Are Pools included in Home Inspections?
Before you jump into the property market, there are some things you should consider before you purchase a property with a pool. Many buyers obtaining a home inspection might assume that a pre-purchase inspection includes the pool as well. Certainly, you should ask whether the pool is included and if your building inspector is also qualified to assess the pool.
A swimming pool can be a luxury item which increases the overall value of a home. So, whether you’re planning to buy a primary residence, considering investment property or thinking of selling your own home with a pool, there are some things you should consider before making any final decisions. Pool maintenance, or a lack thereof, can have far-reaching implications for homeowners and new buyers alike.
Swimming Pool Safety and the Australian Standards
From 1 December 2019, new laws to improve swimming pool and spa safety came into effect in Victoria. It is now mandatory for owners of land with a swimming pool or spa, to register their pool or spa with the relevant council. Owners are also required to have their safety barriers inspected and to lodge a Certificate of Barrier Compliance (CBC) with their council.
Once registered, pool owners have 30 days to arrange an inspection of the safety barrier. If deemed not compliant, it is the owner’s responsibility to make the barrier compliant. Pool registration and compliance started from 1 November 2020, dependent upon your pool’s construction date – refer VBA website for dates.
The changes to the legislation mean pool and spa owners must have an appropriately registered person certify compliance of their safety barrier every four years. An appropriate person is a Building Inspector (Pool Safety) or registered building surveyor – Find details of your local Houspect building inspector here.
Houspect Victoria can inspect your pool safety compliance against the requirements of the Victorian Building Act and relevant regulations. Our inspectors are registered with the Victorian Building Authority and are licensed Pool Safety Inspectors (IN-PS), with Licence Numbers noted in all reports. All assessments and inspections are conducted by our own licensed inspectors, with reports and certificates provided to you and your local council. Once your pool is deemed compliant, Houspect Victoria will issue a Certificate of Barrier Compliance (CBC). The CBC needs to be renewed every four years based on a new inspection to ensure the safety fencing, gates, etc are compliant.
Keeping Your Swimming Pool Safe
As 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. VBA Statement on Pool Safety
The swimming pool on your property may be a relaxing oasis and centre of entertainment, but it can also be a dangerous source of accidents and injuries.
- Barriers – In most areas, swimming pools must be fenced to deter children from accessing the water without adult supervision. 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 realise 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 meet Australian Standards and local ordinances, depending upon their location relative to the pool.
A local building inspection professional 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.