If you've just purchased a property, no doubt you're nervously awaiting the results of your building and pest inspection. But there may be yet another inspection you need to have done particularly if the property has a pool or spa, a pool safety inspection is not normally included as part of a pre-purchase building and pest inspection as it must be conducted by a specialist licensed pool safety inspector. You should not treat this as a trivial issue as achieving compliance may be costly and there are severe penalties for noncompliance.
From 30 November 2015 (or earlier when a property is sold or leased), all Queensland swimming pools will be required to comply with a new pool-barrier safety standard, which has been phased in since 2009.
Stage 1 of Queensland's new pool safety laws was introduced on 1 December 2009 to concentrate on new pools, followed by Stage 2 on 1 December 2010 which extended to existing pools.
According to the QBCC, "under Queensland's pool safety laws:
- a pool safety certificate which can only be issued by a licensed pool safety inspector after a thorough inspection, is mandatory when selling, buying or leasing a property with a pool
- pool safety certificates are valid for 1 year for a shared pool and 2 years for a non-shared pool e.g. associated with a house
- the pool safety standard applies to all pools indoor / outdoor, irrespective of accommodation type
- all pools had to be included on the pool safety register by 4 November 2011
- safety barriers are mandatory for all portable pools and spas deeper than 300 millimetres
- if a building is within the pool fence perimeter, it needs to be fenced from the pool
- toilet facilities and change rooms may be located within the pool area, mustn't provide a thoroughfare into the pool enclosure from outside".
This means that if you are buying a property with a non-shared pool, then you must be provided with either a pool safety certificate or a notice of no pool safety certificate before the contract and before settlement, the latter advising you that a certificate must be obtained within 90 days of settlement.
So if you are about to purchase a property with a pool or spa, it will be your responsibility to ensure that the pool's fencing has a current Pool Safety Certificate. To enforce this, the QBCC and local council authorities will be conducting random compliance audits of pools.
"The new standard is complex and covers, among many issues, the height and strength of barriers, mandatory non-climbable areas, gate-latching requirements, and prevention of direct access from a building into a pool area. You can find more information on the QBCC website or make enquiries 24/7 to the QBCC by phoning 139 333".