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Streamlined pool safety regulations to make homeowners’ lives easier


Homeowners looking to add a swimming pool or replace their pool fences will find it quicker and easier to meet safety requirements, thanks to new measures announced by the Cook Government last week. The amendments to the Building Regulations 2012 aim to streamline the process for installing safety barriers around pools by reducing the requirement for a building permit in most instances. Starting 21 June 2024, under the newly introduced regulations, local governments will be mandated to inspect newly installed pools within 30 days to ensure that their fences comply with safety standards. Should any safety barriers be found non-compliant during initial inspections, local governments will have 60 days to re-inspect the properties. They are also required to report any overdue inspections to Building and Energy. Despite the simplified process, local governments must still conduct a physical inspection and compliance check of pool barriers every four years to maintain the high level of safety expected.

Commerce Minister Sue Ellery highlighted the critical role of homeowners in maintaining pool safety, emphasizing the need to secure pool gates and keep safety barriers in good condition. “Tragically, drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for young children in Australia, and most of these devastating incidents happen in private swimming pools,” she said. Ellery further elaborated on the importance of pool safety barriers as a preventive measure, “While close and active supervision by an adult remains the best safety measure to keep young children safe around water, pool safety barriers play a vital role in restricting access.”

According to the Building Regulations 2012, all private swimming, spa, and portable pools deeper than 30 centimetres, including paddle pools, must be equipped with a compliant safety barrier. Non-compliance may result in fines or prosecution. Increased surveillance by councils and government agencies, including the use of aerial photography to monitor backyard pools, has made compliance more crucial than ever.

For homeowners seeking more information on adhering to the regulations, resources such as the Backyard Pool Safety information bulletin are available. This bulletin was developed in conjunction with the Swimming Pool & Spa Association of WA (SPASA WA) and Royal Life Saving Society WA (RLSSWA) and can be accessed through the DEMIRS website.

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