As we dive into another scorching summer, swimming pools will be a welcome source of relief, however complacency can cost lives as the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) has warned.
The Queensland Government body in charge of building standards has issued a timely warning to property owners, property managers, landlords and tenants about their responsibilities in regards to pool safety barriers. QBCC Commissioner, Brett Bassett, stated in a media release that it was a sad fact that every summer is brought with tragic news for some families.
In 2019-2020, Queensland Health reported a total of 83 ‘immersion incidents’ involving young children in private swimming pools around the state. These are incidents where a child has required medical attention because of immersion in a pool. The Queensland Coroners Court recently released its findings into a 2016 tragedy where two young children drowned in a residential swimming pool which subsequently failed a building inspection in 12 areas.
Mr Bassett urged property owners to use the QBCC website’s Compliance Checklist, which quickly and easily checks if a pool meets the required safety standards.
“If you are unsure about any aspects of compliance, contact a licensed pool safety inspector or building certifier for specific advice about your property,” Mr Bassett said.
“Pool barrier compliance rests with the pool owner but everyone has a personal responsibility when it comes to pool safety".
Owners of non-compliant pools could receive an on-the-spot fine of $934.15 or a court-imposed penalty of up to $22,019.25.
Property owners and tenants have also been reminded that temporary pools, such as those sold at hardware and department stores, must also comply with pool safety barrier laws. Pool safety laws apply to pools and spas which can be filled with water to a depth of 300mm.
Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) Chief Executive Officer, Jennifer Smith, has reminded Queenslanders of the need to play it safe in and around the pool this summer. “A property rented with a swimming pool brings with it many responsibilities, so it’s important that property owners, property managers and tenants understand their obligations and work together to ensure their pool and surrounding areas are safe, compliant and maintained,” Ms Smith said.
“For tenants, setting up a small temporary pool on the property may be tempting as the days warm up, but pool safety, compliance and approvals – including from the property owner – must always remain top of mind".