NSW updates its swimming pool regulations

Effective from 1 September this year, the NSW Government made changes to the Swimming Pool Regulation 2008. To ensure your strata property remains compliant and so you’re on top of the changes, here are some key points to take note of:

How should your swimming pool be built?
Any swimming pool needs to be constructed in compliance with the Building Code of Australia. You need to build, install and regularly maintain adequate barriers and safety structures around your swimming pools. Every doorway, window and entry point needs to be built as mandated by the Building Code of Australia.

What are some of the mandatory safety measures?
Your pool needs to child safe, with locked gates and barriers. There must be clear warning notices and helpful information displayed around it, visible from at least three metres away. It’s important to spell out and display warnings such as “Children must be actively supervised when using the swimming pool” or “Pool gates need to be closed at all times”.

Do you need to register your pools with the authorities?
Yes, you do. While registering, you will need to mention details regarding the type of pool constructed. Is it an outdoor or indoor pool? Is it built above or below ground? Is it a spa pool? You will also need to provide details of your address specifying the premises where the pool has been built – whether it’s a residential unit, a strata managed property, a multi-lot property, a tourist resort, and so on.

If you’re living in a strata property, your committee or manager will take care of these details on your behalf. Regular inspections and compliance checks will need to be scheduled to ensure your swimming pools are well maintained and continue to meet the safety criteria outlined by the Building Code of Australia.

Do you need to pay for pool inspections and certifications?
Yes, you will need to pay for the inspections. For strata properties, the levies should cover these fees.

How long are the certificates of compliance valid?
They will be valid for a period of 3 years from the date of issue. To get a new certificate of compliance you need to reapply for one and will be issued one only after due inspection of your pool. You will also need to pay the fee as per the new certificate being issued.

When is a certificate of non-compliance issued?
If your swimming pools fail to comply with regulations, safety measures or registration requirements after an inspection, you will be issued a certificate of non-compliance by the inspecting authority. In case of non-compliance, a certification of non-compliance will also be provided by the local inspecting authority and entered on the register.

In some strata managed properties or community schemes comprising more than two lots, this does not apply. A certificate of non-compliance is not issued for a swimming pool on common property per the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015. This also covers any association property in a community scheme according to the Community Land Development Act 1989.

Can there be any exemptions to building barriers around your pool?
You may apply for exemptions from building barriers around your pool. These exemptions need to be granted by local authorities only after you submit the proper applications, pay the required fees and justify the circumstances.

Can you be denied an exemption?
Yes, your application may be denied by the local authority if it fails to meet all the safety and compliance checks or if the fees are not paid. They may apply further conditions before granting an exemption. If your application for exemption is denied or modified, they inspecting authority will provide reasons for doing so. They will also issue certificates for compliance or non-compliance if your pool does not meet the criteria.

With new laws and changes happening quite often across states, there are various nuances, case to case exceptions and specifications. Your strata managers will be able to clarify them for you, so make sure to connect with them if you have specific questions. For more information, click here to visit the government’s website.