Pool and spa owners are required to register their pool or spa with Council and provide a certificate of pool barrier compliance every four years.
Each year, young children are drowned in private swimming pools and spas and many more suffer permanent mental and physical disabilities from near drownings. In many of those cases, the non-compliance of the safety barrier was a contributing factor.
In Victoria, the construction and installation of swimming pools, spas and safety barriers, including barrier maintenance are all subject to the requirements of the Building Regulations 2018. Enhanced laws were introduced in 2019 to keep young children safe.
Swimming pool and spa owners are required to register pools or spas with Council and have an obligation to ensure that they are maintaining the effective operation of the safety barrier. For example: Gates and doors must remain closed and latched, except when entering the pool area.
As a pool or spa owner you need to complete the following:
1. Register your pool with Council.
2. Organise an inspection of your pool barrier by a registered swimming pool inspector.
3. Rectify any issues identified by your pool inspection.
4. Submit a certificate of compliance to Council by the due date.
If you are the owner of land on which a pool or spa is located, it is mandatory to register your pool or spa with Council and pay the relevant registration fee. Registration forms can be obtained from any council office or via Council’s online registration application form.
When submitting your new pool or spa registration application form and application fee, please provide evidence of when your pool or spa was constructed. This may be in the form of a copy of the building permit, final certificate or the like.
For the period 1 July 2023 - 30 June 2024 fees are as follows:
Once-off registration $34.20, and
search fee $48.40 (For pools and spas erected prior to 1 November 2020)
Your application will be assessed and we will provide you with a letter acknowledging your registration, detailing your applicable barrier standard and the due date to submit your next certificate of pool barrier compliance.
Council is frequently asked this question about pool and spa registration.
Q. "Didn't someone from Council check my pool/spa a few years ago?"
A. Council conducted proactive pool barrier inspections from 2016 to November 2019.
These were free, educational and informative inspections. Council stopped these inspections when the state government changed the law 1 December 2019.
These Council inspections were not part of the new pool registration/certification requirements, and your pool or spa did not became automatically registered.
State government laws require the owner to register their pool or spa, even if the owner believes that Council has information about their pool or spa from previous permits or inspections.
Owners are required to get their barrier checked by a building inspector or building surveyor registered with the Victorian Building Authority and have a certificate of pool barrier compliance issued every four years.
Below is a general guide to when the first certificate of pool barrier compliance is required:
Near the due date for you to submit your certificate of pool barrier compliance, you will be provided with a reminder letter with the following important information:
· Your applicable barrier standard, and
· The due date to submit your next certificate of pool barrier compliance.
Your pool barrier inspector will need to see this letter as it contains information needed for the inspection. You will then need to engage a registered inspector and arrange the check. They will check your swimming pool/spa barrier for compliance and if satisfactory, issue the certificate of pool barrier compliance.
Once your pool/spa has been checked and you receive the certificate of pool barrier compliance, you must lodge the certificate with Council within 30 days of its issue date along with the lodgment fee of $21.90 (For the period 1 July 2023 – 30 June 2024).
Below is a list of local Private Building Inspection companies that will be able to arrange inspection of your pool or spa and issue the Certificate of Barrier Compliance (Form 23).
• East Gippsland Building Permits – (03) 5153 0199
• East Gippy Building Inspections – 0409 069 040
• B4U Build Building Consultants – (03) 5176 5688
• Watershed Building Consultants – (03) 5176 5888
• Smart Choice Building Permits – 0400 138 778
Note: Council does not inspect your barrier. You must hire a private qualified inspector.
The Victorian Building Authority has produced a few self-assessment sheets based on the construction date that will assist you to maintain your barrier. For more information on self-assessments, go to www.vba.vic.gov.au/consumers/swimming-pools/pool-safety-barriers.
When and how do I get my Certificate of Barrier Compliance (Form 23)?
You will receive a letter from Council reminding you of the nominated due date for your certificate of pool barrier compliance.
You will then need to engage a registered inspector and arrange the check. The inspector will check your swimming pool/spa barrier for compliance and if satisfactory, issue the certificate of pool barrier compliance.
Note: Council does not provide this service.
How much does a Certificate of Pool Barrier Compliance (Form 23) cost?
