Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in Queensland for children under the age of five. Active adult supervision, swimming lessons, learning basic CPR and compliant pool fencing can save lives. Queensland’s current pool safety laws were introduced in 2009 and apply to all regulated swimming pools in Queensland. The pool safety legislation is administered by the Queensland Government and you are encouraged to visit the websites of the Department of Housing and Public Works (DHPW) and the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) for comprehensive information relating to pool safety laws. Please refer to the resource list at the bottom of this page for other useful pool and water safety information and links to relevant organisations.
So what is a regulated swimming pool?
Queensland pool safety laws define a regulated swimming pool as a private pool or spa on a residential premises that meets any of the following criteria:
- Capable of holding water to a depth greater than 300 mm
- Has the capacity to hold over 2,000 litres of water
- Has a filtration system.
Most portable/temporary pools or spas purchased from a department store are likely to be regulated swimming pools/spas, the exception being small wading pools that do not exceed any of the above criteria.
The following are not regulated swimming pools:
- Ornamental ponds manufactured and used for ornamental purposes
- Dams used for aquaculture, water storage or similar
- Spa bath in a bathroom that is not continuously filled.
Pool owner responsibilities
Pool owners with a regulated pool must comply with current pool safety laws and all relevant legislation regarding the construction, maintenance or alteration of a regulated pool and safety barriers. The below topics provide information about mandatory approvals, inspections, certificates and registration of regulated pools.
Regulated pools and building permits/approvals
- Under the Building Act 1975 a regulated pool, including all safety barriers/fencing, is an assesable development requiring development approval (building permit) for building work to be issued by a licensed building certifier. This includes construction of new pools or fences or when changes are made to the location, height or style of an existing pool or barrier. Approval is also required for demolishing or removing a regulated pool.
- When a regulated pool is under construction the pool owner is required to have a warning sign in place at all times - find out more about requirements for CPR and warning signs.
- Swimming pools must not be filled with over 300 mm of water until you have obtained either a final inspection certificate (Form 17) from your building certifier for permanent barriers certificate for temporary fencing (Form 16), which is valid for three months only.
- On-the-spot infringements can be issued for non-compliant pool barriers, pools and spas built without approval and other breaches to legislation - refer to swimming pool and spa building standards, forms and factsheets.
Pool safety certificates
- A pool safety certificate (Form 23) is required in Queensland when a property with a regulated pool is being sold or leased. The certificate is an approved form confirming that a swimming pool barrier has been inspected by a licensed pool safety inspector and met compliance with the pool safety standard at the time of inspection. It is valid for two years for non-shared pools and one year for shared pools. Please note that a Form 23 does not certify that a building development approval (building permit) has been issued for the pool or barriers.
- A final inspection certificate (Form 17) is issued by a licensed building certifier in relation to a building development approval (building permit), can be used in place of a Form 23 and is valid for the same period of time as a pool safety certificate for the purposes of selling or leasing. To ensure you meet your requirements when selling, purchasing or leasing, refer to QBCC's pool safety information.
Health and water quality
- Poor management of backyard swimming pools can lead to health risks. Insufficient chlorination of swimming pools can lead to bacterial and algae growth that may harm swimmers. Swimming pools that are not filtrated or chlorinated may also be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- Under the Public Health Regulation 2018 property owners must ensure that an accumulation of water at their property is not a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- To prevent mosquitoes breeding in your pool you need to regularly treat the water with chemicals (e.g. chlorine), keep the pool clean and operate a filtration system. This also minimises algae growth and any build-up of bacteria.
- If you have a concern or complaint about the condition of a swimming pool and are unable to address these with the pool owner, a request can be lodged with council by calling (07) 3810 6666.
Pool and water safety resources
Refer to the below links to a number of organisations with programs and resources aimed at educating pool owners, adults and children about improving pool/water safety and reducing the number of preventable drownings through active supervision, CPR, learn-to-swim programs and compliant safety barriers:
||Department of Housing and Public Works (DHPW) - Pool Safety webpage||
Responsible for administering pool safety standards. This website contains access to the pool safety standards, owner and occupier obligations and general advice about pool safety.
|Queensland Development Code - MP3.4 Swimming Pool Barriers||
Statewide mandatory standards for pool barriers in Queensland.
|Building Regulation 2021||Statewide mandatory standards for building regulations|
||Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) - Pool Safety||
Statutory body responsible for regulating the pool safety standards. This website contains information, checklists and safety tips for pool owners.
Website with access to pool safety inspector and property searches.
||Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC)||
Access to current resuscitation guidelines and CPR signage (ANZCOR Basic Life Support Flowchart).
||Queensland Family and Child Commission - Seconds Count Campaign||
Includes a range of videos, tips and factsheets about keeping children safe around water.
||Royal Life Saving Australia - Keep Watch Home Pool Safety||
Access to various resources including a home pool safety app and information regarding pool toys, wading pools and pool safety devices.
||Kids Alive - Do the Five||
Provides targeted resources for children, parents, teachers and community groups. Includes learning activities, videos and age based safety and swimming tips.
|Ipswich City Council's SEAL Pool Safety Programs||
A range of programs provided by council to encourage active adult and child participation in programs such as learning to swim, supervision, CPR and pool fence compliance, in order to educate the community to the benefits of water safety.|