Pool Safety Regulations When Buying Properties with a Pool
Buying a property is arguably one of the largest investments you will ever make in your lifetime hence the need to exercise caution and much thought. Pool safety regulations when buying properties with a pool are among the most important considerations you will have to make in your purchase decision. This applies whether you are purchasing a property that has a private or shared pool.
Pool safety laws were introduced in Queensland following an upsurge in the number of toddler drownings which was then one of the leading causes of death among children under the age of 5. In as much as progress has been made in bringing the number of these cases down, the Queensland Government is still keen to have the safety measures in place.
As a property buyer, it is your responsibility in as much as it is the sellers to ensure the due process is followed during the purchase. The pool you are buying as part of the deal should meet all fencing and barrier requirements as stipulated in the pool safety standard complete with documentation. Below is a detailed walk-through highlighting the steps you should follow in your purchase process and most importantly what to expect at each stage.
Buying a Properties with a Private Pool
Starting 1st December 2010, when the pool safety regulations when buying property were put in place, the Queensland Government requires the seller to obtain a pool certificate in the event he or she plans to dispose of his property. In line with this, you need to be careful as the buyer to ensure every stage of the sale process meets all the legal expectations.
Before the Contractual Agreement – The seller should either give you an effective Pool Safety Certificate or a Form 36 which advises you that the pool you are buying may not comply with the safety standard and the relevant steps you are to take to comply. This form is very important because it helps you to assess the property purchase and make an informed decision on whether to proceed with the transaction or not.
Before Settlement – At this stage, you should ask the seller to furnish you with either a pool certificate or a Form 36. You should also ensure the seller gives a copy of the Form 36 to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).
After the Settlement – If the seller of the property has not given you the certificate, you have 90 days within which you must obtain one. This period is set by legislation and cannot be extended.
Buying Properties with Shared Pools
Just like in the case of non-shared pools, the pool safety regulations when buying property are also applicable to shared pools. As the purchaser, you are supposed to be given a pool certificate or Form 36 before entering into a contractual agreement. Before settlement, you need to ensure the property seller also gives the body corporate that is responsible for running the shared pool the Form 36.
In the event you are buying the property through an auction, you should demand the Pool Safety Certificate from the seller if one exists. Where it is unavailable, the seller or their agent must ensure that you have a Form 36 before signing the contractual sale agreement.
Compliance Considerations When Buying the Property
Whether you are buying a property with a private or shared pool, you must understand and be ready to abide by the compliance considerations as the incoming owner. These considerations relate to pool barriers and how they ought to be as per the pool safety standard.
Fencing, Gates and Latches – According to the law, the minimum allowable height for your pool fence is 120 cm. This height should be measured from the ground level. The gates to the pool must be self-closing and self-latching and should not open to the pool area. It will be your responsibility as the new property owner to ensure the doors and gates to the pool are always kept securely closed.
Non-Climbable Zone – The purpose of this zone around your pool barrier is to prevent children from climbing the barrier or using climbable objects which are near the pool barrier to gain access into the pool. According to the pool safety standard, the non-climbable zone should be 90 cm around the whole outside of the pool barrier.
Child Resistant Doors – The pool safety standard is against the use of self-closing and self-latching resistant doors as pool barriers if such doors give access to the pool area from a building. It is only allowed in the case of indoor pools.
The Safety Certificates are usually valid for a year in the case of shared pools and for two years for private pools. When the certificate expires, you may not need a new one unless you are leasing or selling your property, except in the case of a shared pool when you are required to renew the certificate every year.
If you are acquiring a property and are wondering what are the pool safety regulations when buying or have already purchased and you are in the process of obtaining a safety certificate, contact us and our qualified pool barrier inspectors will guide you through the process.