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