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.

Currently, registered Building Surveyors and Building Inspectors are also authorised to carry out the functions of a swimming pool and spa inspector.

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

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.

Approved course

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

The VBA will only recognise Certificate of Completions for this course from Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) that we endorse:

Endorsed RTOs

IRLearning
RTO Code: 6235
IRLearning was formerly known as ‘SPASA Training’ and is endorsed by SPASA Australia
www.irlearning.com
Building Inspector (Pool Safety) course
1800 802 482

Master in Building Training (MIBT)
RTO Code: 40666
MIBT is the preferred RTO partner for SPASA Victoria
www.mibt.edu.au
Building Inspector (Pool Safety) course
1300 642 457

Short Courses Australia
RTO Code: 41261
www.shortcoursesau.edu.au
Building Inspector (Pool Safety) course
1300 747 430

About this course

This course covers the knowledge and skills required to conduct pool barrier inspections, including but not limited to:

  • The regulatory framework
  • Preparing for and conducting inspections of pool safety barriers (and producing sufficient and compliant records of the inspection)
  • Issuing Pool and Spa Barrier compliance and non-compliance certificates and written notices
  • Occupational health and safety (OHS) requirements and considerations in relation to carrying out pool safety compliance inspections
  • Duties and obligations of Building Inspectors (Pool Safety) including ethical considerations
  • ‘Soft skills’ including: explaining requirements to pool owners, dispute resolution skills and dealing with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) persons.

Duration

This recommended timeframe for this course is 80 hours.

This includes:

  • Class activity
  • Private study
  • Assessment

An endorsed RTO may offer a shortened version of the course to experienced persons.  The endorsed RTO can provide you with advice as to whether you are eligible to undertake a shortened version of the course.

Assessment

This course includes both theoretical assessment and practical assessments - including the requirement to satisfactorily conduct 15 pool barrier inspections.

Upon completion

Successful completion of this course does not constitute registration.

Persons who successfully complete this course will need to undertake additional inspections on live sites to meet registration requirements before they are eligible to submit a registration application.

As part of the registration process, you will submit:

  1. An application form
  2. A portfolio of evidence
  3. At least one technical referee report

For more information on registration and the submission requirements, please refer to registration application form which is located on this page: Building Inspector.

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).

You are required to hold at least six months experience in pool inspection work.

You must demonstrate experience that involves the required breadth, responsibility and application of relevant knowledge to undertake pool barrier inspection work.

Typically, this would include evidence of having participated in at least 25 home pool and/or spa barrier safety compliance inspections, under the supervision of a person registered to undertake pool barrier inspection work, in the last 7 years.

The inspections must be of sufficient range and as a guideline include at least:

  • Inspection of a range of pools and spas (including relocatable pools and spas)
  • Five or more inspections against each applicable Australian Standard
  • A range of construction materials (including: glass, metal, masonry, etc.)
  • A range of barrier types (including barriers that include a property boundary fence and or a building as part of the barrier)
  • A range of landscaping within the climbable zones (such as rocks, garden beds, shrubs and trees, BBQs and furniture, etc.)
  • A range of latches, latching mechanisms and hinges
  • Other barrier compliance elements (such as barrier height, gap under barrier, etc.)
  • Barriers that are found to be compliant and those that are not

Experience gained more than 7 years ago and experience in the inspection of commercial swimming pools barriers may also assist in demonstrating the breadth of your experience.