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Slip, slop and slap on a fine for non-compliant pool owners

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe deadline for residents to bring backyard pools in Queensland up to scratch has passed and if your pool, spa pool or portable swimming pool does not meet the State Government’s pool safety standards you may face penalties in excess of $800.

The November 30 deadline has loomed for some months now and from today if your pool fence isn’t high enough or the gate doesn’t lock properly and the Council inspectors catch you out, be prepared to fork out some serious coin.

If your pool isn’t registered with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission residents could be stung with a $2356 fine and further penalties up to $18,785.25 can be issued to pool owners if they fail to comply with the safety standards.

All pools need to comply with the standards, get signed off by a licensed pool safety inspector and be registered with the QBCC.

Pool safety inspector Marcel Stam* from Gladstone Building and Pest Inspections thought there was still about 40% of pools in the Gladstone region that weren’t compliant. An inspection will cost anywhere between $185 – $300. “Even if your pool is compliant, just about every pool will need new CPR signs because child resuscitation has been added,” he said. “The most common thing are gates not self-closing, vegetation growing through fences and gardens built up too close to fences.

If you’re unsure your pool complies with the State Government’s safety standards, here’s the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Pool compliance checklist (QBCC).

To see if your pool is already registered, you can check online at http://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/ and click on the Pool Safety link.

If you’re selling your property, you don’t need a pool safety certificate. But if you don’t provide a certificate, you must give the buyer a ‘Form 36-notice of no pool safety certificate’ before entering a contract of sale. They buyer must get a pool safety certificate within 90 days of settlement.

POOL FENCES

  • The height of your pool fence must be at least 1200mm.
  • The gap between the bottom of the fence and the ground must be no more than 100mm.
  • The gap between your pool fence rails cannot be closer than 900mm apart.
  • You must ensure there aren’t any climbable objects within 900mm from the outside and 300mm from the inside of your pool fence.
  • All pool fences must be properly maintained.

SIGNAGE

  • A current CPR sign must be easily visible to anyone near the pool.

DOORS

  • You must ensure that no doors or windows provide direct access from the house to the pool and windows which open onto the pool area must be fixed so that they don’t open more than 100mm.

GATES

  • Pool gates must open away from the pool.
  • The gate must self-close and self-latch from all open positions.
  • Gate latches must be at least 1500mm off the ground and 1400mm above the top part of the lower horizontal railings.
  • If your latch is located on the inside, it needs to be a minimum of 150mm below the top of the fence and covered with a 450mm radius shield on the outside.
  • The hinges on the pool gate must be at least 900mm apart or the lower hinge has a non-climbable safety cap.

PORTABLE SWIMMING POOLS

  • Portable swimming pools greater than 300 mm deep are to be fenced. In Queensland this depth is 450 mm and the portable pool cannot be greater than 2000 litres in volume nor have a filtration system. Aligning Queensland with the national depth of 300 mm will improve safety and increase consistency. Research suggests that mandatory safety warnings on portable swimming pools would be unlikely to reduce the number of children who drown or become immersed in portable pools. A public education and awareness campaign is considered to be a more effective approach.

This is a guide only and if you’re still unsure you should contact a licensed pool safety inspector to carry out a full safety audit.

* Source: The Observer, Gladstone

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Paying Off Your Own Property Can Be Cheaper than Renting…

cheaperAustralia has 238 suburbs or towns where the mortgage repayment is lower than the median rent, based on a principal and interest loan on a variable mortgage rate, RP Data has claimed.

The researcher has just launched its annual ‘Buy versus Rent’ study for 2012, reporting the difference between the cost of paying rent and paying a mortgage across each suburb or town around the country.

Using an interest only loan, the list expanded to 1,320 suburbs/towns.

RP Data research director Tim Lawless said the results boded well for first homebuyers returning to the market. “We may see consumers returning to the property market as they realise in some suburbs [buying] may actually be cheaper than renting,” he said.

Lawless added that other factors support more buyers coming into the market. “With lower mortgage rates, tight rental markets resulting in some rental increases and lower home values, many buyers may see now as a good time to either re-enter the market or buy their first home,” he said.

By state, Queensland had the most markets where it is cheaper to buy than rent, dominated by regional towns, which accounted for 68 of the state’s 84 markets that made the list.

New South Wales property markets also featured heavily on the list, with 54 markets showing cheaper mortgage payments than median rents – 22 were in Sydney, the remainder in the regional parts of the state.

Melbourne recorded just two markets where a property is now cheaper to buy than rent. Adelaide had 20 and Canberra had only one.

The majority of Western Australia markets on the list were in the state’s regional areas, which enjoyed the lion’s share of locations where buying is cheaper.

Lawless pointed out that although the measure didn’t consider other costs of ownership, “it is a good starting point for further investigations into whether or not a potential purchaser should consider buying within a specific suburb.”

 

Source : Life @ Home (2 October 2012)

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Ever wondered whether it is better to buy or rent?

rentCheck out this just released report from RP Data which compares the cost of renting to having a mortgage, based on 4 different mortgage choices.

Findings showed there were 238 suburbs nationally where servicing a loan was more affordable than paying the landlord rent based on the most popular principal and interest scenario with a variable mortgage rate.  Based on an interest only loan with a fixed rate over three years the number of suburbs expanded to 1,759 suburbs nationally.

All these findings and detailed tables are available in the report which can be downloaded here for free:  www.rpdata.com/buyorrent

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New Listings for this Week, Available Now!

Hi all,

Don’t forget about our New Listings email, sent out every week which features interesting articles and the list of properties open or inspection. Click here to check it out, you can always subscribe to recieve it!

Thanks!

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