Pool Safety Inspections Tip #6: Background of Pool Safety Laws

Residential swimming pools should be safe places for families to relax and have fun. In 1991 amendments to the Local Government Act and the Standard Building By-laws required every swimming pool, regardless of when the pool was constructed, to have a complying fence around it unless the local council granted an exemption. Since the introduction of mandatory pool fencing the number of child drownings has halved.

Since 1991, 11 different standards were applied to swimming pools, depending on the year of construction. In 2008  the Queensland Government announced the most comprehensive review of Queensland’s pool safety laws in nearly 20 years. This review focused on reducing the number of drownings and serious immersion injuries in swimming pools involving children less than five years of age. A swimming pool safety review committee was established comprising representatives from the Queensland Government, local government, industry and child and water safety groups. The committee’s task was to consider key areas of swimming pool safety, and provide information about how to improve Queensland’s  swimming pool safety laws.

The committee provided its report in April 2009 with 23 improvement ideas for Queensland’s swimming pool safety laws. In preparing its report the committee considered submissions from a range of stakeholders in addition to interstate and international regulatory systems for swimming pool safety.

After considering the report and the submissions from the public consultation process, the Queensland Government approved a two-stage swimming pool safety strategy. The pool safety strategy included amendments to the swimming pool safety laws, education programs about the importance of supervision of children around pools and encouraging people to teach children to swim at a young age.

Stage one commenced on 1 December 2009 and applied mostly to new residential outdoor swimming pools. It included:

  • introducing the latest swimming pool safety standards
  • regulating temporary fencing for pools
  • mandatory follow-up final inspections
  • introducing the latest cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) signage standards.

The final stage, stage 2, commenced on 1 December 2010 and mostly affects existing swimming pools. The stage two measures include:

  • the establishment of an independent PSC
  • a training and licensing framework for pool safety inspectors
  • replacing 11 different  pool safety standards with one pool safety standard for all regulated pools—Queensland Development Code Mandatory Part 3.4. Both new and existing pools must comply with the standard within five years, or earlier if sold or a lease or other accommodation agreement is entered into prior to 30 November 2015
  • a five-year phase out of child-resistant doors used as pool barriers for existing pools, or earlier if the property is sold or a lease or other accommodation agreement is entered into prior to 30 November 2015
  • wider application of pool safety laws to include indoor pools, pools associated with buildings such as hotels, motels, caretaker residences, backpacker hostels (class 3 and 4 buildings— refer to Appendix C of this guideline) and mobile home, caravan park and home stay pools
  • a sale and lease compliance system, requiring pool safety certificates to be obtained from a licensed pool safety inspector when a property with a pool is sold or a lease or other accommodation agreement is entered into. Pool safety certificates are valid for one year for shared pools and two years for non-shared pools
  • requiring all regulated pools to be included in a state-based pool safety register
  • fencing for portable pools and spas deeper than 300 millimetres
  • mandatory inspections by local governments for immersion incidents of children under five in swimming pools. These incidents must be reported by hospitals and the Queensland Ambulance Service, including voluntary reporting by doctors and nurses, to Queensland Health.

Pool Safety Inspections and Pool Safety Certificates are required for all pools in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.  We are the experts in pool safety inspections and offer advice and cost effective solutions to any issues with your pool fence.  For honest advice as well as pool inspections and pool safety certificates call Aegis Building Inspections today. (07) 3103 3393

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