Frequently Asked Questions
What is the definition of a swimming pool?
The Swimming Pools Act describes a swimming pool as an excavation, structure or vessel:
- that is capable of being filled with water to a depth of greater than 300 millimetres
- that is solely or principally used, or that is designed, manufactured or adapted to be solely or principally used for the purpose of swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity.
A spa pool is classified as a swimming pool by the Act. The definition of a spa includes any excavation, structure or vessel in the nature of a spa pool, flotation tank, tub or the like, but not a spa bath.
What changes have been made to fencing requirements in the Swimming Pools Amendment Act 2012?
The requirements for fencing remain the same as prior to the Swimming Pools Amendment Act 2012.
Do I need to fence (install a child-resistance barrier for) my fish pond?
No. If a fish pond has been designed and, manufactured to be solely used as a fish pond, then no child-resistant barrier is required.
Do I need to fence (install a child-resistance barrier for) my spa?
You need to fence your spa pool if it is not covered and secured by a lockable lid.
Does my portable pool need to be fenced (have a child-resistant barrier installed)?
Yes. By definition, a portable pool is a swimming pool and is required to be fenced (child-resistant barrier). The fence/barrier has to meet the requirements of Standard AS 1926-1 (Building Code of Australia).
Will pool owners with existing pools that have exemptions for fencing requirements now be required to upgrade their pool barriers?
No. However, if a pool owner has voluntarily fenced the pool or has made substantial changes, then any exemption is voided and the pool must meet its particular fencing requirements.
Whose responsibility is it to make sure children are safe around private pools?
The pool owner. While the Government provides the legislative framework to ensure a high standard of private pool barrier fencing, ultimate responsibility for pool safety lies with pool owner/s to ensure that their pool barriers comply with the prescribed standard, and with parents and carers of young children to ensure that they are adequately supervised around pools at all times.
It is however the responsibility of the occupier (in rented properties) to comply with the requirements of the Act in certain circumstances.
Can I get a Compliance Certificate for peace of mind, even if I’m not selling or leasing my property?
Yes . You can organise for a Hills Pool Inspections (private certifier) to inspect your pool. A fee will be charged.
Swimming Pool Register Questions
How do I register my pool?
Swimming pools are to be registered at www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au.
Hills Pool Inspections can do this on your behalf when they organise your Compliance certificate
What information do I need to register my swimming pool?
You will be required to enter your name, address, contact details, the type of pool, and the approximate age of pool. You will need to complete a self-assessment checklist about your pool.
Will I incur a fine if I get my self-assessment wrong?
No. It is a self-assessment only. What does a ‘self-assessment’ entail? You will use a simple checklist to self-assess if your pool fence meets the appropriate Australian Standards.
When do I have to register my pool?
The Register will be available from 29 April 2013 and pool owners will have until the 29 October 2013 to register their pool on-line.
Will I be fined if I don’t register my pool?
From 29 October 2013, Council authorised officers may fine pool owners if their pool is not registered on the NSW Swimming Pool Register.
The fine is $220.00. In the event that an inspector refers the matter to court, a fine of up to a maximum of $2,200 may be imposed.
Other fines from Council are $550 for failure to comply with an item of an order and can escalate to $5,500 per item of Non Compliance if the matter is referred to a court.
How much will it cost me to register my swimming pool?
There is no fee to register your swimming pool on-line. Hills Pool Inspections will do this for you as part of their Certification Services.
I have recently purchased a property that has a swimming pool. What do I need to do to change the registration details?
Nothing. The register is about a pool at an address. You do not need to update any ownership details.
You should check the Pool Safety information checklists available from the register website.
I own a home unit in a complex that has a swimming pool. Do I need a compliance certificate before I can sell or lease it?
Not yet. After 29 April 2016 you will need a pool compliance certificate to sell or lease your unit.
Your body corporate or strata manager will hold the compliance certificate on behalf of all unit holders and make it available to pool owners when or if required. Hills Pool Inspections can organise this for you.
How do I know if a pool has been registered?
You will not be able to search the Swimming Pool Register to check if a pool is registered at an address. Hills Pool Inspections will be able to provide this information upon request.
I am looking at selling my property with a pool. What are my responsibilities?
From 29 October 2013, your pool must have been registered on the NSW Swimming Pool Register.
From 29 April 2016, you will need to have a current swimming pool compliance certificate.
My current compliance certificate will soon expire (after three years). Do I need to get another compliance certificate before it expires?
Only tourist, visitor and multi-occupancy developments automatically need a current compliance certificate.
You do not need to update your compliance certificate unless you are selling, leasing or renting your property after 29 April 2016.
