Swimming Pools and Spas – A Checklist On What You Need To Know
Authored by Lovegrove & Cotton Construction and Planning Lawyers
Despite Victoria being the Australian state to be known to have four seasons in one day, this time of year typically affords Victorian’s many hot and sunny days. Instead of flocking to the beach in droves, Victorian’s can have their own piece of summer paradise in the comfort of their own homes in the form of a swimming pool and/or spa.
The construction and installation of swimming pools and/or spas in Victoria is heavily regulated under the Building Regulations 2006. Careful consideration in accordance with the regulations needs to be taken before, during and after construction to ensure its strict legal guidelines are followed or one risks becoming unstuck.
Before Construction Checklist
• All private swimming pools and/or spas, (including inflatable pools and spas) with a depth of more than 30cm are required to have safety barriers that meet the Australian Standards;
• Inflatable pools and portable spas do not require a building permit unless they have more than 30cm of water, in which case they need to have proper safety barriers. You cannot obtain a separate building permit for the pool/spa and the safety barriers. They must be contained in the single building permit;
• If you are an owner-builder you must ensure that you obtain a certificate of consent from the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) for building works that are over $16,000 before you obtain the relevant building permits; and
• If consumers engage a registered building practitioner (RPB) to undertake the building works they would be well advised to enter into a written domestic building contract. A registered building practitioner must provide the owner with proof of Domestic Building-Insurance in excess of $16,000.
During Construction Checklist
• Has the relevant building surveyor (RBS) been advised that construction has started? It is the responsibility of “the person in charge of the building work” to advise the RBS;
• “The person in charge of the building work” must maintain the temporary safety barrier surrounding any excavated pool and/or spa site; and
• Construction works must be undertaken within 12 months of the issuing of the building permit and completed within 6 months.
After Construction Checklist
• The RBS should be notified to do a final inspection of the construction works including installed safety barriers. The pool or spa should not be used until a Certificate of Final Inspection has been issued by the RBS; and
• There is an ongoing obligation on the owner to maintain the safety barriers at all times.
Should Victorians have concerns about any of the strict guidelines governing the construction of pools and/or spas in Victoria during these hot summer months, they would be well advised to contact a building and construction lawyer before they risk becoming unstuck.