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The VBA (Victorian Building Authority) has created a swimming pools, spas and their safety barriers checklist to advise home-owners of their obligations, before, during and after construction.

In Victoria, the design, construction and installation of swimming pools, spas and their safety barriers are subject to strict building requirements under the Building Interim Regulations 2017 (the Regulations). The Regulations also contain ongoing legal obligations for pool and spa owners to maintain their safety barriers at all times.

Compliance with the Regulations improves safety outcomes. Non-compliance, for any reason, can increase the risk of drowning and lead to prosecution by the VBA or local councils. Any home-owner who engages in building a pool or spa and associated safety barriers must familiarise themselves with the Regulations.

The VBA has a role in creating greater awareness of the Regulations and the need for compliance. This includes providing information on the safe installation of swimming pools, spas and their associated barriers.

Swimming pools and spas in Victoria must comply with the following requirements:

All swimming pools and spas with a depth of more than 300mm (30cm) must have a safety fence or barrier that meets the Australian Standard. This also applies to inflatable or relocatable pools and spas.

A swimming pool or spa and associated safety barriers can be constructed by a registered builder or by an owner-builder who has obtained a certificate of consent from the Victorian Building Authority.

A registered builder must be engaged under a written domestic building contract to carry out building work in excess of $10,000 (including labour and materials) and an owner-builder must obtain a certificate of consent for work in excess of $16,000.

A building permit, issued by a registered building surveyor, must be obtained to construct a pool or spa, as well as the associated safety barriers. You can apply for a building permit through your local council’s municipal building surveyor, or to a private building surveyor.

During construction, a temporary safety barrier must be in place and maintained to ensure it is in proper working order. Talk to your registered builder to agree on who will be installing and maintaining the temporary barrier, and later the permanent barrier, and ensure this is written into the contract.

All outdoor swimming pools and spas built since 1 May 2010 must not have direct access to the pool area via a door from a building, such as a house or a garage.
Swimming pool gates must be self-latching and self-closing, and should never be propped open. It is illegal to do this.

Safety barriers must not be installed near trees, barbeques or other structures that children can use to climb up and over to access the swimming pool or spa. Any objects that children might use to climb into the swimming pool or spa area, such as pot plants and chairs must be moved away from the barrier.

Once the pool or spa is built, it should not be used until a permanent safety barrier is installed and a certificate of final inspection is obtained from the relevant building surveyor.

For more info, click on this link to get to the VBA website.