Swimming Pools, Spas and Fences

Swimming pools and spas are a part of the West Australian lifestyle but the ownership of a pool or spa carries responsibilities. The following is a guide to swimming pools in Western Australia.

What is a swimming pool?

A swimming pool is any structure used for swimming, paddling, wading or the like, and has the capacity to hold 300mm or more of water. This includes above/below ground pools, inflatable/portable pools, above/below ground spa’s and bathing/wading pools. Swimming pools and spas that contain more than 300mm of water are required to be isolated with a compliant pool security barrier.

When is a Building Permit required?

  • All swimming pools, spas and pool security barriers require building permits.
  • If the builder for a pool or spa is not going to install the required pool barrier, a separate building permit application will be required for the pool barrier.
  • Alteration of pool barriers, including windows, doors and gates that restrict access to a swimming pool or spa requires a building permit.

Handy tip:  Swimming Pool application fees are generally only a few hundred dollars, some pool companies are passing on extra costs as "council fees" to inflate their bottom lines, often in the order of thousands of dollars.

What is the role of your Local Government?

The local government is responsible for granting building permits for swimming and spa pools and their associated pool security barriers. Local governments are required to keep a register of all of the pools in their jurisdictions and are required to inspect pool barriers a minimum of once every four years.

What are the owners and occupiers responsibilities? It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that a pool security barrier is compliant at all times. This responsibility also extends to occupants of land where are a pool is situated. Owners must allow for a minimum of 1 pool barrier inspection every 4 years by a local government authorised person.

What documents do I need for my Building Application?

  • Completed application form, either a BA1 or BA2 with all owners noted and builder’s and applicant’s sections completed and signed
  • Applicable fees (please see fee schedule)
  • Certificate of Design Compliance (if lodging a Certified Building Permit Application (BA1))
  • Site plan at a minimum scale of 1:200 showing:
    • Setbacks from the lot boundaries and all other buildings on the property.
    • Dimensions of the proposed structure
    • Location of barrier fence
  • Specifications for proposed swimming pool/spa and/or barrier.
  • Engineering details signed by a structural engineer showing:
    • Endorsed construction details of the pool/spa
    • For second-hand pools/spa’s, endorsed structural integrity report for the proposed pool/spa.
    • Floodplain advice from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will indicate high water table probability for your area.  This is an important consideration (most pool companies don’t check this) and can result in catastrophic pool failure. See floodplain map
    • Hydrostatic valves will be required for all pools installed in flood-prone areas.

Please note any easements on your property cannot be adversely affected by the installation of the pool. In rare cases, a swimming pool may not possible on your lot.

Will any other approvals be required?

In some instances, planning approval may also be required. 

For further clarification, call the Shire’s Planning Services team on (08) 9526 1111.

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