New swimming pool compliance requirements will be in effect from April 29, 2016.
New swimming pool compliance requirements will be in effect from April 29, 2016. Trevor Veale

Concern as deadline for pool rules approaches

DESPITE a second 12-month extension, the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) continues to hold concerns about whether property owners will be able to comply with new swimming pool compliance requirements by April 29, 2016.

"REINSW very strongly supports the legislation's intention to minimise the risks associated with swimming pools and spas, however we continue to hold significant concerns about whether there are sufficient resources in place to respond to market demand," REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin said.

"While we were disappointed that the compliance deadline had to be extended by a further 12 months earlier this year, it was a necessary move to ensure that property owners were not adversely affected."

The original deadline for compliance was April 29, 2014. Ahead of that deadline, REINSW voiced concerns that the number of qualified inspectors was inadequate to respond to market demand and that the industry needed more time to work with property owners to ensure all pools and spas were compliant by the deadline. Following intensive lobbying by REINSW to ensure the transition to the more stringent requirements were dealt with adequately, the government extended the original deadline by 12 months to April 29, 2015. Notwithstanding the extension, little had changed as the 2015 deadline loomed and a second extension was granted.

REINSW is still not satisfied that adequate resources have been made available to ensure compliance.

"The number of authorised accredited certifiers remains extremely low and is, in the opinion of REINSW, completely insufficient to service the needs of property owners across NSW," Mr McKibbin said.

"We want to see this legislation implemented successfully, but in order to do so it must be workable in day-to-day real estate practice."

Mr McKibbin said there appeared to be a lot of confusion over the new rules.

"We are receiving reports from our members that some of the advice they are receiving from certifiers is at odds with that being given to them by their local council. This results in a lot of needless back and forth and, in some cases, money wasted on alterations that do not in fact need to be carried out in order to ensure compliance," he said.

"We continue to work with NSW Fair Trading and the Office of Local Government to provide constructive feedback regarding practical issues relating to implementation of the legislation."

Given that the legislation has already been delayed twice, Mr McKibbin said he did not want to see it delayed yet again.

"The government has indicated to REINSW that they will not delay the legislation again, so it is imperative that agents start planning now to avoid delays ahead of April 29, 2016," Mr McKibbin said.

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