The Ins and Outs of Pool Compliance in NSW
Who is a Pool owner?
A pool owner is a person or people who own a property with a pool or spa pool. If you lease a property it is your landlord, if you are part of strata-run property it is the management. If you are one of these and have a pool on the property, this means you are legally responsible to maintain the pool barrier in obedience to Pool Compliance in NSW.
Pool Compliance in NSW?
The laws directing Pool Compliance in NSW
are the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and local regulations which work together with Australian Standard 1926 (AS1926) to establish the safety standards for ‘backyard’ swimming pools. Law-makers amended these documents constantly, thus, apply differently at different points in time. These came into effect in April of 2016 and since then whenever a property changes hands, with either a contract of sale or a new lease agreement, a certificate of compliance is required to be attached. This also meant a change to other regulations
These regulations are:
- The Swimming Pools Amendment (Inspections) Regulation 2016
- The Conveyancing (Sale of Land) Amendment (Swimming Pools) Regulation 2016
- The Residential Tenancies Amendment (Swimming Pools) Regulation 2016.
Why did these laws come into effect?
Pool compliance laws in NSW were implemented as a reaction to the large number of young lives that were being lost in back yard swimming pools each year in Australia. A large percentage of these deaths are due to falling in the pool (2017/2018 it was 78%). Barring child access to the pool area prevents these deadly tragedy. Since these laws were enacted, a reduction in the rate of drowning deaths in the 0 – 4 years old children is seen. Referencing the yearly reports from the Royal Life Saving National on drowning deaths we can see a declining trend. Over the last 6 years, the number of drowning deaths in pools has been reducing based on a 10-year average (fig 1). The laws coupled with education of dangers of water seem to be working well to reduce the rate. However, looking at the study of non-fatal drownings, there is a 2:1 ratio for non-fatal drownings: fatal drowning deaths.
A note from the Inspector
Because these laws are still in their infancy, there are still many pools that remain non-compliant and therefore poise a risk to young lives.
The reason I do what I do is not just for a job, it is to ensure the safety
of children who don’t have the capacity to understand the dangers and risk in a backyard swimming pool environment. These kids cannot comprehend the danger of a pool. Every pool owner needs to be aware that the risk, even if it is not your child, is ever present. We must do the best we can to ensure the pool barrier is in a state of good repair, without climb zones, gates that self-close and barriers that stop kids from accessing the pool area. These Pool Compliance laws can save lives!