Swimming pool certification FAQ

The Building Professionals Board accredits category E1 certifiers who can inspect barriers to swimming pools and spa pools and issue a certificate of compliance.

Find out how to have your swimming pool or spa pool barrier inspected and certified.

Read this FAQ for information on:

...or visit our webpage providing practice advice on swimming pool certification.

Become an E1 – Accredited Certifier – Swimming Pool Certification

What is the E1 category?
Category E1 Certifier – Swimming Pool Certification was created to increase the existing number of certifiers (from categories A1-A3) who can inspect barriers to pools and spas for compliance with the Swimming Pools Act 1992
 
From 29 April 2016, residential properties with a swimming pool or spa pool must have a relevant occupation certificate or certificate of compliance for the pool barrier before the property can be leased or sold.
 
Alternatively, to sell the property, the vendor can have a certificate of non-compliance outlining what needs to be fixed. This will give the purchaser 90 days to make the pool compliant.
What do E1 certifiers do?

Accredited swimming pool certifiers can inspect barriers around swimming pools and spa pools and issue either a certificate of compliance under s22D of the Swimming Pools Act 1992, or a notice and certificate of non-compliance to the owner under s22E of that Act.

Some swimming pool certifiers can also carry out minor repairs to make a swimming pool comply with the Swimming Pools Act 1992. To carry out minor repairs, they must be authorised under the Home Building Act to carry out swimming pool building or structural landscaping. Where minor works costing up to $1,000 are required to make the pool compliant, the owner is under no obligation to engage the certifier who inspected their pool. The owner is free to engage others to do the work or do the work themselves.

Also note:

  • the certifier is required to issue a notice and certificate of non-compliance if the pool is non-compliant upon inspection
  • category E1 certifiers cannot issue an occupation certificate for a swimming pool
  • category A4 certifiers who want to certify swimming pools must also hold E1 accreditation.
Who is eligible to apply for E1 accreditation?
To be eligible to apply for E1 accreditation, a person must have one of the following:
  • unconditional accreditation in category A4
  • an endorsed contractor’s licence or qualified supervisor’s certificateissued under the Home Building Act 1989, which authorises, or includes the authority, for the holder to construct a swimming pool or structural landscaping
  • two years’ recent practical experience working for a local council, where they have inspected and certified swimming pools’ compliance with the Swimming Pools Act 1992, the relevant Swimming Pools Regulation and Australian Standards for swimming pool safety. This experience must also include the inspection of at least 20 different pools and associated child resistant barriers for compliance with Part 2 of the Swimming Pools Act 1992.

Note: The builder or swimming pool builder's licence should not have conditions preventing the holder from constructing swimming pools or swimming pool fencing. The structural landscaper's licence should not have conditions preventing the holder from constructing swimming pool fencing.

Applicants also need to satisfactorily complete an E1 training course approved by the Board before applying for accreditation.
How do I apply for accreditation in category E1?

Find out how to apply for category E1 –Swimming Pool Certification and download a 'Quick Start' form.

If you are an A1, A2 or A3 certifier, you are already authorised to inspect swimming pools and do not need to apply for E1 accreditation. However you will need to join the Swimming Pool Register by emailing your BPB accreditation number to sprusers@olg.nsw.gov.au (Office of Local Government).

What training is available for E1 certifiers? 
All applicants who meet the eligibility criteria and intend to seek accreditation must complete an E1 training course approved by the Building Professionals Board.
 
 
Important note about approved E1 training course: to become an E1 certifier you must complete a training course approved by the Board. If you enrol in a course not listed on this website you will not be able to become accredited on the basis of completion of that course.
Can anyone do the training?
Yes. Anyone can attend the training approved by the Board, but if you wish to gain accreditation in Category E1 you must also ensure you meet the eligibility criteria.
 
Important note about approved E1 training course: to become an E1 certifier you must complete a training course approved by the Board. If you enrol in a course not listed on this website you will not be able to become accredited on the basis of completion of that course.
How much does it cost to become an E1 certifier?
$750, payable by credit card or direct bank deposit/ EFT at the time of application.
 
