Expansion of PSI role when owners work on own fences

An amendment to the pool laws means that all pool owners may perform fencing work without a building approval, if the only part of the building code that applies to the work is the pool safety standard.

This is on the proviso that the owner engages a pool safety inspector (PSI) beforehand, and PSIs may see an expansion of their role as a result.

Previously only owners of pools with houses or townhouses could replace their pool fence without a building approval in certain circumstances. 

Other pool owners, including hotels, motels, hostels and apartments, still needed a building approval if more than five metres of fencing or more than six fence posts needed repairing, replacing or adjusting. 

Now all pool owners may work on their own fences, although there are a few conditions that they need to abide by.

If the pool is currently non‑compliant, the owner must obtain a nonconformity notice before work starts. 

If the pool is compliant, has a building certificate or current pool safety certificate, the owner does not need a nonconformity notice before starting work. 

In both cases, the owner must have the work inspected (or re-inspected) within three months of engaging the PSI (or receiving the nonconformity notice). 

A building approval is still required where the work involves compliance with other parts of the building code, for example, when a pool barrier also functions as balustrade or is supporting another structure, or where the barrier is for an indoor pool.

Owners need to be aware that if they don’t engage a PSI and have the work re-inspected within three months, they may be subject to fines for doing building work without approval. 

Owners also need to be aware that they remain liable to have a compliant pool at all times. This means they must use a temporary fence while the permanent barrier is not compliant.

This change to the regulation does not change the scope of work that a PSI can do. 

A PSI may still perform and certify prescribed minor repairs, if licensed to do so, but otherwise may not certify their own work. 

For more information, please refer to an earlier blog post PSIs play a role when owners work on their own fences.

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