Pool safety

Check your pool fences following Cyclone Debbie

Check your pool fencing

Recent severe weather events may have caused damage or unexpected movement to swimming pool fencing or barrier components. 

Any damaged fencing that allows access to a child under five should be made compliant immediately. 

Flooding and heavy rain events are very likely to have caused differential ground movements to the posts supporting your pool safety gate. This can cause your gate to not self-close or self-latch. 

A property owner should repair this work immediately or have a suitably qualified contractor make the repairs.

New rules for CPR signage

New rules for CPR signage

From 1 January 2017, all new CPR signs for swimming pools must comply with Guideline 8, published by the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC).

Existing signage that complies with the earlier guideline (Guideline 7) is acceptable for use while still readable. However, when CPR signs become illegible, they must be replaced with a sign that is compliant with Guideline 8.

Owners can choose to use the new CPR signs now, as pool safety laws have already been updated to reflect the change to signage. Guideline 7 signs are being phased out from 1 January, 2017.

Conflict of interest and pool safety inspections - Are you at risk?

Backyard swimming pool

The Code of conduct for swimming pool safety inspectors (the code) sets out the standards of conduct and professionalism expected of swimming pool safety inspectors (PSIs) in the performance of their pool safety inspection functions.

Section 4 of the code provides that a PSI must not perform a pool safety inspection function where there is the potential for a conflict of interest. 

That would include inspecting a pool owned by you and may include inspecting a pool owned by somebody with whom you have a personal, professional, commercial or financial relationship. 

Pool fences must stay up

Pool fencing

Temporary fencing must be installed while pool owners are installing a new fence or trying to bring their pool barriers into compliance with pool safety laws.

This is a requirement that many pool owners overlook when trying to bring their pool barriers into compliance with the pool safety laws which came into effect on 1 December, 2015 after a five-year phase-in period.

A recent coroner’s report into the death of a young child in a backyard swimming pool on the Gold Coast shows that the community still has a way to go in their education and understanding of pool safety.

Expansion of PSI role when owners work on own fences

Pool fencing

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. 

Less red tape for all pool owners

Swimming pool

All pool owners can now replace a pool fence without a building approval, provided that a pool safety inspector (PSI) is engaged prior to work commencing.

Previously, only pool owners with a house or townhouse were exempt from obtaining a building approval in order to build, replace or repair a pool fence.

Self-assessable work for all pool owners must still comply with all applicable building code requirements, but a building approval (provided by a building certifier) is not required for the work.

Pool safety nonconformity notices and the appeals process

Children jumping into a swimming pool

The QBCC has received complaints from pool owners about Pool Safety Inspectors (PSIs) issuing nonconformity notices that don’t comply with the requirements of the Building Act 1975

Whilst it is not mandatory for PSIs to use a Form 26 when issuing a nonconformity notice, a Form 26 includes all the details that are required.

A Form 26 also includes required information about the appeals process and how to contact the building and development dispute resolution committees, as a pool owner who disagrees with a nonconformity notice may appeal to the committees.

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Concerns over pool barrier compliance deadline

Pool Safety Inspectors (PSIs) and the QBCC have received numerous enquiries from pool owners concerned about missing the 1 December compliance deadline.

Only local councils have the power to enforce this requirement and issue fines against noncompliant pool owners.

QBCC can help with advising what the legal requirements are:  If you’re a pool owner, the law applies to you from 1 December and we encourage you to work towards compliance as soon as you can.

 

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