A4 accredited certifiers who have already paid the A4 accreditation fee will not have to pay an additional E1 accreditation fee. 
 
Training course fees will be set by individual training organisations.
Why was the accreditation and renewal fee for E1 certifiers reduced?

The standard accreditation or renewal fee for category E1 has been reduced to $750 to be commensurate with the level of E1 authority and scope of work.

Why can’t swimming pool technicians apply to be E1 certifiers?

The Board has restricted the eligibility criteria to people with knowledge and experience in the construction of pool safety barriers. 

E1 certifiers will need to interpret and apply the Swimming Pools Act 1992, the relevant Swimming Pools Regulation and Australian Standards for safety barriers for swimming pools.
 
How much can I charge for my services as an E1 certifier?
Private E1 certifiers can set their own fees and may charge for subsequent inspections. 
 
Councils may only charge a fee of $150 for the first inspection, and $100 for the second. 
How will property owners know I’m an E1 certifier?
Once you gain accreditation in Category E1, your name and contact details will be made publicly available on the Building Professionals Board website.
 
 
You may also undertake your own private advertising and marketing activity. When doing so, be sure to use the terms that appear in the NSW swimming pool legislation, which differ to those used in Queensland.
 
Do council pool inspectors need to be accredited by the Board?
No. Council officers who inspect and issue certificates of compliance (or notices) for swimming pool and spa pool barriers on behalf of a council do not need to be accredited. But they can apply under ’relevant experience’ if they wish to gain E1 accreditation.

Minor pool barrier repairs by E1 certifiers

What are minor pool barrier repairs (minor works)?
These are works to rectify defects that are identified during the inspection and which prevent a certificate of compliance being issued. The work is limited to a maximum value of $1,000, including materials and labour. It could include repairs to gates, latches, resuscitation (CPR) signs or the trimming of vegetation, etc.
Why can E1 and A1-A3 pool certifiers carry out minor repairs?
Swimming pool certifiers can carry out minor repairs to make a pool compliant with the Swimming Pools Act 1992.
Which certifiers can carry out minor repairs?
Certifiers from categories E1, A1, A2 and A3 can carry out minor repairs to the swimming pool barrier if they hold an endorsed contractor’s licence or a qualified supervisor’s certificate issued under the Home Building Act 1989, that authorises or includes the authority to construct a swimming pool or construct structural landscaping.
 
 
What happens if I can’t arrange an on-the-spot repair?
If the barrier is non-compliant, you must:
  • record the inspection in the Swimming Pools Register
  • issue the owner with a written notice under section 22E of the Swimming Pools Act 1992, and
  • issue a certificate of non-compliance.

You'll then need to consider providing a quote to the owner, and it will be up to the owner to decide whether to engage you or another tradesperson to do the work.

What if I don't hold a specified licence or qualified supervisor's certificate, but have the skills to complete minor works?
You can't carry out minor works if you don't have the specific required licence. Also, your licence cannot contain conditions preventing you from carrying out work on pool fences.
 
The conflict of interest provisions under the Building Professionals Regulation still apply.
Can council certifiers or pool inspectors carry out minor repairs?
If you're an A1, A2, A3 or E1 accredited certifier employed by a council, the conflict of interest conditions apply to your accreditation and you cannot carry out minor works – unless you hold a builder's licence or qualified supervisor's certificate under the Home Building Act authorising you to carry out swimming pool building or structural landscaping.
 
In addition, the council must approve of its employees entering into agreements on its behalf to do minor repairs for pool owners.
 
If you conduct inspections for a council but aren't accredited, the conflict of interest provisions don't apply. You may be able to carry out minor works with the permission of your council and the owner.
If I'm not authorised to carry out minor repairs, what documents should I ask the property owner to sign?
You'll only need to ask the property owner to sign the pdf contract (PDF | 29.5K) to carry out the pool inspection before you conduct the inspection. If you can't undertake minor works, you don't have to attach the 'pdf Important information for pool owners (PDF | 59K)' document to the contract.
Are the minor repairs fees required to be paid upfront?
No, this may be negotiated between the certifier and the owner.
Does the owner have to agree immediately if they want me to carry out minor repairs?

