Swimming Pools & Spas

Drowning of young children is preventable, yet remains one of the leading causes of accidental death for young children, with swimming pools generally being the main water body involved.

While supervision within arm’s reach is the most effective way to prevent these drowning incidents, mandatory pool safety barriers, local government inspections and public education are extremely important in the overall strategy to prevent or reduce these tragedies.

Swimming Pool Inspections

Under the Building Act 2011 and associated Building Regulations 2012, pool inspections are required once every four years.

In 2019 Council opted to change the fee structure from a charge every four years to an annual ongoing ‘per annum’ inspection amount to cover the cost of the anticipated inspection.

Subsequently in 2020 a review of the fee structure determined that pool inspections were heavily subsidised by Council, and a gradual increase would be introduced commencing 2021/22 onwards.

A bit of background…

In 2016, the WA Ombudsman investigation into ways to prevent or reduce deaths of children by drowning, resulting in 25 recommendations for change.

In response, the State Government undertook an extensive review of WA’s regulatory requirements for swimming pools and their associated safety barriers and in 2020 released its Swimming Pool & Safety Barrier Control Decision Paper outlining 16 improvements to the WA framework for swimming pools, including changes to Building Regulations.

The changes included an increase of annual fees charged to pool owners for swimming pool barrier inspections by local governments, recognising that previous charges were not adequately covering the costs of providing the service.

A legislated maximum annual fee is currently set at $58.45 with local governments provided discretion to set their own fees up to that limit. 

The results of the changes and improvements to regulatory requirements and Building Regulations can be seen in the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2020, which showed there were zero toddler drowning deaths in Western Australia in 2019/2020.

The increase was reflective of related decisions of the review to impose additional administration, record-keeping and reporting requirements on local governments as part of its four-yearly inspection program plus an identified need to cover the cost of re-inspections in the event of non-compliance.

In the Shire of Dardanup there approximately 900 registered pools and the current annual pool inspection fee is $36.00.

Pool inspections are carried out every four years as per legislative requirements, equating to a total inspection fee of $144.00.

This represents a gradual increase over the past three years, rather than imposing a single larger increase. Paying a yearly fee can also assist ratepayers to review exactly what services Council is providing and charging for on their Rates Notice. Applying the fee annually provides transparency on the fee type structure and allows for the removal of the fee if and when a pool is removed during that billing year.

Please notify the Shire of Dardanup if you no longer have a swimming pool so we can verify, update our records and ensure you are no longer charged this fee.

The following links provide additional information around Pools and Spas.

Booklet – Rules for Pools and Spas

What type of fence do I need?

How high should it be?

What else do I need to consider?

Brochure – Swimming Pools Skimmer Boxes

Is my skimmer box safe?

How do I ensure a safe skimmer box?

Building Code of Australia 2014 Swimming Pool & Spa Covers and Blankets

Does my pool or spa need a cover?