SUMMER is just around the corner and in Mackay, swimming pools, spas and wading pools both inflatable and portable are a great way to keep cool in summer. But only if they are safe.

Is your pool safe?

It is mandatory that all pools in Queensland, including spas and portable pools, comply with the pool safety standard.

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To ensure your pool is 100 per cent compliant:

  1. Contact Mackay Regional Council on 1300 622 529 to check for any existing building development approval permits.
  2. Complete a free self-assessment using the QBCC’s simple checklist or look up your pool on the QBCC’s pool register.
  3. Hire a Non-regulated Building Certifier to inspect and certify the pool safety barrier and the pool to ensure they comply.

In addition, to the above checks, here is a general pool safety checklist:

Pool safety compliance:

  • Check that all hinges, latches and locking mechanisms are functioning correctly.
  • Have your garden beds maintained around the pool area to ensure that they are not infringing on minimum heights.
  • Trim surrounding trees and climbable branches from within the non-climbable zone.
  • Have window latches and screens inspected for compliance.

Under the code:

A swimming pool is defined as an above or below ground structure principally used for swimming or bathing, and includes some models of portable pools and spas.

A spa, swimming or wading pool (inflatable/portable) is classified as a ‘regulated swimming pool’ if:

  • It can be filled with water to a depth of 300mm or more; or
  • It holds more than 2000 litres of water; or
  • It has an installed pool filter.

All pools in Queensland must be registered with the QBCC.

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Fences:

  • The minimum height for a pool barrier/fence is 1200mm from finished ground level to the top of the barrier.
  • The pool barrier must maintain a consistent minimum height of 1200mm all the way around the pool area.
  • The maximum gap allowable from finished ground level to the bottom of the barrier is 100mm.
  • The maximum allowable gap between vertical barrier rails is 100mm if the horizontal rails are at least 900mm apart.
  • Where the horizontal rails are less than 900mm apart, the maximum allowable gap between vertical rails is 10mm. The horizontals must have a 60 degree angled fillet attached, this eliminates any potential footholds.
  • Climbable objects must be kept at a distance of 900mm or greater from the outside of the pool barrier.
  • Climbable objects must be kept at a distance of 300mm or greater from the inside of the pool barrier.
  • In areas where it is not possible to have a 900mm non-climbable zone on the outside, the barrier height can be increased to 1800mm with a 900mm non-climbable zone created at the top on the inside of the pool barrier.

Pool barrier gates:

  • Pool barrier gates must open outwards, not toward the pool area.
  • Pool barrier gates must be self-closing and latching from all positions.
  • On the outside of the pool barrier gate, the bottom of any latch release mechanism should be 1500mm from finished ground level and 1400mm from the top of the highest lower horizontal rail.
  • Pool barrier gate hinges must be no less than 900mm apart.
  • If the gate hinges are less than 900mm apart, then the lower hinge must have a non-climbable safety cap affixed to prevent climbing.

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Doors and windows:

  • Ensure there is no direct access through a door from the house to the pool area.
  • Any windows that open directly onto the pool area must not open more than 100mm or be correctly fitted with security screens.

Signage:

  • A sign with current CPR techniques must be displayed. The sign must be attached to the pool barrier or displayed near the pool so that it is conspicuous and easily read from within the pool area.

For more information about pool safety and compliance see the Mackay Regional Council website and the QBCC website.