New Safety Standards for Private Swimming Pools and Spas

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has prepared draft regulations that aim to prevent young children drowning in private swimming pools and spas through improving compliance with safety barrier requirements.

DELWP has prepared a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) that examines the costs and benefits of the proposed regulations and alternative options that were considered.

These have now been released for public consultation which is open until 6 September 2019.

The Building Amendment (Swimming Pool and Spa) Regulations 2019, set to commence on 1 December this year, will introduce mandatory requirements for owners of private swimming pools or spas to register their pool or spa with their local council.

In addition, owners will be required to engage a registered building surveyor or building inspector to inspect and certify the compliance of their safety barrier every three years.

LSV Principal Research Associate Dr Bernadette Matthews says that as the lead agency of the Victorian Home Pool and Spa Safety Committee, Life Saving Victoria (LSV) has lobbied for improvements to home pool safety for over 10 years.

“A consistent approach to inspections, data collection, inspector training and reporting is vital in improving pool safety in Victoria. It is fantastic to see the state government take action to achieve this, and we look forward to working closely with them and other industry stakeholders as the legislation is implemented.

“Research shows that similar legislated changes in states such as Western Australia have significantly reduced drowning related deaths in young children, and we are confident that new legislation in Victoria will achieve similar results,” Dr Matthews said.

While recent media reports suggest the cost of the new regulations will leave pool and spa owners out of pocket, the proposed fees are designed to be minimal if you already comply with current regulations.

“The proposed regulations indicate there will be a one-off cost of $37 to register your pool,” Dr Matthews said.

“For those who have a compliant fence, as is already required by law, the ongoing cost for certification would be, on average, $75 per year.

“This means, if you’re already doing the right thing and have a compliant fence, the ongoing cost is about the same as it would be for a family of four to go for a swim at their local public pool three times a year.”

The new regulations will commence on 1 December 2019, and the proposed implementation period will require owners of existing swimming pools and spas to take action by 14 April 2020.

For further information about the new private pool and spa safety regulations including timelines, draft documents and how to make a submission, please visit: https://engage.vic.gov.au/new-safety-standards-private-swimming-pools-and-spas

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