About the Fencing Laws
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE NEW LAWS?
- The purpose of the new laws is to reduce the number of young children drowning in swimming pools by requiring all pools to be isolated by a complying pool fence.
- The new laws also introduce a single standard for pool fencing across the State, replacing numerous State and local government standards, and this includes removing many previously permitted exemptions such as direct access from a house to a pool.
- From 1 December 2010, all new pool fences must comply with the new Pool Safety Standard, unless the pool was existing on the day the laws commenced.
- Owners of existing pools have until Nov 30th 2015 to comply with the Pool Safety Standard, unless the property is sold or tenanted.
WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A POOL?
- A structure capable of being filled with water to a depth of 300 mm or more and capable of being used for swimming and recreational purposes.
- It includes:
a. Indoor pools;
b. Spas except if in a bathroom unless it is continually filled with 300 mm or more of water.
- It excludes a portable wading pool (max depth of 300 mm, a volume less that 2,000 litres and has no filtration system).
WHAT IS A SHARED POOL?
- A Shared Pool is where several residents have access.
- There are specific provisions for shared pools.
WHAT POOLS REQUIRE A POOL SAFETY CERTIFICATE?
- A pool on land on which there is a Class 1 (house); 2 (unit); 3 (hotel, motel, hostel etc); 4 (part residential eg caretaker residence); & caravan park.
- It includes adjacent land where in same ownership.
WHAT IS THE REQUIRED FENCING STANDARD?
- The required fencing standard is the Queensland Development Code MP3.4 which also references Australian Standard AS 1926.
WHEN DO VENDORS OF NON SHARED POOLS HAVE TO OBTAIN A POOL SAFETY CERTIFICATE?
- Existing home owners have until 30 November 2015 to comply with the new laws, unless they sell or lease their property.
- If selling, the owner can provide either a Pool Safety Certificate (Form 23) or Notice of No Pool Safety Certificate (Form 36), in which case the new owner has 90 days from settlement to achieve compliance.
WHEN DO LESSORS OF NON SHARED POOLS HAVE TO OBTAIN A POOL SAFETY CERTIFICATE?
- If leasing a non-shared pool the owner must provide the lessee with a PSC (ie there is no provision for a Form 36).
WHEN DO VENDORS OR LESSORS OF EXISTING SHARED POOLS HAVE TO OBTAIN A POOL SAFETY CERTIFICATE?
- If leasing a premises with a shared pool, either a PSC or Form 36 can be given.
- There is a phase in period of 6 months for short term accommodation such as hotels;
- There is a phase in period of till 30th November 2012 for other shared pools such as body corporates.
- A Pool Safety Certificate must be displayed near the main entrance of a premises with a shared pool.
WHO CAN INSPECT POOLS?
- A Pool Safety Inspector (PSI) must be licensed.
- To obtain a licence one must have a certificate of competency and pass a test.
- A Certifier is automatically licensed as a PSI for 1 year.
- An PSI cannot carry out an inspection if there is a conflict of interest.
- There is also a Code of Conduct for PSI’s.
HOW ARE INSPECTIONS CARRIED OUT?
- A PSI must give owner a Pool Safety Certificate (PSC or Form 23) within 2 business days.
- A PSI cannot refuse if there is no DA or not complaint with a DA.
- If non-compliant the PSI must give Non Conformity Notice (Form 26) stating why and what must be done.
- A Notice is not required if pool re-inspected within 2 days or if the inspector is to carry out minor repairs within 20 days.
- The owner must ask the same Inspector to reinspect within 3 months or otherwise notify the Council. It is an offence for the owner to ask another Inspector to do an inspection.
- Reinspection must be carried out within 5 days of it being booked.
- Each PSC (or Form 23) is given an Identification Number which is purchased from the Pool Safety Council for $31.
- A Pool Safety Certificate lasts for 2 years, or 1 year in the case of a shared pool.
- A Final Certificate or Certificate of Classification can be used instead of a PSC.
- A copy of the Certificate must be given to the Department within 5 days.
HOW IS THE SYSTEM MANAGED?
- A Pool Safety Council will oversee licensing system and maintain a pool register.
- There are offences for owners who do not ensure that the pool fence complies with the Pool Safety Standard.
- A State register of all pools will be established.
- Councils must send details of all Pools to the Department’s register within 3 months & owners must give details within 6 months if pool is not on register.
WHAT REPAIRS CAN BE CARRIED OUT?
- Total length of 5 meters and max 6 posts (this does not apply to reducing gap under barrier or increasing fence height).
- Repairing or replacing a gate.
- Disabling a window or door.
- Other such as installing shielding material, removing climbable objects etc.
- NOTE: no license/approval is required to repair 2.4 m of fence and no more than 2 posts, disabling windows or doors and removing climable objects etc.
WHAT ARE THE EXCEPTIONS?
- Does not include pools on common property under Integrated Resort Development Act or Sanctuary Cove Resort Act where a Pool Safety Management Plan is required.
- Where people have a disability they can apply to the Council for an exemption.
- Where fencing is impractical an owner can apply to the Council for an exemption.
- All previous exemptions no longer apply except where the person has a disability.
- Inspections in remote areas prescribed by regulation can be undertaken using documents and technology