Taking safety precautions helps to protect young children from drowning in swimming and spa pools.
Pool owners are required to maintain the safety of their pool area. When building a new pool, you must also follow certain safety measures.
If you plan to sell or rent out property with a pool in NSW, become informed about the laws that apply.
Drowning is a leading cause of preventable death in children under 5 years of age. In 2012, the Swimming Pools Act 1992 was amended to improve the safety of children around swimming pools in NSW. The changes include:
These laws apply if you are the owner of a property with a swimming pool or spa pool. In a strata or community scheme, all the lot owners jointly own any swimming pool or spa pool that is on common property. The owners corporation (or body corporate) is responsible for ensuring such pools are compliant with the Swimming Pools Act 1992.
The law applies to any excavation, structure or vessel - including swimming pools and spa pools - that are:
From 29 April 2016 onwards, when a residential tenancy agreement is entered into for a property with a swimming pool or spa pool, the landlord or real estate agent must provide the tenant with a copy of the valid certificate of compliance or occupation certificate.
This requirement does not apply to a lot in a strata scheme or in a community scheme if that strata or community scheme has more than two lots.
If you are selling a property with a swimming pool or spa pool on and after 29 April 2016, you must ensure the contract for sale includes:
This requirement does not apply to a lot in a strata scheme or in a community scheme if that strata or community scheme has more than two lots, or if the sales contract is for an off-the-plan property.
Not attaching the certificates when required may allow the purchaser to rescind the contract within 14 days of exchange, unless settlement has already occurred.
If a certificate of non-compliance is attached to the contract for sale, the vendor is transferring the obligation to obtain a certificate of compliance to the purchaser. The purchaser will have 90 days from the date of settlement to rectify defects listed in the certificate of non-compliance and obtain a certificate of compliance.
Pool owners are required to register their pools online on the NSW Government's Swimming Pool Register.
Once registered, a certificate of registration will be issued to the pool owner. To check that your pool has been registered, go to the NSW Government's Swimming Pool Register website at www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au
Local councils, and accredited certifiers registered with the Building Professionals Board, can carry out a swimming pool barrier inspection. They can then issue a certificate of compliance if the swimming pool or spa pool meets all the safety requirements.
Pool owners should contact their local council or a private certifier early to organise a compliance inspection.
A swimming pool certificate of compliance is valid for 3 years from its date of issue. To check if a certificate of compliance has been issued, go to the NSW Government's Swimming Pool Register.
A relevant occupation certificate may be used instead of a swimming pool certificate of compliance if it:
If an occupation certificate is used, evidence that the swimming pool is registered must also be provided with the sales contract.
You can search the NSW Government's Swimming Pool Register to check if a pool has been registered and whether a certificate of compliance has been issued.
For more information, fact sheets in other languages and water safety requirements, please visit the Royal Life Saving NSW website or contact your local council.
When building a new pool, it is necessary to:
The Children's Hospital, Westmead, commissioned a comprehensive video covering a range of pool safety topics. All pool owners are encouraged to take a few minutes to watch the video and implement its safety messages and techniques.
There have been several incidents where children have become trapped in cleaning and skimming systems used in swimming pools.
The types of pool cleaning devices involved in these incidents have included:
Check what pool cleaning system is used in your swimming pool. If you are unsure, contact the pool builder or your local pool service provider for help.
If you own a swimming pool with a potty-style skimmer box (so-called as it resembles a child’s potty) you should ensure that the skimmer box lid is securely attached by glue or screwed down in place so it can't be removed.
If you own a swimming pool with an in-floor cleaning system using suction outlets (outlets that draw from the pool) you should:
All pool owners should:
Pools and electricity can be a lethal combination. Be very careful if you have a swimming pool that has a portable electrical pump and filter system where there is no protective housing.
When buying pools with electrical pumps and filters you should:
If it is necessary to use flexible extension cords:
Owners of premises with swimming pools must:
Please visit the pool safety checklists page on the NSW Swimming Pool Register for further information.
For safety information about inflatable or portable pools refer to the Inflatable swimming pools page on the Fair Trading website.
Near your pool, you should have a cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign that is in good condition and can be read from a distance of 3 metres.
You can buy a CPR sign from your local pool shop, council or community organisations such as St John Ambulance, the Australian Red Cross or The Royal Life Saving Society.
Get a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader so you can access PDF versions of our information.