Swimming Pool Exemption

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Swimming Pools Act 1992 Exemptions (Sections 8,9 and 10)

Exemptions currently exist for some pools based on the age and location of the pool, provided such exemption barriers were in place at the time of the exemption and continue to be maintained as such.

Council recommends all pools be upgraded to comply with current requirements.

Between the period 1 August 1992 to 30 June 2010 the Swimming Pools Act 1992 provided an alternative to the general requirements as to the location of pool child-resistant barriers. These are referred to as Exemptions. This is different to site specific exemptions granted under section 22 of the Swimming Pools Act 1992.

These exemptions under the Act apply to the following pools so long as the means of access to the pool are at all times restricted in accordance with the exemption.

  • Pools constructed prior to 1 August 1990
  • Pools on waterfront properties constructed before 1 July 2010.
  • Pools on properties having an area less than 230 m2 constructed before 1 July 2010.
  • Pools on properties having an area of 2 hectares or more constructed before 1 July 2010.

The exemption provisions and standards vary depending on the type of exemption and date of works. For more information contact us or send an email.

Exempt barriers retained

To retain the exemption that was available to the pool at the time of the construction requires that such pool barriers/means of access continue to comply with the standard applicable at the time of their installation. These exemptions primarily relate to the use of child-safe/child-resistant doors as an outdoor pool barrier which the current standards do not allow.

Some pool owners are of the opinion that an exemption applies for the life of their pool.  This is not correct.

Exempt barrier no longer applies and is removed where

Access to a pool or pool barrier is substantially altered or rebuilt

Where the means of access to a pool or pool barrier is substantially altered or rebuilt, the means of access/ pool barrier is to comply with the standards applicable at the time when it was altered/
rebuilt.

Restricted access to a pool or pool barrier is not provided

Where the restricted means of access/ pool barrier has not been provided then the exemption no longer applies and the means of access/ pool barrier is required to comply with current standards.

Restricted access to a pool or pool barrier is not maintained or does not comply

Where the restricted means of access/ pool barrier is not maintained or is not in accordance with the terms of the exemption, (exempt standards apply so long as the means of access to the pool are at all times restricted in accordance with the exemption), then the exemption no longer applies and the means of access/ pool barrier is required to comply with current standards.

Pool fenced voluntarily, once fenced the exemption cannot be reinstated

Where an existing swimming pool that is exempt from the Act's fencing requirements is fenced voluntarily, such fencing must meet the Act's requirements for a compliant, four-sided barrier (effectively removing the exemption). Once in place the fence cannot be
removed or altered to a lesser (older) standard.

The following examples are where the exemptions are no longer valid resulting in child resistant barriers requiring to be upgraded to comply with current pool safety standards:

  • Exempt barrier was not provided/ not in place
  • Exempt barrier is not maintained or does not comply.
  • Exempt barrier is removed e.g. dwelling is demolished. If the existing pool is being retained it no longer retains the exemption and therefore requires a child-resistant barrier separating the pool from the new residence and adjoining properties, both public and private. The pool is required to be fenced prior to the demolition of the dwelling.
  • Exempt barrier is removed/ replaced e.g. pool owner voluntarily fences the pool.
  • Means of access/ pool barrier is substantially altered or rebuilt.

(This includes where an existing child-safe/child-resistant door is removed or replaced). Additions/alterations to an existing residence removing exemption barriers or where such works provide opening that are a means of access to the pool area. Any existing pool barrier exemptions being altered/rebuilt/removed are lost and cannot be reinstated. Thus the pool is to be provided with child-resistant barriers separating the pool from the residence and adjoining properties, both public and private.

New structures cause pool barrier upgrade to current standards

New structures such as a garage, carport, shed, boat shed, pergola or the like are required to be outside the enclosed pool area child-resistant barriers. Child-resistant doors are no longer permitted thus door exemptions do not apply for new structures even though the property may have a complying existing barrier exemption.