Queensland Law Society

Pool safety reforms

The Building and Other Legislation Amendment Bill (No.2) was passed on 15 September 2010. The amendments are stage 2 of the pool safety reforms.

The Bill, other than parts 3, 7 and 8, will commence on a day to be fixed by proclamation.

The Minister moved several amendments be passed in consideration in detail. These amendments include:

  • requiring an owner to apply to local government for exemptions from compliance with pool safety standards (“exemption applications”);
  • recognising a right of appeal to a Building and Development Dispute Resolution Committee for exemption applications;
  • requiring an owner or occupier, unless there is good excuse, to ensure a pool gate or door is securely closed when not in use otherwise penalties will apply; and
  • requiring an owner to inform prospective purchasers, before any contract of sale is entered into, if there is no pool safety certificate in effect for a relevant regulated pool, and to also inform the purchaser of their potential obligations under the Act if the premises are sold and there is no pool safety certificate in effect.

Practitioners should be aware that these changes will impact upon conveyances that involve the sale of residential land with swimming pools. Namely, sellers will be required to produce a pool safety certificate or notice that no pool safety certificate is in effect. If no pool safety certificate is in effect at settlement, the onus is placed on the purchaser to ensure there is a pool safety certificate in effect within 90 days of settlement.

Queensland Law Society was consulted by the Government on this issue and was successful in ensuring that parties to the conveyance have a flexible 90-day period post-settlement to ensure pool safety compliance.

The explanatory memorandum of the amendments can be accessed at legislation.qld.gov.au.

Queensland Law Society will continue to update its members on this important legislation.