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New Backyard Pool and Spa Child-Proof Barrier Certification Legislation

Posted by LNA Master Landscapers Association on 16 March 2016

The Minister for Local Government, Paul Toole, has just announced new regulations regarding the sale of properties with swimming pools to take effect from the 29th of April, 2016.

Under these new regulations, vendors of properties with two (2) or fewer dwellings will need to attach to the sales contract either:

  • A 'Certificate of Compliance', 
  • A 'Certificate of Non-Compliance', or
  • A relevant 'Occupation Certificate', issued under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, that is less than three (3) years old and authorises the use of the swimming pool.

The purpose of these new regulations is two-fold and will benefit both vendors and purchasers. It provides flexibility for property vendors by allowing them to pass responsibility for ensuring compliance to buyers, whilst still ensuring that incidences of non-compliance are addressed. It also provides certainty to purchasers who may otherwise have unwittingly purchased a property whilst being unaware that enclosures were not compliant, and in the case of a sale where a 'Certificate of Non-Compliance' is attached to the property contract, appropriate price negotiations can be made.

Following the 29th of April, 2016, purchasers of properties with 'Certificates of Non-Compliance' will now have a period of 90 days from the date of settlement to obtain a 'Certificate of Compliance'.

Note: the new regulations do not apply to:

  • When a property is being leased in this case the landlord/owner is required to provide a 'Certificate of Compliance' with the lease since landlords are obligated to provide a safe environment for tennants
  • Owners of properties with more than 3 dwellings these are already regulated under three (3) year council inspections.

In NSW, property owners are already required to register their swimming pool and/or spa pool on the NSW Swimming Pool Register. Compliance inspections for safety barriers are conducted by a combination of Local Council Officers and Private Certifiers. The NSW Building Professionals Board is the body charged with accrediting certain people to carry out pool inspections as per the legislative requirements and it is worth noting that the LNA have a representative on this Board and can impact on the interpretation of how these regulations and their implemented.

In general pools can be inspected in these circumstances:
1. When the inspection is compulsory because of the type of property (ie multi-occupancy, or for tourist or visitor accommodation)
2. As part of a Council's locally adopted inspection program
3. Before a property can be leased or sold
4. On request.

In the case of either the first or second of these circumstances, a Local Council Officer will contact the property owner for an appointment. In the third and fourth circumstances, property owners will need to engage either a Private or Local Council Inspector to conduct the work.

So how can LNA Members and their clients find a Certified Inspector?

The easiest way to do this is to visit the Register of Inspectors click here where both all the Private and Council Certifiers are listed.

Are you a Certified Inspector?

The NSW Office of Local Government has published a range of resources you can refer to regarding the issuing of compliance certificates. click here for access to these publications.


Author: LNA Master Landscapers Association
Tags: Industry News Consumer Information

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