What is building inspection (pool safety) work?

Information for practitioners

A person registered in the class of Building Inspector (Pool safety) is responsible for carrying out all the functions of a swimming pool and spa inspector under the Building Act 1993 and Part 9A of the Building Regulations 2018, including:

  • undertaking inspections of swimming pool and spa barriers to determine compliance with the applicable barrier standard
  • issuing certificates of pool and spa barrier compliance
  • issuing certificates of pool and spa barrier non-compliance
  • lodging certificates of pool and spa barrier non-compliance with the relevant council.

A person registered in this class is responsible for undertaking the following activities in a competent manner to a professional standard on pool barriers (excluding newly constructed pool barriers).

Inspections

Schedule the inspection

  • Seek information from the owner or council register regarding the relevant applicable barrier standard.
  • Identify documents that must be reviewed prior to the inspection and identify how these are to be sourced. These documents include council documents, previous inspection documentation and relevant version of the standard.
  • Read and interpret plans and drawings (including interpreting performance solutions) if required.
  • Identify whether a conflict of interest exists, and the inspection cannot proceed.
  • Ensure required insurance coverage is still in place.

Carry out an inspection of a pool or spa barrier

  • Present VBA registration card to the land owner and/or occupant prior to inspection.
  • Inspect pool and/or spa barrier for compliance, against the applicable barrier standard. The inspection must determine compliance or non-compliance of the barrier against the requirements of the applicable barrier standard, which must include (but is not limited to):
    • height of barrier
    • height of gaps
    • hinges, gates and latch mechanism
    • non-climbable zones
    • impact load and load rating
    • construction material and type
    • structures contained within the barrier
    • minimum height of windows from ground if a building forms part of the barrier
    • doors.
  • Carry out inspection in a professional manner and adhere to occupational health and safety guidelines in the course of the inspection.
  • Use suitable tools in the course of the inspection, such as measuring tools, checklists, smart phone/tablet, tools required for tests (examples include strength tests, cylinder tests, etc.) and other applicable tools.
  • Where the barrier is determined to be non-compliant, determine whether the barrier could be made compliant on the day of inspection by brief work that can be done on the spot, such as:
    • moving items out of the climbable zone (such as furniture, pot plants, etc.)
    • minor fixes able to be made to the barrier on the day of the inspection.
  • Produce a suitable and sufficient record of the inspection (such as checklists, photos, videos, etc.) to ensure that the inspection is adequately documented and keep such records for a period up to 10 years.

Conduct a re-inspection

If a re-inspection is required:

  • Review all inspection documentation.
  • Re-inspect the barrier to determine if the non-compliance identified in the original inspection has been addressed.
  • Determine whether the barrier:
    • has been made compliant, or
    • remains non-compliant but progress has been made to make the barrier compliant. If so, the inspector may provide a further period (up to 7 days) prior to further re-inspection or issue a certificate of barrier non-compliance.
    • remains non-compliant and progress has not been made to make the barrier compliant. If so, a certificate of barrier non-compliance must be issued.
  • Produce a suitable and sufficient record of the inspection (such as checklists, photos, videos, etc.) to ensure that the inspection is adequately documented and keep such records for a period up to 10 years.

Issue pool and spa barrier compliance and non-compliance certificates and written notices

Determination of compliance

Where the barrier is determined to be compliant:

  • Issue the Certificate of Barrier Compliance using the correct form (Form 23) and, as soon as practicable, give it to the land owner.
  • Explain to the land owner their obligations regarding lodgement of the compliance certificate.
  • Explain to the land owner that they will be required to have their barrier inspected in approximately four years, and that the council will confirm with them the date by which the next certificate must be lodged.
  • Provide supporting documentation for determination of compliance upon request by council or the VBA.

Determination of non-compliance

Where the barrier is deemed to be non-complaint and cannot be made compliant on the day of inspection, in line with Part 9A the Building Regulations 2018 identify whether:

  1. Circumstances requiring the immediate issue of a Certificate of Barrier Non-Compliance are present and if so:
    1. issue the Certificate of Barrier Non-Compliance using the correct form (Form 24) and, as soon as practicable, lodge it with the relevant council
    2. give a copy to the owner.
  2. If immediate issue of Certificate of Barrier Non-Compliance is not required, give notice in writing to owner as soon as practicable stating:
    1. the barrier must be made compliant
    2. a list of the non-compliant matters
    3. the date, not more than 60 days later, by which the owner has to bring about compliance
    4. the date and time that a re-inspection will be undertaken.

In addition:

  • Explain to the land owner why the barrier is not compliant and explain the next steps to them (including any requirements from the relevant council) and relevant timeframes for rectification.
  • Demonstrate conflict resolution skills if the landowner disagrees with the non-compliance.
  • Respond to complaints about the outcomes of the inspection in a professional manner.
  • Provide supporting documentation for determination of non-compliance in the event of a dispute and upon request by the landowner or council.

Work not covered under this class

  • Certification of a newly constructed pool barrier.
  • Slip, trip and fire hazards associated with the pool or other structures with the house, land or backyard.
  • Chemical balance of the water.
  • Chemical storage.
  • Inspection of swimming pool and spa mechanical components such as pool filters, pumps, jets etc.
  • Inspection of other structures not part of the pool and/or spa barrier, including pools, spas, veranda, patio or house, etc.
  • Other non-compliance that does not relate to the swimming pool or spa barrier that they were engaged to inspect.

