Notice of non-compliance – drafting tips

If a pool fails inspection, the certifier must issue a written notice to the owner under the Swimming Pools Act 1992 section 22E, with all of the following details:

  • the date of the notice
  • the address of the swimming pool
  • the inspection date
  • the reason why you're not satisfied that a certificate of compliance can be issued, and the steps needed to meet the requirements for a certificate of compliance
  • whether the pool poses a significant risk to the public
  • a warning that a copy of the notice will be sent to the council:
    • immediately, if the pool is a significant risk, or
    • six weeks after the inspection date, if a certificate of compliance isn't issued before that time

such other matters as prescribed by the regulations (note: at the time of writing, there are no prescribed matters).

Most pool owners aren't technical experts, so keep the notice non-technical, yet accurate and with enough detail to be useful. After reading the notice, the owner should know what's wrong with the pool barrier and a few possible ways to fix it.

A notice of non-compliance for a swimming pool barrier:

  • must be issued within five (5) days of the inspection
  • is mainly for the owner’s benefit, so shouldn’t include unnecessary technical terms
  • should identify which version of the Australian Standard applies, and why
  • should give enough detail for the owner to fix the barrier, without any irrelevant details (section 22E of the SP Act sets the minimum requirements)
  • may include photographs, which should be clear and have an identifiable point of reference
  • may later be read by a council officer who has no knowledge of that particular pool, so the notice should make sense without requiring reference to external documents

Tip: if you have children aged 10-15 (or thereabouts) ask them to read one of your notices to see if they can understand it (remove the address and other private information first).

Sending a notice to council: after 6 weeks, if the pool barrier isn't fixed, you're required by legislation to forward the notice to the council. In your covering email/ letter, briefly explain the situation so the council can make an informed decision on further action.