In 2019, the Victorian Government introduced new swimming pool and spa safety laws, which included the requirement for all property owners to register their pool or spa with their local Council. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline for registration was extended from 1 June 2020 to 1 November 2020.
As of 1 December 2019, new safety standards have been introduced by the state government to improve pool and spa barrier safety.
To ensure you have a safe and compliant pool or spa barrier, there are four easy steps you’ll need to undertake:
Step 1: Register your pool or spa
Step 2: Get your pool or spa barrier checked by a registered building surveyor or inspector
Step 3: Undertake required works to make the pool or spa barrier compliant
(if directed by the inspector)
Step 4: Have your pool or spa barrier certified by the inspector or surveyor
Step 1 – register your pool or spa.
All owners of existing swimming pools and spas were required to register their swimming pool or spa with Golden Plains Shire Council by 1 November 2020.
All new pools and spas must be registered within 30 days from the issue of a Certificate of Final Inspection from your private building surveyor.
A one-off registration fee will be required. The fees, as set by the Victorian Government, for the current period fee refer to Building Forms
How to register your swimming pool or spa
Please note you will need your Property Number located on your Rate Notice.
You can complete the registration form on the below link:
- Alternatively you can download, print, complete and sign the Swimming Pool Spa Register Form 22 from Building Forms.
- Once you have completed and signed the Application to Register a Swimming Pool or Spa form, save it onto your computer to email to [email protected] or submit at our customer service offices – Bannockburn, Linton or Smythesdale or mail to Golden Plains Shire PO Box 100 Bannockburn Vic 3331.
Please note that your pool will not be registered until payment has been received.
After you've registered your pool
When you’ve registered and the construction date of your pool or spa has been determined, Council will advise you when you are required to lodge a Certificate of Pool Barrier Compliance issued by a qualified practitioner.
Owners will then be required to engage a registered building surveyor or building inspector or Council to inspect and certify the compliance of their safety barrier every four years.
The Shire is tasked with ensuring all affected property owners comply with the new requirements with penalties for non-compliance.
Failing to register a swimming pool and/or spa with the Shire is an offence under the Building Regulations 2018 and carries a penalty. The current penalty fine can be found in Building Forms. Other penalties may also apply.
Non-compliance can be reported online here or to [email protected], our Customer Service Centres during business hours or by phone 5220 7111.
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the cost?
The registration fee is a one-off fee.
Lodgement fees are payable when a Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Compliance (Form 23, or Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Non-Compliance (Form 24) are lodged with Council. The fees are set by the Victorian State Government:
- Registration of Pools/Spas*
- Lodgement of the Certificate of Pool/Spa Barrier Compliance*
- Lodgement of a Certificate of Pool/Spa Barrier Non-Compliance*
*Fees will likely be adjusted on an annual basis as of 1st July, for current fees refer to Building Forms.
Will Council inspect my safety barriers?
Council does offer this service as an alternative to engaging a private inspector or surveyor. Council will be following up on those that do not register their swimming pools or spas or have not had their barriers inspected and certified (i.e. pools and spas constructed without a building permit).
Council may also inspect properties to confirm that a pool/spa has been decommissioned or as part of enforcement action (checking compliance for pools and spas constructed without a building permit).
What happens once the barriers have been certified?
If the inspector is satisfied that the safety barrier is compliant with the applicable barrier standard, they will issue a Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Compliance to the Owner (also known as a Form 23 – Certificate of Pool & Spa Barrier Compliance).
The owner must then lodge a copy of the certificate to Council and pay the lodgement fee. This can be done via the Greenlight Portal (if you originally registered your pool via the portal) or by lodging the certificate at one of our Council Customer Service Centres.
If you mail or email the certificate to Council you will be contacted by Council to pay the lodgement fee.
Council will then record details of the certificate of pool and spa barrier compliance on the register.
You will receive a letter from Council confirming receipt of the certificate and notice of the date by which the next certificate of pool and spa barrier compliance is required to be lodged with Council (in 4 years from the date of the first lodgement). Reminders will be sent to the owners closer to the time of the due date.
Now that the swimming pool and/or spa has been registered with Council, it will remain registered until the owner removes the swimming pool or spa and applies to take it off the register. There is no requirement to renew the registration. You must notify council is the pool or spa has been removed.
