If you are thinking about purchasing or constructing a swimming pool (or spa), it is important to be aware that certain approvals and/or safety measures are required (if any). The best way to do this is to talk to a building surveyor about your specific circumstances and to make sure you comply with the requirements of the Building Act 2016.
Remember! Just because you can buy a pool from Bunnings, Kmart or any other professional pool supplier, does not automatically mean your pool will comply with all legislative requirements.
The following advice provides some general guidelines.
Pool risk categories
Swimming pools (and spas) are differentiated by their size and depth into different categories. These differences enable a building surveyor or council building officer to advise on what requirements are applicable under the Building Act 2016.
Category 1 – Low Risk Pool
This is a relocatable swimming pool that is temporarily erected (such as a small inflatable kids pool), can be more than 300mm deep but must be less than 9 square metres in total area. This type of pool does not require approval, but is required to be located within an existing swimming pool access barrier that is built to meet the Australian Standards and formally approved. Please consult with a building surveyor for advice on the Australian Standards and approval requirements for pool fencing and barriers.
Category 2 – Low Risk PoolThis is a permanent pool or spa pool not located in a landslip hazard area and with a maximum footprint area of 18 square metres. This type of pool can be elevated on a deck or other supporting structure, but said structure must be capable of supporting static load of a full pool or spa. A fence or barrier associated with this type pool is required to be granted formal approval by a building surveyor. A Building Surveyor must be engaged (and approvals completed) before this type of pool can be used. Work associated with the pool and access barrier must be performed by a licensed builder.
Please note that a pool or spa lid is not considered to be a compliant barrier.
Category 3 – Medium Risk PoolThis is a permanent pool or spa pool over 18 square metres in area . Prior to installing pools in this category an owner must engage a Building Surveyor to seek formal approval.
General Advice - Pool fencing
All pools (capable of being filled greater than a depth of 300mm (30cm)) are required to be protected by compliant barriers which must meet the applicable Australian Standards. Before you construct/ install a pool, you should talk to a building surveyor about the specific pool fencing/barrier requirements.
It is important to keep in mind that the cost of installing a fence to comply with the Australian Standards can be more than the cost of the pool itself.