Pool owners and councils have a shared legal responsibility under the Swimming Pools Act 1992 to help protect the safety of children around properties with swimming pools or spa pools. One way we uphold our commitment to safety is through our Swimming Pool Safety Barrier Inspection Program.
Inspections are undertaken in order to issue a Certificate of Compliance, which indicates that the pool barrier complies with legislation. A fee is charged for this inspection. The maximum fee councils can charge for their pool inspection program is set by law, even when multiple inspections are required.
Inspections as part of the Swimming Pool Safety Barrier Inspection Program are undertaken on a risk basis. Pools and spas receiving complaints about safety barriers, multiple-occupancy dwellings and tourist / visitor accommodation are considered at higher risk.
See our common questions about this program below for more information.
Once the pool is inspected, the pool owner will receive a letter about the inspection result:
- If the pool complies, they will receive a Certificate of Compliance, valid for three years from the date of issue.
- If the pool has minor matters to be addressed in order to comply, they will receive a Notice of Non-compliance letter. This will advise the work that must be done, and the pool will be re-inspected. Minor matters to be addressed could include (but are not limited to) general maintenance and repairs to the swimming pool barrier. For example, repairing existing barrier panels, adjusting gates and removing climbable objects.
- If the pool has major compliance issues, or pool owners don't complete minor works required within the specified timeframe, an Order to comply with the Swimming Pools Act will be issued, requiring the entire pool area to meet the current regulations and standards.
- Fines and court proceedings may occur for continued non-compliance. Major compliance issues include (but are not limited to) where the swimming pool safety barrier has been substantially altered or re-built from the original approved barrier, or if a major safety risk is posed in relation to the swimming pool safety barrier.
Policies and procedures for swimming pool inspections
Council's Swimming Pool Safety Barrier Inspection Program operates under the following policies and procedure to meet the requirements of Section 22B of the Swimming Pools Act 1992:
- Swimming Pool Safety Barrier Policy PDF, 219.99 KB
- Swimming Pool Safety Barrier Inspection Program Procedure PDF, 159.33 KB
- Council's Compliance and Enforcement Policy PDF, 203.33 KB
Common questions about our Swimming Pool Barrier Inspection Program
No. The program is mandatory within the City of Wollongong and is subject to NSW law, which is enforceable by Council.
We aim to work with you to achieve compliance voluntarily in the first instance, without needing to resort to the available enforcement options.
Yes. We will send you an invoice for $150 after the final inspection. This fee includes the cost of the Compliance Certificate for your swimming pool.
Where our staff are making a courtesy call, including following up on works to rectify a minor non-compliance, no fee applies.
A re-inspection fee of $100 may apply for any further in-depth or repeat inspections where no progress towards compliance has been made.
If this invoice remains unpaid, we will contact you to provide more information about how you can meet your payment obligations.
No, but we prefer it if you are.
If you cannot be at home, anything you can do to help us with the inspection, such as clearing entry paths and securing animals, is appreciated.
You can contact Council on (02) 4227 7111 to tell us about anything we should be aware of during an inspection, such as access instructions or potential obstacles we might encounter.
Generally, no. This is because we do multiple inspections a day and it is very hard to predict how long each one will take.
If you have exceptional circumstances that you feel Council should consider, like a medical condition, a contractor travelling from out of the area, or if you require an interpreter service, please call us on (02) 4227 7111.
For general requests, Council will try to give you a time range when we expect the inspection to take place, such as morning from 7am - 12 noon, or afternoon from 1pm - 4pm.
It is preferred that you secure your animals to make the inspection easier for us and for your animals.
While all due care is taken, we would hate for your animals to escape. Securing them makes sure they are kept safe.
We will send you a letter listing any non-compliances.
We will also provide verbal information if you are present at the inspection.
No. Unlike spas, swim spas must have an actual compliant barrier around them.
Council’s Swimming Pool Barrier Compliance Officers are authorised under the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and the Local Government Act 1993.
They are authorised to enter the outdoor portions of your property in some cases; however, we will always attempt to seek your consent or otherwise contact you before we enter your property.
This also applies when Council is investigating complaints from the community about swimming pool barriers, which is separate from the Swimming Pool Safety Inspection Program.
Our Swimming Pool Barrier Compliance Officers are authorised to enter outdoor portions of your property in some cases without consent to undertake an inspection.
We may issue fines as a last resort if you fail to comply with a direction or cautions.
If you are issued with a fine and you believe it was incorrectly issued, or extenuating circumstances apply, please visit the Revenue NSW website for available options and more information.
Yes, but please be aware that unless a Private Certifier has already issued a certificate, Council will follow up to ensure compliance. This may include doing inspections under the program.
If you make a request in writing, we may give you more time before inspecting, to allow you to undertake works or to be issued a certificate by a Private Certifier.
Your request must reference the property, the reasons for your request, and clearly set out a reasonable period for the extension of time, along with any other supporting information.
See our Contact Us pages for ways you can write to Council.
The Compliance Certificate will be sent after the pool barrier is confirmed as compliant and payment has been received.
It may take up to two weeks (including delivery time by mail) to reach you after this happens.
The standard to which your pool barrier needs to comply depends, initially, on when your pool was completed.
For more information on standards, see our Pool Safety Barriers page.
If you are selling or leasing your house, NSW law requires you to get a Compliance Certificate.
You are encouraged to contact Council as soon as possible on (02) 4227 7111 if you need a certificate for sale or leasing. This is separate to the Swimming Pool Safety Inspection Program. You can also visit our Pool Certificates page to learn more.
We do not recommend planting vegetation within the pool area.
The vegetation requirements relating to swimming pool barriers can apply to any type of plant, and will be determined by many factors including the density (including how close together they are planted), maturity, maintenance, health and location (different requirements apply inside a boundary fence than inside or outside an internal barrier) of the vegetation.
There may be different compliance requirements for two seemingly identical pools.
These differences include when the pools were built, how the owner chooses to install the barrier, the materials used, the location and design of nearby structures, and the land on which the pools are located.
Pool safety self-assessments
As a responsible pool owner, you must regularly self-inspect your pool to make sure it's safe. You need to do this whether or not your pool is inspected through our Swimming Pool Safety Barrier Inspection Program.
See our Water Safety for Pools and Spas page for more information.
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