Common Concerns about Pool Compliance

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Is Your Pool Compliance Question answered here

We’ve responded to over 800 questions on our Live Chat over the past 7 years.  There’s been some curly questions put to our Client Services Team, who are trained to answer simple questions relating to the Regulations surrounding selling or leasing your home with a pool, but many of these questions are extremely specific and require advice that is delivered on site as per Certifiers Code of Ethics. We’d like to be able to help clarify all your questions as we know there is a lack of education from local Councils and Regulators.  However for these types of concerns pool owners can only rely on advice from a Registered Pool Inspector who has visited your home and viewed your pool on site. Comments are for general information only and cannot replace a site visit by an Inspector.

We’d like to share some of the most frequently asked questions posed to Client Services.

You will find our responses will refer you back to Legislation or to another post that goes into the query in more detail by sharing examples with images. What we can’t do is provide personalised responses that you can rely on. Our Certifier is bound by a code of ethics meaning that for him to stand by any personalised response, he must have carried out an on site inspection of your pool fencing, so be aware that our response may lead to further questions on your part that can only be answered by our Inspector.

Questions relating to a previous failed inspection by another Inspector

We get a lot of these – this one is fairly typical. 

Question: Our pool was built in 1994 and we bought the house in 2014. Our local council inspected our pool enclosure yesterday as part of their ongoing programme. We had a verbal non-compliance decision by council and are awaiting their report but the part we don’t understand is that our boundary fence complies as far as the height is concerned but there is a very high hedge up against the fence and vegetation, palm trees etc close to the fence. The council have said that we need to put an additional fence round the pool as the boundary fences do not comply. Are you able to advise?

Our Response:

That may well be an appropriate fix however before you embark on a course of action, you would need to know how.  If Council are unable to give you that information, you are able to engage any Registered Swimming Pool Inspector including our own to meet you on site and provide you with a workable solution.

Question: For a pool built prior to 2008 do you measure the pool fence from the inside or outside ? I know you measure back fence from the inside but it’s just the surrounding pool fence I’m worried about  I just had Council come here and measure from inside around pool fence and boundary.

What the Regulations say:   Pool barrier height it is measured from outside as being 1200mm minimum.  It is also measured from surfaces or objects inside where NCZ4 is present.  Sometimes Council will not give owners information so you may wish to engage a private certifier.

Question:  We are buying a house with a Non Compliant Pool that you inspected. I’d like to know how to go about getting the work done to comply with the Notice and associated costs.  Can you forward the Notice to me?
 
We can help you.: Happy to meet you on site to explain how to comply however any costings would require a full scope of works to be drawn up so you will need to make certain decisions as a part of that process.

 

Questions relating to new pools not yet approved

Question:  We’re building a home and planning for a pool and we intended to use our rear boundary as part of the pool fence. The other side of our boundary has since been built up significantly higher than our ground level with a retaining wall however the wall sits inside the other properties boundary so we cannot put the fence on the wall. Will we comply if we put our fence on our boundary and the retaining wall is higher on the other side of the fence?

Our Response:   

Your query goes beyond the Legislation as you are essentially asking me to confirm that you have identified the correct boundary line.  We suggest you provide our Inspector with a survey plan that does identify the property line and discuss with him on site. That way you can rely on the advice provided. 

Questions about expired compliance – usually asking if Certification can be issued without any inspection.

Question: My pool compliance certificate has expired. do I need another inspection? Nothing has changed to the pool or property in the past 3 years.

What the Regulations say: An expired Compliance Certificate can only be renewed following an inspection by a Registered Swimming Pool Inspector. Previous compliance, despite your confirmation that nothing has changed, does not equate to compliance on this occasion.  There could be maintenance issues as described here https://www.poolcertify.com.au/what-you-can-do-to-improve-your-chance-of-compliance/.     Furthermore, the Swimming Pools Regulations 2018 have required many pool owners to upgrade their fencing to comply with the requirements contained within.

Question:  I just had Council out here to renew my expired Compliance buy they issued a Non Compliance Certificate. Why?

Our Response:   Firstly we would recommend you ask the Council Inspector why, or wait for them to send you the Notice to Comply. If you are not satisfied with the information provided, you can engage any Registered Swimming Pool Inspector to assess or provide clarification. 

Question: spoke to the staff one week ago and would like to check with you about the rough guide regarding the fence requirement. Attached are the photos towards the pool.

Our Response: Our Client Services Team are unable to offer you any comment on your photos. It would be unethical and could not be relied upon.  We will be happy to send you a Checklist for AS1926.1-2012 as prepared by the Regulatory Body.  If you are selling or leasing the property we suggest you book in a formal inspection. 

