If you have tried to sell our lease your house after April, 2016, you may have been one of the many who were surprised to find out that your pool fence is not compliant and that you would need to address this before you are allowed to pass on occupancy.

Although the swimming pools act has been around since 1992, since April in 2016 councils across NSW have been clamping down on homeowners who are looking to sell or lease their house and whose pool fences do not meet these requirements. You can find out more about the swimming pools act here

What you need to know to make sure pool fence compliant?

If you have been told that your fence is not compliant, we have created a good guide to help you become better informed when contacting an installer to make these changes.

Is your fence compliant?

To make sure your pool fence is compliant you have to ensure that the following requirements are met:

  • All gaps between the fence panels and the ground, or other panels needs to be less than 100mm.
    Note: a different rule applies to the gate panel, which is covered in the next section.
  • Any surface protruding or indenting in the fence with a depth of greater than 10mm will need to be 900mm apart from each other, and be at least 900mm away from the top of the pool fence and the ground level.
  • A 900mm clearance zone arc on the outside of the pool fence area needs to be cleared of steps. If any steps are present in this area, the pool fence will need to be raised by 1200mm.
  • If the step is on the inside of the pool area, a 300mm clearance zone applies.

Are your pool gate, latch & hinges compliant?

The gate on your pool fence has to adhere to several regulation requirements to ensure that it is compliant. These include:

  • The gate needs to be fitted so that it only swings outward from the pool, and there has to be enough clearance so that the swing of the arc of the gate can open freely without any obstructions.
  • The opening underneath the pool gate (and any other panel on the pool fence) can not exceed 100mm
  • The gate also needs to be self-closing, so that it can be closed from a stationary position without any manual force.
  • The latch on the gate needs to automatically lock upon closing to stop the gate from being re-opened without manually being released.
  • The gap between the gate panel and the latching panel needs to be less than 10mm
  • If the latch is located less than 1500mm from the ground level, it will have to be located on the interior side of the gate panel (toward the pool) in such a way that there is 1500mm distance from the ground level outside the fence, to the latch on the inside.
  • Do your hinges protrude more than 10mm from the pool fence? If so, they are considered to be a step and will need to have a pointed cap with a slope of 60 degrees or more to become compliant.

What else you need to know

The guide above covers most of the important items that you need to be informed about when consulting with an installer about making your pool fence compliant, or when trying to DIY. Although every effort has been made to keep this guide as thorough and up to date as possible, there may be certain aspects that need to be addressed on your pool fence that is not covered above, and as such this should only be used as a guide. If you would like to know more about the swimming pools regulations act, you can visit any of the resources mentioned in the references section below.

What you need to know about he changes in the swimming pool fence registrations act, 2016

Whether you are thinking about installing a new pool in your home or if you have an existing one, there are several safety guidelines and precautions that you must abide by to ensure your pool is up to code.

This becomes even more important if you will be selling or renting out your new property as the “Swimming Pool Act, 1992” has now been amended to include clauses that specifically address the sale and lease of properties post April 28, 2016. A full copy of these regulations can be found at Fair Trading NSW, however we have summarised the key points below.

What are the swimming pool registration certificates you require for compliance in 2016

Regulations aside, having a pool that is not fenced is a major safety concern. This becomes even more imperative if you have young children living in your home or who often visit. For children who are under the age of 5, drowning is the major cause of death that is classified as “preventable”. For this reason, the “Swimming Pools Act of 1992” was updated in 2012 to address these issues. What do these changes mean to you? The following points should clarify what you need to know.

  • If you own a swimming pool in New South Wales, you must register your pool here
  • You must then have your pool inspected by an “accredited certifier” who has been registered with the building professional’s board or you can contact your local council for more information on how to get certified.

The changes in NSW Pool regulations from April 29, 2016

From April 29/2016 further regulations have been passed which impact the sale or lease of a home that contains a spa or swimming pool. This is what you need to know about these changes:

  • If you are leasing out your property: you require a relevant occupation certificate or a valid copy of your certificate of compliance. This must be included with your tenancy agreement when you rent out the property. Note: This does not apply if your rental property is part of a strata lot or community schemes with more than 2 lots.
  • If you are selling your property: You will need either of the above, or a certificate of non-compliance. This must be attached to your sales contract. As per the rental clause, this change does not apply if you are part a lot in strata, in community-schemes with greater than 2 lots or if your home is off-the-plan.

Do These Changes Apply to me?

If you own a property with a spa or swimming pool, then these laws will apply to you. If your property is part of a community scheme or a strata, the laws still apply however it is the responsibility of your body corporate to ensure that your pool is in compliance with any regulations.

Which types of pools need to comply with these changes?

This law applies to any vessel, structure or excavation that are capable of being filled with 30cm or more of water or has been adapted for human aquatic activity.

Requirements for renting a property with a spa or swimming pool

It is the responsibility of the agent or the landlord to ensure that swimming pools meet the requirements of the “swimming pool act 1992” prior to leasing out the property or when an agreement has been entered in to. This law is effective as of April 29, 2016 and applies to all properties except those that are in a strata lot or community schemes of more than 2 lots.
If you are the tenant who is leasing a property after April 29, 2016, ensure that your lease includes a certificate of compliance for your swimming pool.

Compliance requirements for buying (or selling) a property with a spa or swimming pool in NSW

If you are buying a new house with a swimming pool, it is the land owner’s responsibility to ensure that the pool has met regulations prior to the sale, or to ensure that a “certificate of non-compliance” has been provided with the documents of sale. To sum it up, you must be provided with either of the following:

  • A certificate of compliance (Note, you can check if the pool has been registered with the swimming pool register here)
  • A certificate of non-compliance.
  • Proof that the pool is currently registered, accompanied by an occupation certificate which has been issued within 3 years of the sale.
    Note: If this certificate is not provided when required, you as the buyer have the right to negate the contract with 14 days (unless you have already settled).

What is a certificate of non-compliance and how will it impact the sale of a property with a swimming pool?

A certificate of non-compliance is issued by the seller to the buyer which essentially passes on all onus of meeting regulations from the seller to the buyer. If this has been included in the documents of sale, the buyer is agreeing to take on this responsibility, and has 90 days to rectify any issues from the date of settlement. They will then need to obtain a valid certificate of compliance to ensure that they have met all requirements.

What is an occupation certificate and how does it relate to the swimming pools act 1992?

An occupation certificate allows you to occupy a building by proving that the structure has met the requirements of the Building Code of Australia and the Australian Standards. This certificate can only be issued for new buildings within 12 months of the building first being used.
With regards to meeting the swimming pools act, this is only valid if the certificate of registration is less than 3 years old and the certificate specifically authorised the swimming pool being used.

Pool Fencing Requirements in NSW

If your swimming pool does not contain a fence, your pool is not currently compliant with the swimming pools act. It is the land owner’s responsibility to ensure that:

  • Your pool is fully fenced around the perimeter at all times, which separates your house and any adjoining structures with the pool.
  • The required warning stickers are displayed near the pool
  •  All gates and entrances to the pool are closed or blocked at all times so that children cannot run into the pool area unsupervised
  • The pool fence is completely compliant with the Australian Standards for pools.

If you are looking for pool fencing that is fully compliant with the Swimming Pools Act of 1992 and the Australian Standards, Avant-Garde Glass provided beautiful frameless glass fences at an affordable rate. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

References:

Standards Australia 2012, Swimming Pool Safety Part 1: Safety barriers for swimming pools, AS 1926.1-2012. Available from: Australian Standards.

“NSW Legislation”. Legislation.nsw.gov.au. N.p., 2016. Web. 5 Sept. 2016.