Your chosen consultant will charge a fee to check your pool barrier and issue the certificate. We encourage you to call registered building inspectors or surveyors and discuss fees prior to engaging their services. This fee is not set by Council.
There is also a small fee of $21.90 charged by Council to submit the certificate (for the period 1 July 2023 – 30 June 2024). This fee is set by the state government.
What do I do when I get my Certificate of Pool Barrier Compliance (Form 23)?
Once your pool/spa has been checked and you receive the certificate of pool barrier compliance, you must lodge the certificate with Council within 30 days of its issue date. Failure to do so may result in the certificate being deemed invalid, requiring you to pay for a replacement certificate.
The certificate needs to be submitted along with the lodgment fee.
If you would prefer to submit your certificate online, please use the following link and an invoice for the lodgment fee will emailed to you: www.eastgippsland.vic.gov.au/forms/certificate-of-barrier-compliance-lodgement-form.
Paying your Certificate of Pool Barrier Compliance (Form 23) fee:
You can pay at any one of our Customer Service Centres. If you prefer to pay by credit card over the phone, please contact one of our Customer Service Centres.
Options for submitting the Certificate:
Mail – PO Box 1618, Bairnsdale, VIC 3875
Fax – (03) 5153 9576
E-mail – email@example.com
In Person – visit a Customer Service Centre
This is a step-by-step guide to explain what you need to do to :
You must fill in and sign a Pool or Spa Deregistration Form and attach photos verifying its removal. We can supply a printed form to you if you prefer.
There is no fee to be paid for removal or decommissioning of your pool or spa, and there is also no refund available of any previous fees paid to Council for a registration.
You will have to satisfy Council that the pool or spa has been satisfactorily decommissioned or removed. This may require a Council inspection that will be organised at a mutually convenient time.
Once a pool or spa is proven to be decommissioned or removed, Council will then remove the pool or spa from the register and notify the property owner in writing.
Council must consider what method of decommissioning of the pool or spa they would expect an owner to demonstrate, such as:
Above-ground swimming pools and spas - Complete dismantling of the above-ground pool, or at least the removal of the pool liner, access ladder and filtration system and ensuring the remaining components cannot hold water to a depth of more than 300mm.
In-ground swimming pools - Such pools can either be left in situ and buried or made incapable of holding water to a depth of more than 300mm. The process can include the following steps:
1. Cut at least two holes at least 500mm x 500mm in the deep end of the swimming pool (or as determined by an engineer taking site conditions into account).
2. Remove debris from cutouts.
3. Remove the filtration system and access ladders.
4. Remove the filtration system and access ladders. Fill the swimming pool excavation with appropriate fill material (compacted in layers), with a maximum depth of 300mm (or as determined by an engineer taking site conditions into account). Consideration can also be given to cutting down the side walls.
Instructions should be obtained from Council when decommissioning in-ground swimming pools. If the in-ground pool/spa is not completely removed, it can be problematic if any future construction and development work will occur later on the property.
The 2011 National Drowning Report shows that 43 per cent of all drowning deaths among children aged 0-4 years old occurred in swimming pools. Regulation compliant barriers are essential for all swimming pools. Barriers prevent young children from entering a swimming pool unsupervised.
From May 2011, changes to Australian Standards require all pool/spa barriers to be separate from the house and boundary fencing. All pool owners are to ensure their barriers are correctly maintained. These laws were further enhanced in 2019 to require pools and spas to be registered and compliance certificates issued every four years.
Things you need to know when planning to erect or already own a swimming pool or spa:
· All swimming pools and spas capable of holding more than 300mm of water, must have a safety barrier (this includes inflatable or portable pools).
· A building permit must be obtained for a safety barrier from a private building surveyor.
· Engage a registered building practitioner to carry out the building work if the value of works exceeds $5,000 (including labour and materials).
· Pools must not be filled with water until the relevant building surveyor has certified that the barrier is compliant and issues a certificate of final inspection.
· Pools and spas must have self-closing and latching gates that swing away from the pool area.
· Access from the dwelling is not permitted directly into the pool area via external doors.
· Maintain the barrier and ensure that gates are regularly checked that they self close and latch.
· Maintain a no-climb zone by keeping plant pots, ornaments, furniture or other climbable objects well away from both the inside and outside of the barrier.
For more information about the new State Government legislation, please visit the Victorian Building Authority Swimming Pools and Spas page.