Pool safety reminders which have recently been posted out by the Sunshine Coast Council has sent panic through many Sunshine Coast pool and spa owners, who haven’t already had a pool safety inspection or certification completed. Unfortunately, many pool owners who have not had to undergo pool safety inspection or gain a pool safety certificate as a result of pool safety laws which came into effect for many dwellings in December 2010, are now realising that they have very little time to comply to laws by 30 November 2015.
The amnesty which has been shown to pool owners across Queensland in regards to pool safety has been quite generous to private pool owners, but that’s almost all over now and a compliant pool fence, ensuring unauthorised entry of children in particular, should be motivation enough to have a certified inspection completed. Never mind the possible $2777 fine which may also apply.
Pool Safety Laws
Understanding the pool safety laws is critical in identifying any non-conformance issues or non-compliant pool barriers and the correct methods for rectification often require a professional touch. Contrary to popular belief and misleading advertising, owner occupied properties with pools do not necessarily need a safety inspection or a pool safety certificate. Provided that the pool barrier and all other requirements comply with the new safety laws, an inspection and certificate are not necessary. Despite this we absolutely recommend booking a certified pool inspector to undertake a pool safety inspection and professionals to perform conformance or compliance works.
Pool Safety Compliance
It is in the understanding, knowledge and interpretations of pool safety laws, coupled with implementing these to actual pool fencing or barriers, where the novice can fall short. Most often an inexperienced eye will miss non-compliance issues, with poor workmanship and methods in erecting or rectifying pool barriers also becoming a major concern. We continually encounter instances where owners have undertaken there own compliance inspection and conformance works without successfully achieving a compliant safety barrier, and so all that time, effort and money has been wasted.
The simple fact is that the pool safety laws are in place to protect lives, and it is this that should be at the forefront of our minds when considering pool safety compliance. No amount of money saved is comparable to the loss of life, which unfortunately still occurs in Queensland pools through unauthorised entry. Pool owners should be reminded that providing non-climbable barriers, self-closing gates, CPR signs and other criteria in pool safety laws is their responsibility and owners are liable for any fines or other legal action which may be applicable.
Where non-compliance notices have been issued, it is the responsibility of the pool owner to rectify issues so they are compliant to the safety laws to the interpretation of the original Inspector. The same Inspector must attend and sign off on any compliance works completed.
Pool Safety Inspection Costs
Certified pool inspections vary in price depending on Inspectors and works undertaken, but generally an inspection will cost under $200 with Pool Safety Certificates incurring charge of around $35.00. Most Inspectors will charge a re-inspection fee if they have to return to inspect following conformance works (Pool Clear has a NO Re-Inspection Fee Policy *conditions apply).
Tips for Safety Inspections
Some pool owners are more handy than others, and if you have the time and ability then it absolutely makes sense to undergo your own inspection and compliance works prior to an certified inspection being carried out. Whilst any works performed are done at your own risk, it is certainly an area where those capable, can save money on employing a contractor carry out conformance works and restrict any possible re-inspection fees.
Many non-complaint issues can be easily rectified and here are a few of the most common issues and conformance methods –
- Gaps in barriers exceeding 100mm – Affix approved flexi-glass or material (non-climbable) to extend barrier or close gaps
- No CPR Sign – Affix approved CPR Sign in suitable position near pool
- Climbable fencing (often at corners or adjacent fencing) – Replace fence type or affix flexi-glass over climbable areas
- Trees/Branches, Pots & Climbable items in “climbable zone” – Cut away trees/branches and move items outside “climbable zone” or extend barrier
- Gates Not Self Latching – Adjust hinge tensions and/or latch position. Stabilise fence posts and/or fixings
- Windows and Dwelling access to pool – Restrict window openings to less than 100mm or attach security screens. Erect suitable barrier restricting pool access