Questions about interpreting the Legislation and applying that to an existing pool.

Question:  If I install a Colorbond fence as a pool/boundary fence at 1500 mm with a 300mm Colorbond height extension , does that then comply with standards ?

What the Regulations say:  The Standard requires an 1800mm Minimum height Boundary Fence with no climbable points in the upper 900mm.  

Our Response: The height would comply if you are correctly measuring the fencing of course. However depending on the type of extension material and how it is attached to the top of the existing fencing, your Inspector may determine that climbable points have been created in NCZ5. https://www.poolcertify.com.au/what-is-ncz5-and-what-objects-can-be-located-within-this-zone/ .We recommend to increase height from the ground up for a ColorBond fence – its a much safer option.

Question:  General confusion about pool gates.  Such as must they open away from the pool?, I checked mine and its fine but my inspector failed it, why?  Why can’t I have a double gate? What can I build a gate out of?  Why does the gate latch need shielding? and so on.

What the Regulations say: AS1926.1-2012 Clause 2.4 requires gates to be self-closing and self-latching; have security of gate closure, correct minimum height and/or shielding of the latch; hinges at least 900mm apart and constructed such that they comply with all the requirements of the Standard. It is up to your Registered Swimming Pool Inspector to interpret and apply the Standard when he inspects. Unfortunately the Regulatory Body does not provide pool owners with a comprehensive checklist.

Our Response: We would advise against building your own gate as you may be asked to provide an engineering certificate. The gate unit will undergo a series of tests during the inspection.   The main failure to comply is that the gate cannot demonstrate security of closure.  It cannot be manually slammed shut, then bounce out of the latch. It cannot be a double gate. It cannot be slammed at all; that is not how a gate is tested.   You’ll find several examples of how to test your gate here. https://www.facebook.com/PoolCertify/   Glass Gates require the latch to be shielded within a 450mm radius; that means no gaps exceeding 10mm.https://www.poolcertify.com.au/is-your-glass-gate-latch-correctly-shielded/

Question: Our pool deck is attached to an existing verandah. The fence to access the pool area will be on the existing verandah..Can we attach the pool fence panels to the vertical posts of the verandah or do the posts have to be inside the pool area?  

What the Regulations say: The 900mm Non Climbable Zones NCZ2 & NCZ3 apply to all pool barriers. Providing the posts have the appropriate Non Climbable Zones observed and without any information to the contrary, specifically about the deck as we have no idea whether that is a part of your query.  Given that you are installing a new fence there could be a requirement to upgrade the entire pool enclosure to AS1926.1-2012 which you may not have considered.  For example the deck position could impact the boundary fence height.

Our Response: We recommend a site visit to ensure that what is constructed will be compliant. After all, materials are expensive whereas the right advice will avoid mistakes.

Questions relating to Old Superseded Standards

Question: Can I replace an existing pool certified door?

What the Regulations SayNow this is a loaded question for sure.  Previously certified when?  Apparently in 1990.   Is the pool indoor?  No.  Is the property rural?  No, its suburban residential home. The owner advised that he can walk straight from his Residence into the pool area.  He then continued to advise that the door is a sliding door which is incapable of self-closure and as such highly unlikely to have ever been certified unless an Exemption was issued by Council. The current Standard states that doors cannot open directly onto a pool enclosure and that the entire pool fence must now comply with AS1926.1-2012 and The Swimming Pools Regulations 2018.
 
Our Response:  It was suggested that he seek professional advice and to be aware that it is very likely (from his comments) that the pool enclosure was not only non compliant but a high risk to public safety and were something to happen in the pool area, he would be held liable and his house insurance would not cover his legal liability due to the lack of compliance.
 
Question:   Various technical questions relating to AS3000:2018 – The Wiring Rules.

What the Regulations say: As Swimming Pool Inspectors we are not legally permitted to provide any sort of advice about earth-bonding other than to say that the legislation exists. Whilst it is mandatory for metal pool fencing and components pool owners should discuss with a licensed and experienced electrician.  It is not as yet a part of pool fencing compliance, despite being mandatory legislation. Fair Trading advises that a Pool Inspector cannot provide specific technical advice for obvious reasons. Apologies to the many concerned pool owners who cannot find an experienced electrician or find information from the National Electrical & Communications Association.

You can ensure your pool enclosure is compliant by working with our trustworthy Pool Compliance Inspectors at Pool Certify. For more information, please visit our website at https://poolcertify.com.au/.

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