From 29 April 2013, pool owners are required to register their backyard swimming pools in an online register to be provided by the NSW State Government.
Visit the register website at www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au and register your pool for free by following the easy registration steps.
The Register will promote pool safety and pool compliance in response to the challenge of reducing the number of deaths and injuries to children in backyard swimming pools in NSW.
The Register will provide pool owners with pool safety checklists to help them to self-assess their pool’s safety. Pool owners will be asked to indicate that, to the best of their knowledge, their swimming pool complies with the Standard applicable to their pool.
There may be a penalty applied to owners who fail to register a swimming pool by 29 October 2013 (penalty notice amount of $220).
All outdoor swimming pools and spas constructed or installed after 1st August 1990 must be surrounded by an approved child resistant barrier. The barrier must separate the pool from any residential building situated on the premises. The barrier must be designed, constructed, installed and maintained in accordance with Australian Standard AS 1926 Fencing for Swimming Pools.
It is essential that home owners and occupiers ensure that swimming pool fencing and other barriers are maintained in a good condition. All access gates must be self-closing and self-latching at all times.
Remember, always keep watch when children are in and around water. There is no substitute for constant adult supervision. Children in and around swimming pools and spas should be watched at all times, irrespective of their swimming ability.
In Australia and overseas there have been fatalities and injuries linked to poorly designed, installed and maintained spas. These usually result from users, particularly children being trapped by the suction outlet systems.
To minimise the risk of injury, NSW Fair Trading has produced a spa pool safety guide. It includes important safety information about the positioning and operation of the suction outlets of spas that certifiers and those involved in building or installing spa pools need to be aware of.
Regulations about Private Swimming Pools (Existing and New)
Tragically, each year children drown in backyard swimming pools. Many more suffer serious injuries or permanent damage as a result of near-drowning experiences.
The Swimming Pools Act 1992 was introduced as a vital step in improving pool safety for children. By ensuring that adequate swimming pool barriers and warning notices the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and other associated legislation aim to prevent future tragedies.
The Swimming Pools Act 1992 requires the owner of premises on which a swimming pool is located to ensure that the pool is at all times surrounded by an approved child resistant barrier, which separate the pool from any residential building.
You must ensure that the swimming pool contains within its bounds no structure apart from the swimming pool and such other structures (such as diving boards and pool filtration plants) that are wholly ancillary to the swimming pool.
You must always keep your fence in good repair and gates and doors in good working condition. It is important that you ensure that doors and gates providing access to the swimming pool are kept securely closed at all times when not in actual use.
All pool owners must display a prescribed warning notice in a prominent position in the immediate vicinity of the swimming pool. The sign gives a supervision warning and the details of resuscitation techniques. These signs are available from Council and community organizations such as The Royal Life Saving Society and may also be obtained from pool shops and other outlets. The Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Guide can be viewed at http://www.resus.org.au.
The requirements for child-resistant barriers on premises where there is a residential building vary according to when the pool was constructed and where the pool is located:
For pools on residential land constructed after 1 August 1990, the pool must be surrounded by a child-resistant barrier that separates the pool from any residential building situated on the premise and from any place adjoining the premises. The child-resistant barrier must be designed, constructed, installed and maintained in accordance with the Australian Standard for Fences and gates for Private Swimming Pools (AS 1926-1986)
For pools on residential land constructed before 1 August 1990, the pool must either be surrounded by a child-resistant barrier (as above) or the means of access from the building to the pool must be restricted at all times. The standard for restriction, eg: by a child-safe windows and doors, are set out in the Swimming Pools Regulation 1998.
Under the Act and Regulation special requirements apply to indoor pools, spas, pools situated on premises that have dwellings, movable dwellings, hotels or motels, premises having an area less than 230 square metres, large properties having an area more than 2000 square metres, and properties having frontage to any large body of water. Please contact Council on 9911 3555 for more details about these special requirements.
If you are renting a property under a residential tenancy agreement, the Residential Tenancies Act provides that:
- The landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining the premises in a reasonable state of repair
- The tenant is not to intentionally or negligently damage the premises and the tenant must notify the landlord or any damage
- The tenant may carry out urgent repairs and be reimbursed up to the value of $500 for any fault or damage that causes premises to be unsafe
The Swimming Pool Act 1992 also requires the occupier to display a prescribed warning notice in the immediate vicinity of the swimming pool, detailing resuscitation techniques together with a supervision warning. Safety notices are available for purchase from Council's offices.
Council has a responsibility for administering the Swimming Pools Act and Regulation in the local area. Under the Act Council must ensure that they:
- Keep a register of all pools within its area.
- Promote awareness within its area of the requirements of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and Regulations.
- Administer the requirements of the Act.
Advice on how to keep your pool safe
The following is a quick checklist of important pool safety measures which may help you keep your pool safe:
Never leave children alone in the pool area. A secure pool is no substitute for responsible adult supervision. Children in or around the water must be supervised at all times, no matter what their swimming ability.
Provisions exist under the Act which lists various on-the-spot fines that may be imposed without warning by Council. If your pool does not comply with the requirements of the Act then Council will advise you of which steps you would need to take in your particular circumstances. Council may serve you with a notice requiring you to comply within a reasonable timeframe. In any notices Council must give reasons for its decision to issue you with the notice. You are entitled to appeal against these notices to the Land and Environment Court.
For more information on these important requirements, please contact Council's on 9911 3555.
To check if your pool meets the requirements of the Act, pool owners can also apply to Council for a Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate, for a fee of $150.00 for the first inspection and $100.00 for the second inspection. If the pool does not comply, Council will provide you with a reasonable period in which to comply with the relevant requirements.
Other Useful Contacts
The Swimming Pools Act and Regulation can be purchased from the NSW Government Information Service Ph (02) 9743 7200
Australian Standard AS 1926 can be purchased from Standards Australia Ph 1300 65 46 46