As summer approaches, the City of Boroondara is urging pool and spa owners to take their responsibilities seriously when it comes to water safety.

Mayor of Boroondara Cr Jane Addis wants to remind all pool and spa owners about their obligations and asks the community to be alert to the dangers.

“The majority of drowning deaths occur in backyard swimming pools in Australia and we want the community to understand their role when it comes to water safety.

“Barriers for swimming pools and spas require regular attention to ensure the barrier is safe and compliant. Over time, self-closing devices and latches to gates become faulty and Council is encouraging pool owners to check and maintain their safety barriers all year round, even if there are no young children living at the property,” said Cr Addis.

Owners should be aware that Council carries out random inspections of pools and spas throughout the year and also investigates complaints and safety concerns raised by the public in relation to pools on private properties. Where pools do not comply, Council must take enforcement action under the Building Act. Failure to comply with the regulations and any enforcement action taken by Council may result in prosecution and costly penalties.

“Vigilance is the key. There is no substitute for active adult supervision in keeping children safe around water.”

For toddlers, an adult should be within arm’s reach at all times.

It is an owner’s legal responsibility to maintain safety barriers. Before commencing any pool or spa construction or altering a safety barrier, an owner must obtain a building permit issued by a registered building surveyor.

“Safety barriers are a critical part of keeping children safe in backyard pools; however, a large number of drowning deaths are the result of faulty or non-compliant barriers.”

 What to check:

  • Pool and spa gates must be self-closing from any openable position and self-latching.
  • Safety barriers must be rigid and secure.
  • Ensure fences forming part of the safety barrier do not contain climbable objects such as trees, pot plants, garden furniture, BBQs and toys within 1.2m of the safety barrier.
  • Any body of water with a depth of 30cm or more must be protected by a compliant safety barrier, including inflatable pools.

Council offers a safety barrier inspection service to owners and real-estate agents for a fee to ensure owners are complying with the Building Regulations 2018 and their requirements.

To request an inspection, visit or contact Boroondara Building Services on 9278 4999.

Contact us

For more information, contact Neva Law via email [email protected] or call 0481 912 411.