Swimming pools and spas
Children under the age of five are at highest risk of both fatal and non-fatal drownings in Victoria and on average four children die from drowning each year.
In Victoria, the construction and installation of swimming pools, spas and safety barriers and barrier maintenance are all subject to the requirements of the Building Regulations 2018.
Swimming pool owners, along with occupier or tenant of a property with a pool or spa, have obligations to ensure the pool or spa is safe at all times. This includes ensuring that any swimming pool or spa fence, barrier, gate or door is maintained in good working order and that gates or doors providing access to a swimming pool or spa remain closed except when entering the pool or spa.
New Swimming Pool and Spa Laws
The State Government introduced new laws on 1 December 2019 aimed at improving safety around pools and spas in Victoria. The new laws introduce the following requirements:
- New One-Off registration of all residential Pools and Spas with Council;
- Regular inspection of pool and spa safety barriers (by Council or a registered pool inspector); and
- Submission of pool and spa barrier compliance certificates to Council following an inspection
Step 1 - Register your pool or spa by 1 November 2020
All existing pools and spas must be registered with council by 1 November 2020. This applies to all pools and spa’s capable of holding water to a depth of 30cm or more and includes all permanent pools/spas (such as above ground, indoor pools, inground pools/spas and hot tubs) as well as all temporary pools/spas (such as wading pools, relocatable pools, inflatable pools and hot tubs/spas).
A once off registration and search fee of $79.00 applies, in accordance with the Building Regulations 2018.
Council encourages all swimming pool and spa owners to register their pool/spa online. You can register your pool by following the Registration link below.
You will be encouraged to attach all building permit documents you may have in relation to the swimming pool/spa, including the final inspection or occupancy permit, if you have them. These documents are important to help determine the relevant safety barrier standard.
Once you have registered your pool or spa you will receive an email from Council advising the date your pool was built and the date by which you are required to lodge a certificate of compliance to verify that your pool or spa barrier is safe.
Failure of a property owner to register a swimming pool or spa may result in enforcement action being taken (such as issuing an infringement notice for failing to register) or legal action as a last resort.
Any pool or spa where construction is completed after 1 November 2020 must be registered 30 days after receipt of the occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection.
Any relocatable pool or spa erected on or after 1 November remaining onsite for three consecutive days, must be registered on the fourth day after the pool is erected.
Step 2 – Safety Barrier Inspection by a Registered Inspector
Property owners will need to have their swimming pool and spa safety barriers inspected and certified by a registered Building Surveyor or registered Building Inspector. Following the inspection, a certificate of barrier compliance must be lodged with Council. If a safety barrier is not compliant, a certificate of non-compliance may be issued requiring works to bring the barrier up to the relevant standard. The owner is responsible for making the barrier compliant.
The requirements for safety barrier compliance will vary depending on the date of the pool or spa construction. Barrier inspection and compliance certificates must be lodged with Council according to the timeframe associated with the pool construction date. The current compliance certificate submission dates are outlined below:
Swimming Pool/Spa Construction Date
Compliance Certificate must be lodged by:
No record of building permit for pool or spa
1 November 2021
On or before 30 June 1994
1 November 2021
Between 1 July 1994 to 30 April 2010
1 November 2022
Between 1 May 2010 to 31 October 2020
1 November 2023
Council's Building Services Unit will be providing a Swimming Pool and Spa Safety Barrier Inspection and Certification program commencing in August 2021. You will be able to lodge online to obtain an inspection and a certificate of compliance. An inspection fee will be charged for this service.
Step 3 – Submit a compliance certificate
Once issued, you must provide a copy of the Certificate of Compliance to Council within 30 days of the date of issue and prior to the date specified by Council in your registration confirmation email.
Costs set by the Building Regulations 2018 apply for the lodgement of swimming pool and spa barrier certificates with Council. A Certificate of Barrier Compliance costs $20.40 to lodge, whereas a Certificate of Barrier Non-Compliance will cost $385 to lodge. A higher cost for lodging a Certificate of Barrier Non-Compliance is due to work required by Council to ensure the barrier is brought back into compliance.
After the inspection and certification process has been complete, you must ensure your pool and spa barrier is reinspected and re-certified every 4 years.
A Compliance Certificate must be issued on Form 23 under the Building Amendment Regulations 2019 - please do not upload Form 17 certificates of final inspection here.
Are you compliant? You can check
The requirements for compliance will vary depending on the date of the pool or spa construction. Further self-assessment checklists are available from the Victorian Building Authority's website.
Council's Building Services Unit has developed a Frequently Asked Questions responding to common questions raised about the new legislation.
- Victorian Building Authority - Pools and Spas
- Victorian Building Authority Practice Note on Swimming pool and spa safety
- Kids Alive- Water Safety
- Royal Life Saving Society
Contact Council's Building Services on 9240 1111.