The applicable barrier standard which is the set of technical requirements that the barrier must comply with, has been determined by Council based on our records of the date of construction of the swimming pool or spa. This also factors in alterations to the safety barrier that were made after the date of construction if Council has records of these alterations.
You must refer to the applicable standard as stated on the letter from Council.
A self-assessment checklist for each standard is available from the Victorian Building Authority’s website.
A copy of the Building Regulations 2018 are available to download. Copies of the Australian Standards are available to buy from Standards Australia website.
If you disagree with the date of construction identified by Council, or the applicable Standard that the swimming pool/spa safety barrier must comply with, an owner may appeal to the Building Appeals Board, Under Section 144(2) of the Act.
An appeal must be lodged within 30 days of receiving the council's determination.
Yes, swimming pool or spa safety barriers will be required to be inspected and certified by a registered building practitioner. The building practitioner will assess compliance against the relevant barrier standard as specified by Council in your letter.
The date by which the barriers must be inspected and certified will be based on the date of construction that has been determined by Council.
Once the registered building practitioner has certified the safety barriers, the owner must provide a copy of the certification (Certificate of pool and spa barrier compliance) to Council by the applicable date nominated by Council.
A person who is currently registered with the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) in any of the following categories and classes may inspect the barrier:
• Building Surveyor (unlimited)
• Building Surveyor (limited)
• Building Inspector (unlimited)
• Building Inspector (limited)
• Building Inspector (pool safety)
Council is unable to recommend or provide details of building surveyors or building inspectors that can inspect your safety barriers. You can use the VBA’s Find a Practitioner directory to find and check if a practitioner is currently registered.
Yes, while Council may have recently inspected your safety barriers prior to 2019, the changes to the Building Act and Regulations require all swimming pool or spa safety barriers to be re-inspected and certified by the required dates. If Council recently inspected your swimming pool or spa barrier as part of enforcement action, please contact Council’s Building Services team for further advice or confirmation if another inspection will be required.
Following an inspection in which the inspector determines a barrier is non-compliant, the inspector may:
Where the defects are minor, the building practitioner will provide the owner with a date by which the identified non-compliant matters must be fixed. The practitioner will then return to re-inspect the barrier. If the barrier remains non-compliant, a certificate of non-compliance will be submitted to Council.
Where the barrier cannot be made compliant within the maximum time period or the nature of the non-compliance poses a significant and immediate risk to life or safety, a certificate of noncompliance will be submitted to Council.
Once Council receives a certificate of pool and spa barrier non-compliance, Council will utilise their existing powers under the Building Act to address the issue. It will depend on the nature of the noncompliance and the level of risk to life or safety as to what action will be taken.
It is an offence, under the Building Regulations, for failure to provide a certificate of compliance by the due date. Penalties may apply which include an Infringement and/or prosecution.
Yes, an owner can request to remove or decommission their swimming pool or spa. This can be done by completely removing the swimming pool or spa or placing holes in it to prevent it from being capable of containing more than 300mm of water. Access ladders and filtration system will also need to be removed. You must advise council that the registered pool or spa no longer exists or is no longer capable of containing water to a depth of greater than 300 mm. Council must be satisfied this is the case before removing the pool or spa from the register which may require an inspection by Council prior to it being removed from the register.
Council may exempt the owner from providing the first Certificate of Pool & Spa Barrier Compliance if:
- The owner lodges an occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection which:
- Relates to a building permit issued for the barrier before 1 November 2020; and
- The certificate was issued after an inspection of the barrier carried out on or after 1 November 2019; or
- The owner lodges a document with the Council that:
- Is signed by a registered building surveyor or registered building inspector who inspected the barrier on or after 1 November 2017; and
- Is dated no more than 4 years before the date of the lodgement of the document; and
- States that at the time of the inspection by the registered building surveyor or inspector that the barrier complied with the applicable barrier standard.
If you are seeking an exemption you will need to request an exemption under Regulation 147W in writing if you can provide either of the above document options.
Council will confirm in writing if you are exempted from lodging your first certificate and the date by which the next Certificate of Pool and Spa Barrier Compliance is required to be lodged.