Drowning is currently the leading cause of death for children aged between 1 and 4 in Queensland. That is why the new Pool Safety Laws have been introduced. Pool Safety Certificates are now required when selling, buying or leasing a property with a pool. Both new and existing pools must be upgraded to comply with the standardsby 30th November 2015, or earlier if sold or leased first. All swimming pools need to be registered by 4th November 2011.
SELLING OR BUYING A PROPERTY
If selling or buying a property with a pool, a Pool Safety Certificate must be obtained from a licensed pool safety inspector.
If selling, the owner can provide the buyer with a Pool Safety Certificate prior to settlement or alternatively the seller must issue the buyer with a Notice of No Pool Safety Certificate before entering into the contract of sale and before settlement. This form advises the buyer that they have 90 days to obtain a Pool Safety Certificate from the date of settlement. The buyer is then liable for any costs associated with achieving compliance, unless otherwise negotiated as part of the contract.
LEASING A PROPERTY
Due to the 2011 Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi, changes have been made to introduce a statewide delay to the requirement for Pool Safety Certificates for rental properties with non-shared pools. This allows these properties to be leased without a Pool Safety Certificate. Instead, the owner needs to give a warning notice to the tenant. All other aspects of the pool safety laws still apply. Pool owners still need to ensure their pool complies with the pool safety laws applicable to when the pool was built. After July 8th 2011, the owner must ensure a Pool Safety Certificate is in effect for the pool before entering into a new or renewed lease for the property.
If residents of two or more dwellings can use a pool, such as a body corporate pool, it is a shared pool. For shared pools, the owner must give the person who will be the tenant a copy of a pool safety certificate if one is in effect. For leases entered into on or before 1 September 2012, a phase in period applies—the body corporate has until 30 November 2012 to obtain a pool safety certificate for the pool. If a new or renewed lease is entered into on or after 2 September 2012, the 90 day requirement to obtain a Pool Safety certificate applies.
POOL OWNERS WHO AREN'T SELLING OR LEASING THEIR PROPERTY
By 30th November, 2015 most pools, including both indoor pools and outdoor spas, need to comply with the new pool safety standard. For tips on how to ensure your pool will meet the new laws when they come into force visit http://www.dlgp.qld.gov.au/resources/guideline/building/pool-safety-top-tips.pdf
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY POOL FAILS THE FIRST INSPECTION?
If a pool safety inspector inspects a pool and is not satisfied that it complies, they must issue a Pool Safety Nonconformity Notice. This advises the pool owner how their pool does not comply and what work needs to be done to comply.
Once a pool safety inspector has given a Pool Safety Nonconformity Notice, the pool owner has three months to undertake the repairs and arrange a reinspection of the pool. It is an offence for the pool owner to ask a different inspector to reinspect the pool within this period.
If the pool owner asks the inspector to reinspect the pool within the three months and the pool is then found to be compliant with the relevant standards, the inspector will arrange for the Pool Safety Certificate to be issued.
If the pool owner does not ask the inspector to reinspect the pool within three months, the inspector must notify the Local Government.The Local Government can then take the necessary enforcement action to ensure the pool complies with the relevant standards.
POOLS NEED TO BE REINSPECTED REGULARLY
Pool Safety Certificates are valid for one year for shared pools and two years for non-shared pools.
A state-based pool safety register has been developed under the new laws. The register contains a list of regulated pools in Queensland, including Pool Safety Certificates if one has been issued for a pool. If your pool is not on the register, you have until 4th November 2011 to register your pool. The register can be accessed at http://www.dlgp.qld.gov.au/pool-safety/pool-safety-register.html