Fencing the issue

Nearly two years ago in Queensland, legislation came into effect that placed a number of new requirements on the owners of pools.

In general these laws were aimed at increasing pool safety and in particular creating more toddler-safe environments. These new laws created new registration requirements that meant that pool owners had to have their pool certified as compliant within six months of the new legislation commencing.

There were exceptions to this six-month deadline and the compliance deadline for body corporate shared pools was one of them. In most circumstances, pools within the common property of a strata title were allowed up to two years to comply with the new legislation.

So here we are now, almost two years on, with a 30 November deadline looming.

Is your pool compliant?

If they haven’t already, bodies corporate in Queensland need to promptly attend to the certification of their pools. If you are a caretaker for a complex that does not have a compliant pool, you should review your management rights agreements as the obligation to attend to this issue may be one of your duties.

A safety-compliant shared pool must be certified by a registered pool safety inspector and the owners of a safety-compliant shared pool are obliged to display certificates in a visible location near the pool or the main entrance of the strata complex. Three common reasons why a pool fails to comply with certification requirements are:

1. climbable items in the restricted non-climbable zone;

2. gates that fail to self-close correctly; and

3. poor water quality.

Meanwhile in New South Wales, local government minister Don Page has addressed the state parliament and has stated that new pool safety laws are to be proposed for New South Wales in the near future. These laws are likely to be similar to those that were implemented in Queensland in 2010 and will likely provide owners with a 12-month window to get their pools compliant.

As there is a reasonable likelihood that these proposed new laws will come into effect in New South Wales, owners’ corporations are encouraged to proactively address this issue. As the exact nature of the requirements are not known yet, owners’ corporations are encouraged to look towards the Queensland legislation for guidance and begin budgeting for works that they may need to perform in the coming 24 months. Caretakers in New South Wales also need to review their management rights agreements to see if they will be responsible for organising or implementing the necessary safety works. If the new legislation passes as intended, owners’ corporations can expect to have their pools inspected on a regular basis for compliance.

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