We have a swimming pool on our property, what do I need to know?
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Drowning is the most common cause of preventable death of children aged 0–5 years. Over the past ﬁve years, 16 toddlers have drowned in Western Australia. For every drowning death, it is estimated that 10 children are admitted to hospital following a near-drowning incident (160 children over the past ﬁve years).
In WA, domestic swimming pools are the most common site in which drowning for children aged 0–5 years occurs, with 94 per cent of drowning incidents at locations in and around the home. Of that 94 per cent, 31 per cent occurred at a relative or neighbour’s home.
These tragic incidents can be signiﬁcantly reduced if we are all aware of the potential hazards of water in our everyday life, use simple prevention methods and learn the life saving skill of resuscitation.
There are speciﬁc laws in WA that mandate the installation of a safety barrier to enclose private swimming and spa pools.
The laws are intended to protect the safety of young children by restricting their access to the area containing the swimming or spa pool.
The Building Regulations 2012 require all private swimming and spa pools that contain water to a depth greater than 300 mm to have a compliant safety barrier.
This requirement extends to portable swimming pools. These regulations have changed over time and Western Australia have two sets of safety barrier requirements depending when the pool or spa was installed or when plans for the installation of the pool were submitted to the permit authority.
For new private swimming pools and spas that were built post 1 May 2016 the safety barrier requirements are those of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) 2016. The BCA references AS 1926.1:2012 (Safety barriers for swimming pools) and AS 1926.2:2007 (Location of safety barriers for swimming pools) incorporating amendments 1 and 2.
For existing private swimming pools and spas that were built before 1 May 2016 continue to comply with their existing requirements under the Regulations. Plans that were approved prior to this date but installed on or after 1 May 2016 may also continue to comply with the existing requirements under the Regulations.
Owners also have the option to comply with the post May 2016 requirements if they so choose. A building permit is generally required in order to modify the barrier.