Pool inspection processes

Media Response 22 October 2019

Enquiry from the Southern Gazette 

Can I please get comment from the City about the media release below?

According to the stats below…there are 151 pools in the City of South Perth that were not inspected this year.

Why are there 151 overdue pool inspections? When will these pools be inspected? Who carries out the inspections?

With summer around the corner, does the City of South Perth see this as a priority?

21 October 2019 | Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety | Building and Energy division
Councils improve pool inspection progress

Local governments are continuing to take action to address the number of overdue inspections of private pool safety barriers but there is still room for improvement, the Building Commissioner has reported.

WA local governments are required to inspect the safety barriers of private pools in their districts at least every four years to ensure they are compliant and continue to be effective in restricting access by young children.

Building and Energy is monitoring local authorities’ progress with these checks after an Ombudsman Western Australia report found that 8,639 private swimming pools in the State were overdue for barrier inspections in mid-2015.

The Building Commissioner’s latest progress report shows that WA local governments inspected the safety barriers of more than 47,000 private properties during 2018-19. At 30 June 2019, there were 2,545 overdue inspections compared to 3,632 overdue at the same time last year.

The Progress report: Local government’s four yearly inspections of private swimming pool safety barriers 2018/19 also reveals that around two-thirds (67.5 per cent) of the local governments that provided data are now up to date with their pool inspections – an improvement when compared to about half (46 per cent) in 2015, as reported by the Ombudsman.

Building and Energy Acting Executive Director Saj Abdoolakhan said all private swimming pools, including spa pools, with water more than 30cm deep must have a safety barrier that complies with the law and restricts the access of young children.

“While there’s no substitute for close supervision, there is also no doubt that compliant safety barriers help prevent young children from drowning in swimming pools,” he said.  

“Non-compliant barriers are known to have contributed to the drowning deaths of young children, which is why regular inspections are so important. 

“The latest report shows a significant reduction in overdue inspections, but there is still plenty of room for improvement, especially for those local governments that have a significant number of overdue inspections.”

Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for young children. Royal Life Saving Australia reports that on average each year, 15 children under the age of five drown in private swimming pools. The number of non-fatal drownings is significantly higher and can also have long-term impacts on youngsters and their families.

“Owners and occupants of properties with pools must remain vigilant and ensure they comply with all safety measures, which includes allowing access to local government inspectors when required,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.

“If you have concerns about whether your barrier complies with the rules, contact your local government in the first instance.” 

The progress report is available at the Building and Energy website (via dmirs.wa.gov.au) along with useful resources including the Rules for pools and spas booklet, Rules for portable pools checklist and Thinking of installing a swimming pool or spa? guide.

Please attribute the following statement to City of South Perth CEO Geoff Glass.

Why are there 151 overdue pool inspections?

Because of the cycle of pool inspections, there were a higher number than usual to complete in 2018-19.

The City was only one month behind with inspections, and will have them completed this calendar year.

The City plans to reformat its scheduling to attempt to inspect on a three-year cycle. This will allow additional time to complete inspections before they’re due on the four-yearly cycle and ensure we undertake the necessary inspection regime on time. 

When will these pools be inspected? 

The City has either already inspected these pools or is currently in the process of arranging for that to occur - noting that residents do need to provide access or permission to access their property for the inspections to occur.

The City works with Royal Lifesaving Society WA to follow up non-responsive and non-compliant owners.

Who carries out the inspections? 

The City has contracted Royal Lifesaving Society WA to undertake the inspections on behalf of the City.

Royal Lifesaving Society WA completes the basic inspection process and sends the letter requesting that residents book an inspection appointment.

With summer around the corner, does the City of South Perth see this as a priority?

Yes, the City sees pool inspections as a priority. 

Inspections for the current year (2019-20) are underway.

The City encourages owners and occupiers to assist with efficient inspections by being proactive with their pool barrier maintenance and promptly making an appointment with Royal Lifesaving Society WA when they receive their letter.

Media contact

For media enquiries, please contact the City’s Communications Officer.