Do I need to get another compliance certificate every time I lease my property to a new tenant?
No. A compliance certificate is valid for three years.
It is recommended that each Compliance Certificate be renewed / reinspected every 2 ½ years to leave time for rectification works if required. Hills Pool Inspections can organise this for you.
I don’t think my neighbours have registered their pool. Can I do it for them?
No. It is the owner’s responsibility to do this. If you have concerns about the swimming pool’s compliance, Hills Pool Inspections can organise this for you.
My neighbour leases his property and I don’t think the pool is registered or has a compliance certificate. Who should I contact?
You should contact your local council regarding enforcement of the Swimming Pools Act, or suggest they contact Hills Pool Inspections.
Pool Compliance Certificate Questions
Who will need a current compliance certificate?
All pools on private properties that are for sale or lease after 29 April 2016 and tourist, visitor and multi-occupancy developments (such as hotels, caravan parks and residential unit blocks).
I have a swimming pool. Do I need a compliance certificate?
Not necessarily. Council inspection programs are to be developed in consultation with the local community, and are to be adopted and commenced by no later than 29 October 2013.
Your local council’s inspection policy will determine if/when your pool may be inspected. OR Hills Pool Inspections can organise this for you.
How long is a compliance certificate valid?
A compliance certificate is valid for a period of three years, unless a subsequent inspection finds the pool to be non-compliant.
Who can provide me with a compliance certificate?
Accredited certifier under the Building Professional Act 2005 (a Private Certifier). Hills Pool Inspections can organise this for you.
Your local Council can also do this if you prefer them to.
Pool Safety Regulations
If minor things need doing will you let me do them while you are there so that I pass?
Yes. Our goal is for you to pass on the first inspection, so if there are any small jobs that need doing to allow you to pass,
wherever possible, we are happy for you to attend to them while we are there so that you comply with the pool safety regulations.
Common things are pot plants, chairs, tables, BBQ’s that need moving further away or a few branches may need trimming.
Why should I use the checklist – isn’t that your job?
Our job is to ascertain whether your pool is compliant with the pool safety regulations or not and report the outcome accordingly.
We want to assist you in being compliant on the first inspection to minimize the associated costs to you.
We strongly believe that using the Checklist prior to an inspection greatly increases your chances of passing the first time. Now that has to be a good thing!
When will I get my certificate?
When we complete a Pool Safety Inspection it is a requirement for us to provide you with either a pool compliance certificate (or a Notice advising of Items that do not comply) within 7 working days depending on the inspection outcome.
If a notice is issued how long do I have to fix it?
You have Six (6) weeks from the date of the Notice. You need to be aware that if you do not call us back within Six weeks to re-inspect, we are then obligated to forward a copy of the Notice to the local Council . And we don’t want to do that.
How will I know what to fix?
We detail on the Notice, in easy to understand language, what the problem is and how to fix it. In addition to that we provide a identifying photos of the problem areas so you know where to look.
We also attach a report with photos and point to the problem spots and again draw your attention to the problem. And don’t forget, if you have any problems understanding what we mean we are only a phone call away.
Why should I pay a re-inspection fee if my pool doesn’t pass on the first inspection?
We could raise our fees to include the associated costs of returning to your property but we don’t want to as it would mean that if you pass on the first inspection
you would be paying more than you need to. And we don’t think that’s right. Not only that, if we do the repairs we do not charge a re-inspection fee.
I think my pool is going to fail – what should I do?
Phone us. We are here to help. We may not be able to solve all things over the phone but we will certainly try.
We are also happy to look at photos of problem spots beforehand to see if we can find a solution. Like we said, we want to do what we can to assist you in being compliant on the first inspection.
I have a self closing door from my house, is this still ok?
If it is an outdoor pool it will not comply with current pool safety regulations. Child resistant doors are only allowable for indoor pools. For outdoor pools a barrier must be in place between the building and the pool.
When do I have to have a Pool Compliance Certificate by?
The new regulations were due to be implemented by the 29th April 2014. The State Government has delayed this till 29 April 2016 to allow time for suitably trained Inspectors to be qualified and Certified in the industry.
Be aware, that in many cases, a pool might require works to bring the pool barriers ‘up to code’ and this can take time. If you wish to sell or rent your property, you CANNOT do either without a current and valid Compliance Certificate.
If I am not selling or leasing?
No but you do need to ensure that your pool is compliant with today’s pool safety regulations. Council may inspect you pool to determine whether it is compliant or not.
Our recommendation is to have a current pool Compliance Certificate in place so that you can show that your pool is compliant but it is not a government requirement yet, until after the date you wish to place the property into the market.
Any other questions? contact your local Certifier, Hills Pool Inspections.