Building a New Pool

There are three general types of development. These are:

The type of development that may be carried out is dependant on the constraints of the land as well as other matters such as the size, complexity and use of the development.

Exempt Development

Exempt Development is small scale development that does NOT require approval provided it meets specific criteria and construction standards.

Exempt Development is now regulated in NSW under a State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008. This document is commonly referred to as the Codes SEPP.

The Codes SEPP may be accessed on line at the NSW Government Legislation website at the following link State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes).

Exempt Development can NOT be carried out on environmentally sensitive land.

There are currently 57 different categories of Exempt Development listed in the Codes SEPP including “Portable swimming pools and spas and child-resistant barriers”

The construction or installation of a portable swimming pool or spa is Exempt Development if it is not constructed or installed on or in a heritage item or a draft heritage item or on land in a foreshore area and:

  • it is for domestic purposes only, and
  • it is located in the rear yard, and
  • it is located at least 1m from each lot boundary, and
  • it does not exceed 2,000 L in capacity, and
  • it does not require structural work for installation, and
  • it does not impact on the structural stability of any building

A child-resistant barrier must be provided around the swimming pool if it capable of being filled with water to a depth of 300mm or more.

The construction or installation of a child-resistant barrier (pool fence) that is required under the Swimming Pools Act 1992 is Exempt Development if it is not constructed or installed on or in a heritage item or a draft heritage item or on land in a foreshore area and it is constructed or installed in accordance with the requirements of the Swimming Pools Act 1992.

Orders and penalty infringement notices may be issued to the owners of the land where development that is carried out as Exempt Development does not meet the specified criteria and construction requirements.

Complying Development

Complying Development is generally larger scale development than Exempt Development and requires approval by means of the issue of a Complying Development Certificate. A Complying Development Certificate may be issued by Council or an Accredited Private Certifier.

Complying Development can only be carried out on land that meets specific land constraints and construction must also comply with pre-determined development standards.

Complying Development requires the appointment of a Principal Certifying Authority (i.e. Council or an Accredited Private Certifier) to carry inspections before commencement, during construction and on completion of the work. An Occupation Certificate must be issued by the Principal Certifying Authority prior to use of the development.

An application can be lodged with Council or an Accredited Private Certifier to have a Complying Development Certificate issued in accordance with the requirements of the Codes SEPP - State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008. The codes SEPP contains all of the land constraints that exclude complying development from certain areas and the constructions requirements that must be met for a development to be approved by this method.

The Codes SEPP may be accessed online at the NSW Government Legislation website at the following link State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes).

An application for a Complying Development Certificate for a swimming pool should include all of the information necessary for a full assessment of the development to be carried out. To access a checklist of the information required, click the following link.

Development Application

Development that does not meet the specific criteria for either Exempt Development or Complying Development can only be approved by lodging a Development Application. This is a merit based assessment process where the development is assessed on its merits in accordance with the requirements of the Environment Planning & Assessment Act and Regulations and Council’s Combined Development Control Plan.

Depending on the details of the proposed development, notification by way of letters to adjoining owners and occupiers, site signage and an advertisement in the local newspaper may be required.

A Development Application for a swimming pool should include all of the information necessary for a full assessment of the development to be carried out. Click the link above to access the Swimming Pool Application Checklist

After development consent has been obtained by Council’s approval of the Development Application, a Construction Certificate must be obtained and a Principal Certifying Authority engaged to carry out the mandatory inspections during the construction stage. If Council is to be appointed as the Principal Certifying Authority, the appointment of the Principal Certifying Authority and Application for a Construction Certificate may be done at the time of lodgement of, and on the same form as, the Development Application.

Alternatively an Accredited Private Certifier may be appointed as the Principal Certifying Authority and issue the Construction Certificate.

It is essential that a Principal Certifying Authority is appointed and a Construction Certificate is obtained before any work is commenced on site.

Exemptions From Barrier Requirements

Prior to 1 July 2010 the Act allowed for swimming pools on large properties and waterfront properties to be exempt from the requirement to have a barrier (fence) around the pool provided access to the swimming pool from any residential building situated on the premises was at all times restricted by child-resistant windows and doors. This exemption no longer exists. All new pools on large properties and waterfront properties must have the swimming pool surrounded by a child-resistant barrier (fence) in accordance with the requirements of the Act in the same manner as other properties.

Under section 22 of the Act, Council may, on application made by the owner of any premises in or on which a swimming pool is situated, or proposed to be constructed or installed, exempt the swimming pool from all or any of the access requirements of the Act. There is a fee associated with this application. To access the application form, click the following link:

Council does not generally grant exemptions unless, on very rare occasions, there are exceptional circumstances such as where it is impracticable or unreasonable because of the nature of the premises, the design or construction of the swimming pool or because of a physical disability or impairment of the occupier or that alternative provision, no less effective than those requirements of the Act, exists for restricting access to the swimming pool.

An exemption may be granted unconditionally or subject to such conditions as Council considers appropriate.

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