Why has the law changed?
Pools and spas are the most common location of drownings for children aged five and under, and on average four children die in home pools and spas every year.
Ninety percent of swimming pool and spa barriers in Victoria aren't meeting safety standards. The new state-wide regulations aim to make pools and spas safer for everyone, particularly kids aged five and under.
Do all pools and spas need to be registered?
Yes, all permanent, portable or relocatable swimming pools and spas, regardless of when they were constructed or erected, must be registered with Council. All swimming pools and spas capable of containing water greater than 300mm (30cm) must have a compliant safety barrier to restrict access to the pool area by young children.
Barriers are required for:
above-ground pools and spas, including inflatable pools capable of containing water to a depth of more than 300mm (30cm)
The minimum barrier standards based on the pool or spas construction date are available on the VBA website: https://www.vba.vic.gov.au/consumers/safety-guides/swimming-pools
wading pools that may contain more than 300mm (30cm) of water.
What happens after I register my pool or spa?
After registering your pool or spa, the relevant council is required to send you written notification confirming:
that your pool or spa has been registered
the date of construction of your pool or spa and the applicable barrier standard
your right to appeal to the Building Appeals Board (BAB) in relation to the council’s determination of the date of construction of the pool or spa
the date by which the first or next certificate of barrier compliance must be lodged with the relevant council.
What happens if I don't register my pool or spa?
If you do not register your pool or spa within the required period you may face an on-the-spot fine of approximately $330 or a penalty of up to $1,652.20.
If the council becomes aware of the pool or spa on your property, they will send you a written notice requiring you to register the pool or spa. You will also be required to pay the registration fee and information search fee (if applicable).
What does "date of construction" refer to?
After you apply to register your pool or spa, the relevant council will determine the date of construction of your pool or spa and the applicable barrier standard.
The barrier standard that applied at the date your pool or spa was constructed is the applicable barrier standard for your pool or spa.
How does the council determine the date of construction of a relocatable pool or spa?
The date of construction of a relocatable pool or spa is the day it was most recently erected on your property
What if I don't agree with the council's determination of the date of construction?
If you disagree with the relevant council's determination about the date of construction of your pool or spa, you can appeal the decision to the Building Appeals Board (BAB). An appeal must be lodged within 30 days of receiving the council's determination.
You can contact the BAB on 1300 421 082, at www.buildingappeals.vic.gov.au or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have recently purchased a property with a pool or spa. How can I check that it has been registered?
Please contact the relevant council to check if your pool or spa has been registered.
We don't have any children and our backyard is secure. Do we have to register our pool and obtain a certificate of barrier compliance?
Yes – it is mandatory for all land owners in Victoria to apply to register any pool or spa on their property.
Of the 27 drownings that have occurred in Victoria since 2000, 12 involved children who were not residents of the property. In one case, the child had entered the pool area without the knowledge of the property owner.
I live in an apartment complex with a shared community pool. Who is responsible for registering the pool?
When a pool or spa is on common property managed by an owners corporation, the owners
corporation is responsible for arranging the registration, inspection and certification of the pool or spa barrier.
How do I lodge the certificate of barrier compliance with my council?
You should contact the council or check their website about their process for lodging a certificate of barrier compliance.
What happens if I don’t lodge a certificate of barrier compliance?
It is an offence to not lodge a certificate of barrier compliance.
If a certificate of pool and spa barrier compliance is not lodged by the due date, the owner of pool/spa may face an on-the-spot fine of approximately $330 and a penalty of up to $1,652.20.