All pool owners are required to maintain safety of their pool areas. All residents of NSW who plan to sell or rent out a property with a pool need to be aware of the new legislation.
This new legislation applies to any excavation, structure or vessel that is:
- Capable of being filled with water to a depth greater than 30cm, and
- Used, designed, manufactured or adapted for swimming wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity.
In 2012 the Swimming Pools Act 1992 was amended to ensure the safety of children around pool areas in NSW. These amendments include:
- Swimming pool owners must register their swimming pool or spa pool on the NSW Swimming Pool Register.
- Local Councils and accredited certifiers registered with the Building Professionals Board, can carry out inspections of pools.
- From 29 April 2016 a copy of a valid certificate of compliance or relevant occupation certificate must be attached to new residential tenancy agreements to rent properties with a swimming pool or spa. This is not a requirement to a lot in strata or community schemes with more than two lots.
- From 29 April 2016, a contract for the sale of property must contain a copy of a valid certificate of compliance, or a relevant occupation certificate, or a valid certificate of non-compliance. This requirement does not apply to a lot in a strata or community scheme with more than two lots or for any off the plan sales contracts.
These new laws will be applicable to all owners of properties with a swimming pool or spa. In the case of strata or community schemes, the owner’s corporation is responsible for ensuring pool areas are compliant with the Swimming Pool Act 1992.
Renting a property with a swimming pool or spa
With regards to renting a property with a swimming pool or spa, from 29 April 2016 any residential tenancy agreements entered into for a property with a swimming pool or spa, must include a copy of the valid certificate or compliance or occupation certificate. This requirement does not apply to a lot in a strata or community scheme with more than two lots.
Selling a property with a swimming pool or spa
All contracts for the sale of property on or after 29 April 2016 must include:
- A valid swimming pool certificate of compliance
- A relevant occupation certificate issued within the last 3 years and evidence that the pool is correctly registered.
- A valid certificate of non-compliance.
This requirement does not apply to a lot in a strata or community scheme with more than two lots, or if the subject property is an off the plan sale.
The consequences of not attaching the required certificates may allow the purchaser to rescind the contract within 14 days of exchange, unless settlement has taken place.
In a situation where a certificate of non-compliance is attached to the contract of sale, the Vendor is transferring the obligation to obtain a valid certificate of compliance to the purchaser. The purchaser will then have 90 days from the date of settlement to rectify defects listed in the certificate of non-compliance and obtain a certificate of compliance.
Registration of swimming pools
Property owners are required to register their pools online on the NSW Government’s Swimming Pool Register at www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au
Once registration has taken place, a certificate of registration will be issue to the pool owner.
Certificates of compliance
A certificate of compliance can only be issued by local councils, and accredited certifiers who are registered with the Building Professionals Board. A certificate of compliance will only be issued once the swimming pool meets all the safety requirements and is valid for 3 years from its date of issue.
An occupation certificate may be used in place of a swimming pool certificate of compliance if it is less than 3 years old, and it authorises the use of the swimming pool. If an occupation certificate is used, evidence of registration must also be provided with the sales contract.
Construction of new pools
When building a new pool, property owners must ensure a temporary fence is installed around the pool area while it is under construction. In addition to this, property owners must inform the local council about where the permanent pool fence is going to be situated ensuring it meets local council guidelines. Lastly, property owners must arrange for a final inspection by the local council or private certifier as soon as the permanent compliant fence has been installed.
Pool owners are required to ensure the pool cleaning systems are secured safely and they should prevent anyone, particularly children, from playing with or near any pool cleaning systems. They must also clearly label and know the location of the on/off switch for the pool filtration system. Furthermore, an approved resuscitation chart should be displayed around the pool area.
Property owners can reduce the risk of electrical hazards around pool areas by ensuring the electrical pumps and filters:
- Have an electrical safety approval number or compliance mark
- Are suitable for outdoor use
- Have a safety switch installed where the pool will be used
- Are used with a suitable weather-protected electrical power point, installed by licenced electrician, close to where the pool equipment will be located to avoid use of extension cords.
If extension leads are necessary, pool owners must ensure they only use heavy duty cords and always roll them up and store them when not in use. Furthermore, property owners must avoid joining multiple cords together, and purchase a single cord in the required length. Property owners must ensure the cords are not damaged.