Owning a home with a pool can be a lot of fun and a soothing escape during South East Queensland’s hot summers. However, before you take the plunge as a pool owner, so to speak, you’ll want to make sure that everything is above board. That means checking compliance with Queensland pool safety regulations.
While these requirements might sound like a bore, their purpose is to keep everyone safe, particularly children. Since 1992, 73 children under five have drowned in domestic pools in Queensland alone.
Here’s exactly what you need to know before moving to a house with a pool:
1. Sellers do not need to provide a pool safety certificate if you buy a property with a pool
The Queensland government does not require sellers to provide a pool safety certificate if you decide to buy their property. However, if they don’t have a certificate and are not registered on the pool register, they must provide you with a Form 36-notice of no pool safety certificate. Furthermore, their pool must still be compliant with applicable pool safety regulations, regardless of whether they supply a pool safety certificate or not. If the pool is not compliant, the current owner is at risk of enforcement action.
2. You should arrange pool inspections after you buy a house with a pool
As a pool owner, you need to do more than test the water. You must also arrange pool compliance inspections to meet the standards set out in the regulations – this includes pool fence inspections!
During a swimming pool inspection, the inspector thoroughly checks the area to ensure pool barriers are compliant with Queensland Government safety standards.
Admired Building & Pest are QBCC licensed pool safety and can issue pool safety certificates for those buying, selling or leasing a property. This course of action ensures that you protect the home’s future occupants, including children.
To be compliant, you must satisfy the following criteria:
- The pool fence that is at least 1200mm high
- The bottom of the pool fence and gate cannot be more than 100mm off the ground
- The horizontal rails of your pool fence cannot be more than 900mm apart
- The gaps between the vertical segments of your pool fence cannot be more than 10mm wide, and the external horizontal rails must have a 60-degree timber wedge fillet attached
- Climbable objects on the outside of the fence, such as trees, tables, and BBQs, must be more than 900mm away from the fence
- There must be no climbable objects closer than 300mm inside the pool fence
- The pool fence must be permanent and well-maintained. It should be fixed securely to the ground and well-maintained. There should be no broken rails, holes or verticals
- The pool gate must open outwards, away from the pool
- The gate must self-close and self-latch from any open position
- The gate must never be propped open or tied back
- The gate latch must be at least 1500mm above the ground
- The hinges of the pool gate must be at least 900mm apart, or the lower hinge must have an anti-climb safety cap fitted
- There must be a CPR sign prominently displayed in the pool area
- You must not be able to access your pool area from any door in your house
- Buildings that house indoor pools must either have security screens fitted or must not open more than 100mm
Brisbane pool inspections are becoming more of a priority because of many factors contributing to a compliant pool. As pool inspection experts, we can tell you whether your new home is compliant immediately and what you can do if it is not.
3. You need to check if the pool is registered with the QBCC
Queensland regulations demand that homeowners register all pools with the QBCC. The Pool Register lists every regulated pool in the state; it shows if there is a pool safety certificate issued and if it is valid. You can check if a pool is registered by visiting the QBCC Pool Register. There are penalties for owning a pool not on this pool register.
4. As a buyer, you have 90 days to get a safety certificate
If you are purchasing a house with a pool and it does not have a safety certificate, you are still required to obtain one within 90 days after settlement (when Form 36 expires as per point 1). Therefore it’s crucial to have a swimming pool inspection before finalising the purchase. An inspection identifies issues in advance and can help you decide before purchasing a property.
5. Pool certificates are valid for two years for non-shared pools
Most private homes in Queensland have non-shared pools. Safety certificates are valid for two years, after which you will need to obtain a new one. If you buy a house with a shared pool, certificates are valid for one year.
Admired Building & Pest Inspections can issue a new safety certificate as a pool safety inspector licensed by the QBCC. The certificate is only issued once your pool complies.
6. If your pool does not comply with regulations, you will receive a form 26-nonconformity notice
Swimming pool inspections could reveal that your pool does not comply with regulations, and that is their purpose. It’s better that a 26-nonconformity notice is given than not inspecting. The notice provides all the information needed to rectify the problems. It gives you a chance to rectify them and the opportunity for professionals to help you comply.
7. Even if you are leasing, a pool safety certificate is required
You might be wondering what your responsibilities are if you are leasing a property with a shared or non-shared pool.
Where you are leasing a property with a non-shared pool, the safety certificate must be provided to you, the tenant, before entering into the lease agreement. It’s a good idea to request to view the certificate before you sign.
Leasing a property with a shared pool is a little different. A safety certificate is not required before signing the lease. However, a Form 36 must be provided to the new occupier, the pool owner (body corporate) and the QBCC. The owner will have 90 days to obtain a safety certificate. For a shared pool, the safety certificate must be displayed near the main entrance to the property or at a gate accessing the pool.
Your tenancy agreement will outline the maintenance responsibilities you, the tenant, and the owner will have for the pool, e.g. cleaning. You will be responsible for gaining permission from the owner to add a temporary pool to the property. These must also comply with safety laws.
Check the QBCC Pool Register or contact the property owner if in doubt.
To learn more about leasing a property with a pool, visit The Residential Tenancies Authority.
Owning a house with a pool is homeownership on a new level, so ask yourself, are you prepared to do what it takes to keep your pool safe for others? If in doubt, ask one of our inspectors.
Do you have a pool in Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich or the Gold Coast?