With the weather warming up and school holidays about to start, we are about to hit “peak backyard pool” – a fun time of year. It’s not only time to ensure your pool maintenance is up to date, but you need to make sure that it is safe, and compliant with all regulations.
In 2016/17, 44 people drowned in swimming pools across Australia, with 13 of these being children under 5 years old. Don’t take chances in and around the pool. Please be aware that it’s every pool owner’s responsibility to make sure their pool is safe and keep up to date with new swimming pool laws, safety requirements and pool registration.
No matter when your pool was built or installed, all pools and spas must be registered on the NSW Government online Swimming Pool Register to avoid fines. If you are selling your property you must have a Certificate of Compliance or a Certificate of Non-Compliance or relevant Occupation Certificate and if the property is to be leased you must have a Certificate of Compliance or a relevant Occupation Certificate.
With 19,790 registered pools on the Northern Beaches, Council’s swimming pool compliance team act on hundreds of complaints and concerns about unsafe backyard pools every year. The most common reasons pools are non-compliant and unsafe include: broken or faulty latches on gates; gates that are being propped open; climbable objects and overgrown vegetation around pool fences; and not maintaining the condition of the pool fence/barriers.
Here’s a simple checklist to make sure your pool is safe this summer:
Register your pool or spa on the NSW Government online register.
Install a barrier (fence) at least 1.2m high with no gaps more than 10cm.
Spas not enclosed by a pool barrier must be covered by a child-resistant lockable lid.
Gates must open outwards and be self-closing and self-latching.
Gate latches must be 1.5m above ground level or have a shield latch device.
Boundary fences forming part of the pool barrier must be 1.8 metres high on new or modified pools and 1.2m high on older pools that have not been modified.
Pool fencing area should be clear and well maintained. Anything potentially climbable, that might serve as a foothold, must be kept clear of fences and gates.
A CPR resuscitation chart must be displayed within the pool or spa area.
Read more about swimming pool safety.
Council places a high priority on swimming pool compliance and strictly enforces the requirements of the Swimming Pools Act, as a matter of utmost safety. Council actively promotes compliance requirements and encourages residents to report any concerns to Council so they can be actioned.
If a pool is found to be non-compliant on inspection, owners must take action within a strict timeframe to ensure their pool is fully compliant. Council will then conduct follow-up inspections to ensure on-going compliance.
Have fun and stay safe around backyard pools this summer.