Pool safety is an important issue – not only for swimmers but also for buyers and sellers of real estate in South Australia.

This article explains the importance of having a valid swimming pool certificate of compliance when selling your home. When you are trying to sell a house with a swimming pool, lack of attention to detail can expose you to large fines, remediation costs and impact your settlement. Rest assured, the Eckermanns conveyancing team is always here to support you.


Understanding pool safety certification in South Australia

If you are selling a house with a swimming pool or spa on your property, you have an obligation to ensure it meets safety standards upon the sale of the property.

At the time of settlement, a swimming pool certificate of compliance could be all that stands between the vendor (the seller of the house) and a fine of up to $15,000.

South Australia has had regulations about pool fence compliance since January 1, 2014. These standards apply only to pools and spas (that use filters, re-use the same water for numerous sessions, are covered and can have heaters) bought or installed after January 1, 2014, or to any such pool or spa when a house is sold.

When a property sale includes a swimming pool, the following pieces of legislation are automatically applicable:

  • Development Act 1993 – Section 71AA
  • Development Regulations 2008 – Regulation 76D
  • Minister’s Specification – SA 76D
  • Building Code of Australia
  • Australian Standard (AS) 1926

What must vendors do before settlement?

Before or at property settlement, all pools of any age must comply with the latest standards relating to all of the following:

  • fences
  • barriers
  • water recirculation systems
  • secondary outlets from a swimming pool
  • warning notices

Failure to comply can land vendors in hot water, resulting in fines of up to $15,000. On top of that, failure to comply may give buyers the ability to delay settlement. It also creates exposure to costs incurred by sellers to rectify the issues.

Can you sell a house without a pool safety certificate?

Under South Australian law, vendors are obligated to ensure that current safety requirements are met. While vendors are not required by law to have a certificate of compliance, it is the best way to demonstrate compliance. Selling a house with a pool without a certificate can also put the settlement at risk.

What happens if the certificate is not a ‘proper’ certificate?

An unsound swimming pool certificate of compliance can put the settlement at risk.

This situation may arise when there is an inexperienced certifier signing off on a pool that did not meet requirements.

While there is no excuse for a certifier to erroneously pass an unsafe pool, it is the case that regulations around pool safety compliance are confusing. Eckermanns Conveyancers are available to help you navigate the requirements without the confusion.

How to protect your settlement with pool safety certification

Following meetings with Attorney General John Rau, the Real Estate Institute of South Australia was advised that only Private Certifiers who possess the appropriate qualifications, experience and professional indemnity insurance to perform safety certification should be trusted with this task.

Private Certifiers are accredited by the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors and must possess a minimum of 8 years’ experience before they can become registered.

Some certifiers will have a condition C against their accreditation, which means they are not eligible for this task.

We work closely with our clients and real estate agents to make sure this message is shared but in the meantime, you might like to use this government list to choose a certifier ahead of your property listing: Private Certifiers in South Australia.

Having a close relationship with your conveyancer can pay dividends. At Eckermanns, we have protocols in place to proactively make clients aware of these regulations ahead of time.

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