Ipswich City Council is conducting a swimming pool inspection program targeting over 8,000 residential pools within its local government area, with older, high-risk swimming pools first on the checklist.
Why is Council running the program?
Over the last 25 years, 965 children under the age of five have drowned in Australia. Educating owners on the safety requirements for swimming pools is an important component of the compliance strategy for ensuring community safety. New pool safety laws were introduced in December 2015, requiring all regulated pools to meet a single swimming pool barrier standard. The program aims to achieve the following outcomes:
- Identify illegal pools without building approval and prompt owners to obtain approval or have the pool decommissioned.
- Identify and remedy pools with non-compliant barriers.
- Educate pool owners on the safety requirements for swimming pools.
What can a pool owner do before Council gets there?
There are five common problem issues you can check around your pool to help make it safe:
- Your pool gate is self-closing and self-latching.
- Your pool fence is at least 1,200mm high from ground level and any gaps in or under the fence are no greater than 100mm.
- There are no items near the fence that could be used to climb over.
- Your CPR sign is the current sign.
- Your pool is registered with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).
Download the comprehensive Pool Safety Checklist (PDF, 138.5 kb)
Please note: Self-checks are not a substitute for pool inspections and are for education purposes only. Use of this checklist is not acknowledgement of compliance and does not guarantee your pool is compliant with all relevant laws. To ensure compliance and relevant approvals are obtained, you should engage a pool safety inspector to carry out a complete inspection.
Find out more about pool and spa laws, permits and regulations on Council's Swimming Pools and Spas webpage.
What to expect when an inspector arrives
- Council has obligations, responsibilities and powers relating to compliance with Queensland's pool safety law. As such, an authorised person can enter and inspect properties in the local government area to ensure the swimming pool legislation is being complied with.
- Council officers will be assessing compliance with the pool safety standard implemented on 1 December 2015, requiring all regulated Queensland swimming pools to meet a single fencing standard.
- The standard applies to new and existing pools in houses, unit complexes, hotels, motels, backpacker accommodation, caravan parks and mobile van parks.
- Where necessary, property owners will receive penalty infringement notices (e.g. if owners are given an enforcement notice but fail to make their pool safe without any reasonable excuse, or the owner is a repeat offender). Fines from $883 apply to owners of pool fences not meeting this standard.
What to do if you believe there is an illegal or unsafe pool in your neighbourhood?
- Residents wishing to lodge a complaint about a swimming pool can lodge a complaint with and/or contact Ipswich City Council to voice their concerns about a swimming pool barrier.
- Council investigates all regulated swimming pool complaints, including:
- Portable/temporary above ground swimming pools and spas deeper than 300mm.
- All permanent swimming pools and spas (in ground and above ground) on residential land.
- Immersion incidents that occur in regulated swimming pools.
- The following information will be useful when you are raising pool barrier concerns with Council staff:
- Property location of the swimming pool/spa.
- Depth of the swimming pool/spa.
- Whether the swimming pool/spa currently holds water deeper than 300mm.
- Concerns regarding the pool/spa barrier.
- If a resident lodges a complaint with Council a compliance officer trained in swimming pool barrier safety will inspect the swimming pool. If any serious breaches of the new standard are identified the pool owner will receive an enforcement notice and may also receive an on-the-spot infringement.
- Non-compliance with the pool safety standard or failing to register your pool with the QBCC can result in penalties of over $2,000.