Swimming Pools and Spas
Swimming pool fencing and safety requirements
Unfortunately, drowning is the leading cause of deaths in Queensland children aged between one and four. As well as supervision of children and teaching them to swim, safe pool fencing also helps keep our children safe. New pool fence safety rules have been introduced and they affect both existing and new pool owners.
A new standard was introduced on 1 December 2010 and pool owners had until 30 November 2015 to comply with the new pool safety laws or earlier if a pool owner sells or leases their property before this date.
The key changes are:
- Replacing 11 different pool safety standards with one pool safety standard for all pools (Queensland Development Code – MP3.4).
- Wider application of pool safety laws to include indoor pools and pools associated with hotels, motels, caretaker residences, caravan parks, backpackers, hostels, mobile home parks and home stays.
- A requirement for the latest prescribed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign adopted by the Australian Resuscitation Council to be displayed near each pool.
- A phase out of child-resistant doors used as pool barriers for existing pools (self-closing and self-latching doors).
- Fencing of all portable pools and spas that are capable of being filled with 300 millimetres or more of water.
- Mandatory inspections by Local Governments for immersion incidents of children under five in swimming pools.
- For more details refer to the Department of Housing and Public Works website.
Selling or leasing your property during the five year phase-in?
A pool safety certificate (referred to as Form 23) is required when you sell, buy or lease a property with a pool. These certificates are issued by a licensed pool safety inspector are valid for one year for a shared pool and two years for a non-shared pool.
Leasing a property
If a property with a pool is leased, the land owner or body corporate, is required to obtain a pool safety certificate before the lease is signed. The certificate will be valid for two years, or one year if the swimming pool is a shared pool. An example of a shared pool is a communal pool located in a unit complex. For any renewals or new leases that happen in that period, there is no requirement for another pool safety certificate. While the certificate is current, accommodation agreements and leases may be entered into or renewed.
Selling/purchasing a property
If a property owner is selling their property they can provide the purchaser with a pool safety certificate prior to settlement or alternatively the seller must issue the purchaser with a notice of no pool safety certificate (referred to as Form 36). This allows the buyer 90 days from the date of settlement to obtain a pool safety certificate. If a notice of no pool safety certificate is issued copies must be provided to the Department of Housing and Public Works as well as the potential buyer.
To assist pool owners to find a pool safety inspector the state government has an online register of pool safety inspectors. Pool safety inspectors that are properly accredited to carry out inspections will hold a licence.
A state-based pool safety register has been developed under the new rules. This register contains a list of regulated pools in Queensland. If a pool safety certificate has been issued this is also contained on the register. Pool owners can check the register here to ensure their pool is registered.
To help ensure that your pool safety fence complies, the following actions can be undertaken to improve the safety of your pool:
- Replace, tighten or adjust the hinges on your gates to ensure the gate is self-closing.
- Shield or remove climbable objects within 900 millimetres of the pool safety fence.
- Make sure the pool safety fence is 1200 millimetres in height from bottom to top.
- Install permanent security screens on windows that open into the pool enclosure.
- Trim back branches that a child could use to climb over the pool safety fence.
- Remove any climbable objects from the pool safety fence and surrounding area.
The pool fencing legislation can be found on:
- The Department of Housing and Public Works website
- Building Act 1975
- Building Regulation 2006
- Australian Standards 1926
- Queensland Development Code (QDC) MP3.4
An application for an exemption to these new rules can be lodged with council, however it is important to know that council will give consideration to the safety of young children before an exemption is granted. These may include disability or impracticability exemptions.
Exemptions that were issued prior to the new legislation will not be revoked, provided the:
- conditions of the exemptions are still being met,
- person the exemption applied to is still disabled and residing at the address.
Queensland Government legislation allows local councils to issue on-the-spot fines for non-compliant pool fencing.
Discharge of swimming pool water
Swimming pool water or backwash from swimming pool filtration systems must not be discharged to council’s sewer without the consent of council. For further information about discharging domestic swimming pool water or filter backwash, contact the Wastewater Operations Engineer on 13 48 10.
Further information and advice
For further information and advice please contact a qualified Building Certifier.
- Department of Housing and Public Works - Pool safety
- Kids Alive
Swimming pools and spas – are you breeding dengue mosquitoes?
Neglected or poorly maintained swimming pools and spa pools are an ideal environment for mosquitoes to breed. When the pool’s chemical parameters are not maintained at the minimum required levels and or the filtration system is not functioning correctly the pool becomes a public health risk.
As mosquitoes require standing water to breed, the pool water becomes an attractive water source for the female mosquito to lay her eggs. Once these eggs hatch, the larvae can develop into biting adult mosquitoes within 4-7 days.
It is your responsibility as a tenant or property owner, to maintain the pool so that it is not a breeding site for mosquitoes or is likely to become a breeding site for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can carry several different mosquito borne diseases in particular Dengue Fever.
How to prevent mosquitoes breeding in your pool
The most important things that residents can do to prevent mosquitoes breeding in the pool is to maintain the pool’s water level, clean the pool regularly, maintain the minimum chemical criteria and operate the filtration system regularly as per the manufacturers recommendations. This will also minimise algal growth and any build-up of bacteria.
Guidance and information can be obtained from any competent pool maintenance technician and or you may refer to the Queensland Health Swimming and Spa Pool Water Quality and Operational Guidelines (October 2004). Although this guideline is intended for publicly used pools, it will also provide useful information for private (domestic) swimming and spa pool users.
Section 11 of the Public Health Act 2005 refers to a public health risk as any animal, structure, substance or other thing that is, or is likely to become, a breeding ground or source of food for designated pests. Designated pests include mosquitoes.
It is a requirement under the Public Health Regulation 2005 that a relevant person of a place must ensure that an accumulation of water or another liquid at the place is not a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
On-the-Spot Penalties apply for relevant persons not complying with a Public Health Order. These include up to 5 penalty units ($500) for individuals and 25 penalty units ($2,500) for corporations which do not comply with a Public Health Order.
- Queensland Health Dengue Fever
- Council's Dengue Fever site
- Queensland Health Swimming and Spa Pool Water Quality and Operational Guidelines (PDF)
- Public Health Act 2005 (PDF)
- Public Health Regulation 2005 (PDF)
Should you have any further enquires then please contact our Customer Service Centre on 13 48 10 or email us.