Knowing the Victoria Pool Fencing Standards & Regulations
The active supervision at all times of young children and adults who are not that confident in-and-around swimming pools and spas is imperative as we’ve moved into the warmer Seasons.
As a swimming pool and/or spa owner, you have a legal obligation to ensure and maintain the correct operation of barriers and fencing around these. If you’re lost and not knowing where to begin researching, the Victoria Building Authority(VBA) and Swimming Pool and Spa Association(SPASA) have pinpointed a few of the more important things to take note of to ensure the safety of family, pets, and friends.
Voluntary Swimming Pool and Spa Register
You may not be aware that the Victorian government recently passed legislation, making it mandatory that swimming pools and spas are registered as an introduction to improve spa and swimming pool safety. This register becomes mandatory as of the 1 December 2019 and inspections can be conducted as regularly as once every 3 years. For further information, please see details at the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) website.
When is a Safety Barrier Required?
Under current regulations, if a swimming pool or spa pool has a water depth deeper than 30cm(300mm), a safety barrier must be installed immediately, which is compliant with the current Building Act 1993 and Building Regulations 2018. A safety barrier is required during the construction period of the pool and/or spa too.
According to the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), these requirements apply to the following Pools and Spas:
- outdoor in-ground pools and spas;
- outdoor above-ground pools (including inflatable pools);
- indoor pools and spa pools;
- children’s paddling and wading pools;
- spas, jacuzzi, hot tubs and swim spas.
Safety barriers are not required for a:
- pool and/or spa that contains less than 300 mm of water;
- bath or spa used for personal hygiene and emptied after use (located in a bathroom or ensuite);
- fish pond, fountain or birdbath; and
- water supply, storage tanks or dams.
Swimming Pool and Spa Building Standards
According to the VBA, swimming pools and spas in the State of Victoria must be compliant with numerous requirements including:
- a registered domestic builder or owner-builder MUST build and install the safety barrier for pool or spa;
- a site fence on the construction site MUST be in place before any excavation or installation of the swimming pool or spa begins;
- once the excavation begins, and the pool, structure for the pool, or spa, contains more than 300 mm of water, a safety barrier complying with Australian Standards (AS) 1926.1-2012 MUST be erected and maintained;
- if you have an outdoor pool and/or spa built after 1 May 2010, there MUST NOT be direct access to the pool area via a door from a building (i.e. garage or house);
- all pool gates MUST have a self-latching and self-closing mechanism;
- safety barriers MUST NOT be installed near structures which will allow children the ability to climb and access the pool and/or spa area. These structures include trees, barbeques, pot plants and outdoor furniture.
Permanent Safety Barriers
During the planning phase of the swimming pool or spa install, there are requirements in Australian Standard (AS) 1926.1 fully outlining the design and construction of a safety 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.