Changes to Fees/Charges for Swimming Pool Applications & Inspections effective 21 June 2024

Published on Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 2:41:44 PM

In 2021, a review was commissioned following an Ombudsman Western Australia report on reducing deaths by children by drowning. The State Government has committed to improve the safety of private swimming pools by implementing the recommendations from the review concerning private pool safety barrier requirements.

Initial inspection of safety barrier to new swimming pools

  • Sub-regulation 53A(2) of the Building Regulations provides a new service fee for an initial inspection, charged up to a maximum of $312 inclusive of any required re-inspections, limited to but not exceeding the cost to local government of carrying out an initial inspection.

  • New sub-regulation 53(2)(a) of the Building Regulations requires an initial inspection within 30 calendar days of the local government becoming aware of a new swimming pool (or becoming aware of one that has never had a safety barrier inspection, this could be following receipt of a Notice of Completion (BA7) for a swimming pool (or barrier, where applicable), notification by the owner, or by some other means.

  • The previous requirements for a builder to inspect and submit an inspection certificate (on completion of a safety barrier) no longer apply and have been removed.

  • Safety barrier compliance documentation may be requested by the local government pool/building inspector, this will be used to assist in determining compliance measures at the initial inspection, such as compliance reports required by the Australian Standard (AS 1926.1).

  • Please note, a building permit is still required for the installation of a swimming pool or spa.

Reinspection of non-compliant safety barriers

  • There is a new sub-regulation 53(2)(c) in the Building Regulations which prescribes a requirement to reinspect non-compliant safety barriers. Where a safety barrier does not comply, a reinspection is to be arranged within a maximum period of 60 calendar days. The local government must continue to reinspect the safety barrier until it is compliant. The cost of reinspecting is to be factored into the local government’s inspection charging model, it is not an additional separate charge to pool owners.
  • The 60-day timeframe is a maximum, and it is expected that local governments will continue to reinspect at intervals determined by their risk assessment of the circumstances of the non-compliance and in accordance with their enforcement strategy.

Charges imposed for ongoing safety barrier inspections.

  • The periodic (four-yearly) inspection annual charge has been amended and relocated to sub-regulation 53A(3) of the Building Regulations.
  •  The maximum annual charge has increased from $58.45 to $78.00 and continues to be limited to not exceeding the estimated average cost to the local government of carrying out periodic inspections in that year.
  • The increased charge reflects the inclusion of any related re-inspections required where a non-compliant barrier is detected.

Local government reporting to the Building Commissioner

  • New regulation 53B of the Building Regulations introduces a mandatory reporting obligation on local governments, formalising the current voluntary arrangement of the past six years.
  • Local governments are required to report annually to the Building Commissioner to demonstrate progress with the four-yearly safety barrier inspection program for the preceding financial year, with the data required to be provided before 1 August each year.

Data to be reported is unchanged from the voluntary arrangement, being:

  • The total number of swimming pools located in the district that are subject to the private swimming pool safety barrier requirements of Part 8 Division 2 of the Building Regulations;
  • The number of swimming pools referred to above that were inspected during the preceding financial year; and
  • The number of swimming pools that were not inspected within four years of a previous inspection at the end of the reporting period.

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