue a certificate of barrier non-compliance or Issue you with a written notice that tells you:
- Which areas to rectify
- The time you have to make the improvements
- The date and time of the re-inspection
After re-inspection, if the pool barrier is compliant, you will receive a certificate of barrier compliance, which you must lodge with your local council.
If the barrier remains non-compliant, but the inspector is satisfied that you are committed to bringing the barrier into compliance, they may allow you an additional seven days to rectify the fence.
They will immediately issue a certificate of barrier non-compliance if they find non-compliance issues like:
- A door or gate that can be opened by a person who is unable to reach the opening mechanism
- A door or gate forming part of the barrier that cannot be completely closed
- If any part of the fence is less than 1 metre in height, measured above the ground level from the approach side
Inspectors lodge certificates of barrier non-compliance with the relevant councils and provide you with a copy. The council then notifies you to pay a fee by the due date specified in the notice, and a municipal building surveyor then issues:
- A Barrier Improvement Notice, or
- A Notice or Order under the Building Act 1993
Failure to adhere to these notices will attract fees and penalties. Please check your local council’s website for the costs that apply.
|Fee Type||Amount (AUD)|
|Fee for lodging a certificate of barrier compliance with council||$20.44*^|
|Fee for lodging a certificate of barrier non-compliance with the council||$385.06*^|
|Failure to lodge a certificate of barrier compliance by the date specified||up to $1,652.20^|
|Failure to lodge a certificate of barrier non-compliance by the date specified||up to $1,652.20^|
* The relevant council set the Fees, which do not exceed this amount.
^ All fee and penalty units are indexed and increase by a small amount on 1 July each year, per the Monetary Units Act 2004. From 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, one fee unit is $14.81. All amounts are rounded off to the nearest 10 cents. From 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, one penalty unit is $165.22.
There is no set fee for a safety barrier inspection, so owners of pools or spas with barriers that require multiple reviews to become compliant likely face higher costs than those that receive certification after the first inspection.
Alterations or Changes to a Pool Barrier
After registering your pool or spa, if there is still building work pending, you’ll need a building permit. The relevant building surveyor must inspect the barrier and determine if it complies with the applicable barrier standards after the changes.
If the relevant building surveyor determines that the barrier complies with the applicable barrier standards, they will issue a certificate of barrier compliance and provide the certificate to you. You must then lodge this certificate with your local council within 14 days.
If, however, the barrier inspector feels that the barrier does not comply with the applicable barrier standards, they will notify you to bring it up to standard and issue a notice of the same.
New Pool and Spa Barrier Laws in Victoria
All swimming pools and spas capable of holding water to a depth of more than 300mm or 30cm must have a compliant safety barrier to restrict young children (under the age of five) or pets from accessing the pool area. You’ll need barriers for:
- In-ground pools and spas
- Above-ground pools and spas, including re-locatable and inflatable pools (capable of holding a depth of water more than 300mm or 30cm and which require on-site assembly)
- Indoor pools and spas
- Bathing and wading pools (capable of holding a depth of water more than 300mm or 30cm)
You do not need barriers for:
- Inflatable swimming pools (typically toddler or wading pools) that cannot contain a water depth greater than 300mm or 30cm
- Small inflatable pools that do not consist of multiple components and do not require any assembly, e.g. a little inflatable toddler’s pool that only needs inflation
- Water supply or storage tanks
- Fish ponds
- Baths used for personal hygiene and emptied after each use
- Spas inside a building (e.g. in a bathroom) for personal hygiene, emptied after each use
- Pools or spas that cannot contain a water depth greater than 300mm or 30 cm
If you already have a pool or spa, you must maintain the operation and integrity of your swimming pool or spa barrier to prevent access to the pool or spa. The following checklists help you to assess the safety of your fence.
Note that these checklists are date-specific as they cover the barrier standards relevant to the installation date of your pool or spa:
- Checklist 1 (for pools and spas installed before 8 April 1991) (PDF, 674.37 KB)
- Checklist 2 (for pools and spas installed between 8 April 1991 and 30 April 2010) (PDF, 595.22 KB)
- Checklist 3 (for pools and spas installed from 1 May 2010) (PDF, 937.71 KB)
Feel free to contact us if you are unsure of any aspect of these new laws or to discuss your needs with our fencing specialists. We’re here to answer any questions that you might have to ensure that you remain on the right side of the law.
Call us today at (03) 9799 9005 or request a callback with our online contact form.