Further red tape reduction for pool fencing

7th of November 2014

Further red tape reduction for pool fencing

The Queensland Government's Department of Housing and Public Works has recently announced a proposal to further reduce red tape to bring pool fencing legislation associated with Class 2, 3 and 4 buildings in line with the requirements for pool fencing associated with Class 1a buildings.

In July 2012, the Building Regulation 2006 was amended to permit certain owners of houses and townhouses (class 1a buildings) with existing, non-shared pools to construct, repair, replace or alter the pool fence without making a building development application, provided they engage a Pool Safety Inspector (PSI) before work starts and ensure a PSI inspects the work within three months.

It is proposed to expand the Regulation amendments to include barriers for existing pools associated with classes 2, 3 and 4 buildings, for example residential unit complexes, motels or hotels.

It is proposed to restrict the work to barriers that serve no structural function other than as a pool barrier. For example, if a fence's only function, apart from a barrier restricting access to the pool, is to create a dividing fence between two lots, then work on this fence would be self-assessable.

However, work on a balustrade, where there are additional considerations such as the impact of wind and other forces, would be excluded (and require a building development application). This recognises that PSIs receive training in assessing compliance with the pool safety standard and only nominal training in other aspects of the building codes.

Subject to the 'structural function' restriction, it is proposed to permit this work to be done without a building development application, provided (similar with the requirements for class 1a building owners):

  • a PSI is engaged before work starts;
  • if the pool is noncompliant before work starts, a nonconformity notice is obtained before work is started, stating what needs to be done to make the fence comply; and
  • the work is inspected by a PSI within three months of the original engagement.

A further announcement will be made by the Department when these amendments are due to commence.