The Importance Of A Pre-Purchase Pool Inspection
Don't risk getting stuck with serious pool problems.
If you're looking at buying a home with a swimming pool, it's a good idea to get a pre-purchase pool inspection alongside your building and pest inspection.
Legal obligations when buying a home with a pool
In Queensland, buying or selling a home with a pool comes with certain legal requirements. These are overseen by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).
The QBCC’s official website outlines the conditions for buying or selling a home with a pool. The QBCC operates a state-wide pool safety register. Once you are registered, you will be required to ensure that your pool is compliant with all the relevant safety standards.
If your pool is compliant, you will be given a pool safety certificate, also called Form 28.
For the seller
You can access your pool safety certificate through the pool register website. If you have a pool safety certificate, you must provide it to the buyer.
Given that the seller is the pool owner up until the sale is finalised, you (as the seller) are responsible to ensure the pool meets all relevant safety standards even after you have provided Form 28.
If you fail to maintain the pool you could be penalised.
You can sell your home without a pool safety certificate. However, if you are selling your home without a pool safety certificate, you must give the buyer a Form 36.
Form 36 is a notice of no pool safety certificate.
The seller must provide the buyer with this Form 36 prior to entering a contract of sale and must also send a copy to the QBCC prior to settlement of the property.
Even if you give a Form 36, the local government can still penalise you for your noncompliance with safety regulations.
Thus, you should keep your pool compliant anyway.
For the buyer
If you are the buyer, you have certain legal requirements also when buying a home with a pool.
If the seller provides you with a Form 36, you must attain a pool safety certificate within 90 days of the settlement.
Pool Safety Compliance Certificate
Pool safety compliance is based on several factors, such as asscessiblity and how accessible the pool is to children.
To get a pool safety certificate. You must get a pool inspection done by a qualified professional. This pool inspector will examine several elements including:
Obviously, your pool must be fenced. The fence will be inspected to ensure it is not easily climbable, nor would it be easy to crawl under it or through gaps in the rails.
For example, there must be a gap of at least 900mm between any horizontal railings of the pool area fence. Gaps in the vertical railings cannot exceed 100mm.
Likewise, climbable objects outside the fenced-off pool area must be kept 900mm away from the fence perimeter and must be less than 1800mm high.
Climbable objects inside the pool area should be kept 300mm away from the fence perimeter.
All pool fences should have at least one gate. This gate must open inwards and must be self-closing and self-latching from all positions.
The latch to open the gate must be a minimum of 1500mm above the ground, to prevent easy access. Alternately it must be 1400mmm above the highest horizontal bar, so no small child can climb on the bar to get to it.
If these requirements cannot be met, then it must be necessary to reach over the fence at a height of 1200mm off the ground to open it.
The owner has the option of positioning the bar a minimum of 1000m above the highest horizontal bar of the fence and 150mm below the top of the gate. This would also be acceptable to an inspector.
If these standards cannot be met, a 450mm radius shield can be placed around the latch with no openings larger than 10mm, to ensure safety.
Gates with hinges thicker than 100mm must be kept 900mm or more apart. If this cannot be done, the lower hinge must be fitted with a non-climbable safety cap to children from accessing the pool area unsupervised.
Doors and windows
As per the guidelines, no door should open out directly into the pool area. All people entering the pool area should have to go through the gate.
Any window that opens into the pool area should not open wider than 100mm, or it must have a security screen installed.
Your pool area must have a clearly visible sign with instructions on how to perform CPR.
If all these areas are up to standard, you will receive a Pool Safety Certificate.
Get a pre-purchase swimming pool inspection
Getting a pre-purchase swimming pool inspection is important because it will save you from dealing with surprises and issues in the future.
By getting an inspection, you can ensure compliance with QBCC regulations.
A pre-purchase pool inspection is a visual inspection of the pool surface, pool coping (the edging that surrounds the pool), the equipment and water balance.
Pool surfaces can have a range of different finishes that wear down at different rates. Thus, they might need maintenance at different times.
Once your swimming pool inspection is completed, you will receive a report.
What's checked during a pre-purchase pool inspection?
Your pool inspector will visually examine the interior of your pool for cracks, stains, blackspots, and osmosis.
Pool coping refers to the material used for the edging that surrounds your pool.
This area will be checked for cracking and degrading.
These tiles are positioned 200 – 300mm below the coping.
They will be checked to ensure that there are no cracked or missing tiles, as well as calcium deposits.
Likewise, your pool inspector will examine equipment such as the main drain, pump, filter, chlorinator, lights and more to determine if they are all functioning.
The gate will be inspected to ensure it is self-closing and self-latching, in accordance with the QBCC guidelines.
They will also make sure a CPR sign is properly installed and up to date.
The CPR sign must be displayed near the pool.
It must also be at least 300 x 300mm in size and be made of durable, weatherproof material.
The CPR sign must also include a statement explaining what steps to follow in an emergency. Such steps include calling Triple Zero, staying with an injured person and providing first aid.
Signs must also have relevant techniques published in ANZCOR Guideline 8 – Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, which is published by the Australian Resuscitation Council.
The water balance level
Water balance refers to the chemical composition of your pool. If your water balance is off, it will damage your pool.
Your inspector will examine the levels of pH, Total Alkalinity, and Calcium Hardness to determine if they are at acceptable levels.
Book your pre-purchase swimming pool inspection today
By getting both inspections simultaneously, you will get a comprehensive look at the potential faults in your property and your pool.
If there are any issues, you can address these before purchasing the property or can choose to back out of buying it if the issues cannot be resolved.