General

  • Duties and obligations of the inspector.
  • The potential consequences of certifying as compliant a pool or spa barrier that is later involved in a drowning.
  • What constitutes a conflict of interest in relation to swimming pool inspections.
  • Read and interpret plans.
  • The risks associated with non-compliant barriers, including where no barrier is present.
  • Identify and source council requirements and processes relevant to lodging certificates of non-compliance (including accessing the relevant council register of pools and spas) for each pool you inspect.
  • Direct consumers to information posted on the VBA website and their local council about pool and spa barrier compliance.
  • The role of key stakeholders in relation to pool barrier inspection, including the VBA, councils, Municipal Building Surveyors, Building Surveyors, Building Inspectors, Building Inspectors (Pool safety).
  • Dealing with Cultural and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) persons, including how to source and book an interpreter if required.

Knowledge of relevant regulatory requirements and technical standards

  • Pools and spas that are required to be registered and have their barriers inspected and certified under the requirements under the Building Act 1993 and Building Regulations 2018.
  • Identify and interpret the relevant Australian standards to apply against the applicable barrier standard.
  • Regulatory framework: Building Act 1993, Building Regulations 2018, National Construction Code, Australian Standards.
  • Identify and select the relevant forms and processes as stipulated by the Victorian regulations and as required by relevant councils.
  • The difference between Deemed to Satisfy and Performance Solution barrier designs, as defined by the National Construction Code (NCC).
  • Advise owners whether building permit will be required for undertaking the necessary rectification work on their barrier.
  • Structures inside the barrier that are considered compliant and those considered not compliant.
  • Occupational health and safety requirements in relation to carrying out swimming pool inspections.
  • Detailed knowledge of relevant matters including:
    • the requirements around owners lodging certificates of barrier compliance
    • the rectification timeframes for a landowner to make a barrier compliant
    • the potential processes that council may follow once they receive a certificate of barrier non-compliance
    • requirements for immediate issue of a pool and spa barrier non-compliance certificate
    • enforcement orders.
Before 8 April 1991 Part 9A, Division 2 of the Building Regulations 2018
8 April 1991 to 31 October 1994 AS1926.1-1986 Amendment 1
1 November 1994 to 31 July 1997 AS1926.1-1993
1 August 1997 to 30 June 2000
  1. The Deemed to satisfy requirement of the BCA Volume 1 or 2 including AS1926.1-1993; or
  2. Alternative Solution, applied at the time of approval or date of construction, BCA Volume One or Two as issued, published or remade from time to time; or
  3. Combination of 1 and 2.
1 July 2000 to 30 April 2010
  1. The Deemed to satisfy requirement of the BCA Volume 1 or 2 including AS1926.1-1993 Amendment 1; or
  2. Performance Requirements, if an Alternative Solution, applied at the time of approval or date of construction, BCA Volume One or Two as issued, published or remade from time to time; or
  3. Combination of 1 and 2.
1 May 2010 to 30 April 2013
  1. The Deemed to satisfy requirement of the BCA Volume 1 or 2 including AS1926.1-2007 Amendment 1; or
  2. Alternative Solution, applied at the time of approval or date of construction, BCA Volume One or Two as issued, published or remade from time to time; or
  3. Combination of 1 and 2.
After 1 May 2013
  1. AS1926.1-2012; or
  2. Alternative/ Performance Solution applied at the time of approval or date of construction, BCA Volume One or Two as issued, published or remade from time to time; or
  3. Combination of 1 and 2.

The prescribed qualifications for registration in the class of building inspector (pool safety) are:

  • the successful completion of a VBA-approved course in swimming pool and spa barrier inspection from a Registered Training Organisation, and
  • at least 6 months of practical experience

Course

The prescribed course for this class of registration is: Course in Swimming Pool and Spa Barrier Inspection.

The VBA will only recognise Certificate of Completions delivered and assessed by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) that we endorse.

We will be commencing the process to endorse RTOs shortly. We will publish the list of  endorsed RTOs on our website from June 2020.

Other relevant courses for this class are:

  • Bachelor of Building Surveying from Holmesglen Institute
  • Bachelor of Building Surveying from Victoria University
  • Advanced Diploma of Building Surveying (CPC60115).

Experience

You must demonstrate that you hold the required knowledge to undertake pool barrier inspection work.

You are required to hold at least six months experience in pool inspection work. Typically, this would include:

  • inspection of a range of pools and spas (including relocatable pools and spas)
  • inspection of a range of barrier types (e.g. glass, metal, mesh, timber, masonry, building forms part of the barrier, property boundary fence, etc.)
  • Having assisted in inspecting all barrier compliance elements (e.g. height of barrier, gap under barrier, non-climbable zone, etc.)

Information for training providers

A new course in Swimming Pools and Spa Barrier Inspections is currently being developed. This course will be delivered by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) endorsed by the VBA.

There are five stages to the development of this course:

  • Stage 1: Legislation released
  • Stage 2: Course specification development
  • Stage 3: Industry consultation
  • Stage 4: Course specification and endorsement process finalised
  • Stage 5: Endorsement of RTOs

5 development stages, as outlined above

Current stage

Stage 4: Course specification and endorsement process finalised

On Wednesday 20 May 2020, the VBA will hold an Information Session for RTOs who wish to become endorsed to deliver this course. This event will be run via webinar.

An information pack will be sent to RTOs who register prior to the event. The information pack will include the following documents:

  • Course specification document
  • Course companion and implementation guide
  • Guide to becoming an endorsed RTO
  • Request to become an endorsed RTO submission form

RTOs may determine the best staff to attend this event.

Register for this event

Next stage

RTOs wishing to become endorsed to deliver this course can forward their submissions.

We will publish the list of endorsed RTOs on this website from June.

Next update

We intend to publish the course specifications and announce the information sessions in May.

Frequently asked questions

The VBA will publish this information closer to the endorsement stage.

The VBA will publish requirements that RTOs seeking endorsement will need to meet.

Yes – we will publish the date once it is determined.

Once we finalised this process, we publish the process.