The swimming pool on your property may be a relaxing oasis and center of entertainment, but it can also be a dangerous source of accidents and injuries. Due to the potential hazard posed by an on-site swimming pool, there are many governmental regulations regarding proper upkeep and safety measures. Compliance with these regulations is not only important for legal reasons, it is also an integral part helping to protect your family members and neighbors.
The Australian Standard and What it Means for You
As a homeowner who isn’t actively involved in the building trades, you may not be incredibly familiar with the intricacies of the Australian Standard. This set of safety guidelines and recommendations is put in place by Standards Australia, and due to a Memorandum of Understanding, are recognized by the Australian government. The focus of the Australian Standard is broad, with coverage on topics from human services and consumer products to construction and engineering. For homeowners, the construction and engineering standards may also affect the local building laws in your area.
Keeping Your Swimming Pool Safe
The Australian Standards regarding the construction and upkeep of swimming pools are comprised of many safety suggestions, many of which become the basis for legislation on a local level. While there may be some slight variances in local law from one area to another, the Australian Standards do provide a baseline from which to work regarding the maintenance and installation of swimming pools. Because drowning is the most common cause of preventable death for Australian children under the age of five, and domestic swimming pools are one of the most common sites of such accidents, legislation designed to protect children has been enacted across the country.
- Barriers – In most areas, swimming pools must be fenced to deter children from accessing the water without adult supervision. Depending on where you live, there may be some specific exemptions from the legal barrier requirement. Property owners and tenants are responsible for installing and maintaining a fence which restricts swimming pool access, and can be subjected to fines and penalties if such measures aren’t in place. The Australian Standard recommends that gates open away from the swimming pool, are self-latching and self-closing.
- Portable Pools and Spas – While most homeowners realize the dangers posed by a permanently-installed swimming pool or spa, portable options aren’t always outfitted with safety measures in keeping with Australian Standards or local law. If your portable pool or spa meets the depth requirements prescribed by your local government, they must also be outfitted with barriers and gates which adhere to the Australian Standard.
- Construction and Installation – If you’re considering the installation of a new swimming pool, it’s imperative to obtain the proper building permits and ensure all building practices are compliant with local laws. Windows, doors and balconies in close proximity to the enclosure may also be required to meed Australian Standards and local ordinances, depending upon their location relative to the pool.
A certified pool inspection professional or your local council can help you to determine whether your pool is compliant with the Australian Standard and local building laws. With the appropriate safety measures in place, you can ensure your pool is a safe, relaxing part of your property.
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