Pool safety laws for Property Managers
If your rental properties have a pool, there are several rules and regulations that apply to everyone involved in the lease.
The property owner is ultimately responsible for providing a compliant pool safety fence. They are responsible for providing evidence of the safety certificate with the rental agreement.
The property manager is obliged to ensure that a rental property with a pool is compliant with the regulations. They must ensure that the landlord and the tenant are aware of the regulations. It is important for Property Managers to add pool safety issues into their regular quarterly inspections. Tenants often tell us that non-compliance issues, such as non-closing gates, overhanging branches, loose fence panels, paling off timber fences etc. have been there for many many months.
The tenant is obliged to ensure that the pool safety fence is in good working order and they must notify the property manager of any deficiencies. Tenants must not put patio furniture, storage boxes, pot plants, dog kennels and kids play stuff up against fences. All of these things provide a foothold thus reducing the 1200mm fence height. There is a Non-Climbable Zone (NCZ) that extends 900mm on the outside and 300mm on the inside of the pool fence. Nothing within the NCZ can reduce the minimum effective fence height of 1200mm.
The bottom line is… everyone has a responsibility to make sure that children are the first consideration when it comes to pool safety.
Maintain the Non-Climbable Zone
An important feature of the pool safety fence is the non-climbable zone. This means young children should not be able to get a toe or hand hold on any object adjacent to a pool fence. It is the responsibility of the pool owner as well as the tenant to make sure that outdoor furniture, barbeques, pot plants or any other garden or patio items do not encroach or compromise the non-climbable zone around a pool fence.
Another potential issue is the maintenance of gardens around the pool fence. At the time of obtaining a pool safety certificate, the pool inspector would have checked all surrounding gardens and trees. They do this to ensure that all safety requirements were met in accordance with the regulations. Over time, there is a requirement to maintain gardens and adjacent trees. This is to ensure that the pool safety fence is not compromised.
What else to look out for in a rental property with a pool?
You must have a current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign clearly displayed near your swimming pool. This is a part of the requirements of the pool safety certificate.
A swimming pool is defined as an above or below ground structure principally used for swimming or bathing, and includes some models of portable pools and spas. If your portable pool or spa can hold at least 300mm of water, then the pool safety laws apply to you.
- minimum barrier height from finished ground level to the top of the barrier is 1200mm
- maximum allowable gap from finished ground level to the bottom of any barrier is 100mm
- gaps between vertical members with horizontals a minimum of 900mm apart, must not exceed 100mm
- where the horizontals are less than 900mm apart, the gaps between verticals must not exceed 10mm and the horizontals must have a 60 degree fillet attached
- climbable objects must be at least 900mm away from the pool barrier on the outside and 300mm on the inside
- no objects (decks, door sills, etc) can be so close as to reduce the minimum 1200mm fence height
- if it is not possible to achieve a 900mm nonclimbable zone on the outside, then the fence height can be raised to 1800mm and a 900mm nonclimbable zone created at the top on the inside, with no objects like decks below the nonclimbable zone that would reduce the 1800mm height/drop from the top of the fence
Should my pool be registered?
All pools in Queensalnd must be registered with the QBCC. To list your pool on the pool safety register visit qbcc.qld.gov.au
Pool Barrier Gates
- pool gates must not open toward the pool area
- pool gates must be self-closing and latching from all positions
- the bottom of any latch release mechanism on the outside of the gate must be at least 1500mm above the ground and 1400mm above the top of the hightest lower horizontal member
- pool gate hinges must be at least 900mm apart or the lower hinge must have a nonclimbable (sixty degree) safety cap affixed to prevent climbing
Doors and Windows
- there is no direct access through a door from the house to the pool area
- windows opening onto the pool area must not open more than 100mm or must be security screened
- a compliant CPR sign must be displayed either attached to the barrier for the pool, or displayed near the pool, so that the sign is conspicuous and easily visible to anyone near the pool
Local council authorities may undertake random compliance audits of swimming pools to ensure pool owners are complying with the standard.
When is a pool a ‘shared’ pool?
If residents of two or more dwellings use a pool (for example residential unit complex, motel, retirement resort or caravan park) it is a shared pool.
Shared pools must be inspected yearly.
Where does a pool safety certificate need to be displayed for a shared pool?
When it is for a shared pool, the Pool Safety Certificate must be displayed at the main entrance to the premises, or at a gate or door accessing the pool.
Requirements for a CPR sign:
All pools are required to have a current CPR sign clearly visible.
Pool safety laws require the latest cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign to be displayed clearly and prominently near your pool or spa. Ensure your pool complies with the latest CPR sign requirements – ANZCOR Guideline 8
Child safety and pools
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children aged 1 to 4 years. Drowning can be swift, drowning can be silent BUT it can also be preventable.
As a Body Corporate Manager you must:
- Ensure your pool fence complies with the law
- Maintain the pool fence
- Ensure any objects (such as furniture, bbq, pot plants) that would allow children a foothold and access into the pool are clear of the non-climbable zone. The NCZ extends 900mm on the outside and 300mm on the inside of the pool fence. Nothing within the NCZ can reduce the minimum effective fence height of 1200mm. There should be no structures, landscaping or other fixtures within the NCZ.
- Repair any damage immediately.
- As required by legislation, all swimming pools must be enclosed by a compliant barrier. It is the responsibility of the body corporate to ensure that compliant pool barriers are in place at all times.
Neglecting to abide by these laws could lead to a tragedy at your property. If you have concerns regarding the fencing, gates not closing, or maintenance of your pool barrier, contact Mark at PoolSure.
For more information about shared pool regulations, visit the QBCC website, and scroll down the page until you find the section ‘Selling or leasing a property with a shared pool’.
If you’re thinking of selling your home with a pool, know that you have some obligations and certifications that you need to organise before selling. A pool inspection and certification is a task you need to add to your to-do list before selling your home to ensure the sale proceeds smoothly. You can sell your property with or without a pool safety certificate. However, if you are not providing a certificate, you must give the buyer a Form 36-notice of no pool safety certificate prior to entering a contract of sale and send a completed copy of the form to QBCC (firstname.lastname@example.org) before settlement. The Form 36 advises that the pool may not comply with the pool safety standard and the steps that must be taken to comply.The buyer must get a pool safety certificate within 90 days of settlement.
Before entering into a contract
If no pool safety certificate is in effect before entering into a contract of sale for a property with a pool, the seller must give the prospective purchaser a Form 36 —Notice of no pool safety certificate. A Form 36 advises that there is no pool safety certificate in effect. Form 36 is intended to help prospective purchasers make a more informed decision about purchasing the property.
If a pool safety certificate is in effect, the seller must give the buyer a copy of the certificate before settlement. If a pool safety certificate is not in effect before settlement, the seller must give the purchaser a Form 36 with the settlement date on the form. A copy of the Form 36 must also be sent to the Department of Housing and Public Works. For shared pools, a copy must also be given to the body corporate.
For non-shared pools, if a certificate is not in effect before settlement, the purchaser has 90 days from settlement to obtain a pool safety certificate. For shared pools, if a pool safety certificate is not in effect before settlement, the pool owner (usually the body corporate) has 90 days from settlement to obtain a pool safety certificate.
What happens if a property is being sold at auction?
If a property with a pool is being sold at auction and no pool safety certificate is in effect, the owner or their agent (e.g. auctioneer, real estate agent, etc.) must ensure that copies of the Form 36 are given to the prospective purchaser/s before entering into a contract of sale.
Frequently Asked Questions