Pools and spas safety

In Victoria, swimming pools and spas with a water depth of more than 30cm must have safety barriers to restrict access of young children to the pool or spa area.

Image of a backyard pool

New swimming pool or spa registration requirements

On 1 December 2019, the Victorian Government introduced new laws to improve swimming pool and spa safety across the state. Owners of land where a swimming pool or spa is located must register their pool or spa with their local council, and then obtain and lodge compliance certificates for the safety barriers around their pools and spas. Find out more about the regstering pools and spas.

 

How do I register?
You can register your pool or spa with the City of Ballarat online, click the Permits and Registers tab and select Apply to Register a Pool/Spa.

What pools or spas do the laws apply to?
The laws apply to swimming pools and spas that can hold 30cm or more of water. This includes permanent pools, above ground pools, indoor pools, hot tubs, bathing or wading pools, and some relocatable pools.

Do the laws apply to all relocatable pools?
Relocatable pools that do not have multiple parts and do not need assembly do not fall under the laws. An example is a small inflatable pool has no assembly other than inflation.

When do I have to register my pool or spa?
You must register your pool or spa now.

What happens after my pool or spa is registered?
Under the new state laws, once your swimming pool or spa has been registered, you need to arrange an inspection of the safety barrier by a qualified inspector to find out if the barrier is compliant with the barrier standard.

If the safety barrier is compliant, the inspector will issue a certificate of compliance. If the safety barrier is non-compliant, you must make the barrier compliant.

How long do I have to lodge a certificate of compliance?
It depends when your pool was built. Find deadlines on the Victorian Building Authority's website.

What are the costs?
For most owners, the cost to register your pool or spa with the City of Ballarat is $80.30, including an information search fee.

A full list of fees and penalties is available on the Victorian Building Authority's website.

How can I tell if my safety barrier on my existing pool or spa is adequate?
As a pool or spa owner, you have an obligation to maintain your swimming pool or spa barrier to prevent access to the pool or spa.

The Victorian Building Authority has checklists that can help you check the safety of your barrier.

Where can I get more information?
Visit the Victorian Building Authority's website for more information about the new laws, including frequently asked questions.

Safety barriers

Property owners and occupants are responsible for making sure pool barriers are maintained, repaired and in working order.

Is a lockable lid a safety barrier?
No, a lockable lid is not a safety barrier and does not meet legal requirements.

What must a pool safety barrier include?
The pool or spa area must be a separate enclosure on the property. No access is allowed directly from the dwelling or from any other outbuilding on the allotment. A safety barrier must be permanent and automatic.

Gates must swing away from the pool, be self-closing, self-latching and have latches at specific heights. Specific barrier heights and other dimensions apply, including non-climbable zones around, and within, the pool or spa enclosure.

Safety barriers are needed for:

  • in-ground pools and spas
  • above-ground pools and spa pools including inflatable pools holding more than 30cm of water
  • indoor pools and spas
  • bathing and wading pools containing more than 30cm of water
  • spas and swimming spas (including portable spas)

Safety barriers are NOT needed for:

  • bird baths
  • fountains
  • water supply/storage tanks
  • fish ponds
  • dams

Building permit

Do I need a building permit?
Yes, you must get a building permit before you install a pool or spa, if it can containing more than 30cm of water.

How do I get a building permit?
A building surveyor issues building permits at the start of a building project. The surveyor can advise what you need to do to get the permit.