No, but if they don't accept your quote to carry out the minor works immediately, you must issue a written notice and certificate of non-compliance. The property owner still has options to do the work themselves or engage a tradesperson. You can return and complete the works if the property owner accepts your quote and advises you within six weeks of the inspection. You must complete the works as expeditiously as possible to avoid breaching the conflict of interest conditions.

Can I arrange a subcontractor to do the minor repairs under my licence?
No, your accreditation is yours alone and its authorities/duties cannot be delegated to another person.
 
If a pool requires more than $1,000 worth of work, can I offer to do the work and ask the owner to contact someone else to do the pool inspection?
No, that would be a conflict of interest.
 
As you have already entered into a pdf contract (PDF | 29.5K) and been paid by the owner to inspect the barrier for the purposes of issuing a certificate of compliance, you cannot change your role to ‘contractor’ because the work exceeds the $1000 limit. Engaging in this practice would be a breach of the conflict of interest provisions in the Building Professionals Regulation [cl 7AA (4)- pecuniary interest].
 
If the owner accepts my quote and I can do the minor repairs immediately, can I then issue a certificate of compliance?
If you carry out minor works immediately after an inspection to make a pool compliant, you can directly issue a certificate of compliance for the pool.
 

Practice advice for swimming pool certifiers

What do I need to ask the property owner to sign – and when?
A document ‘pdf Important information for pool owners (PDF | 59K)’ must accompany your pdf contract (PDF | 29.5K) for the inspection and certification of a swimming pool [clause 19A(5) Building Professionals Regulation]. 
 
The pool owner needs to sign the document, acknowledging that they are aware they are under no obligation to engage you to carry out any minor works that may be required to make the pool compliant.
 
If the pool requires minor works and you are appropriately authorised, you will need to provide the property owner with a quote and get their agreement before undertaking the minor works.
 
You can then reinspect the pool and issue a certificate of compliance for the pool.
How do I join the Swimming Pool Register?
Email your BPB accreditation number to sprusers@olg.nsw.gov.au to become listed as a pool barrier inspector on the Swimming Pool Register.
Must E1 certifiers issue a notice if a pool fails the first inspection?
Yes. Certifiers have a regulatory role - they can't just give advice to the owner if a pool is non-compliant.
 
If a pool barrier is non-compliant, the certifier is required to issue a notice under the Swimming Pools Act 1992, explaining the non-compliance and what's needed to make the barrier compliant. The certifier must also issue a 'certificate of non-compliance' under that Act.
 
The owner then has six weeks to make the pool compliant. If the barrier still doesn't comply, the certifier must notify the council (but should notify the council immediately if the pool presents a significant public safety risk).
 
Is a written contract needed with the owner for a pool inspection/ certification?
Yes. Certifiers must have a written contract in place with the pool owner, and receive payment before carrying out the pool inspection.

The Board has issued a pdf contract template for swimming pool certifiers (PDF | 29.5K). You don’t have to use this particular contract, but it reflects the minimum information that should be included in contracts for swimming pool certification.

Any swimming pool certifier with the authority to carry out minor works needs to ask the pool owner to sign another document before the contract is signed. The document, ‘pdf Important information for pool owners (PDF | 59K)’ asks the pool owner to acknowledge they are under no obligation to engage the swimming pool certifier to carry out minor works to make the pool compliant.

What standards are applied to certify a swimming pool that was constructed without approval?

A council or certifier may sometimes be asked to issue a certificate of compliance under the Swimming Pools Act 1992 for a swimming pool that was constructed without development consent.

Whether or not the pool's construction was authorised, when assessing an application for a certificate of compliance, you must apply the prescribed standards that were in force when the pool was built, or when the barrier was substantially altered or rebuilt.

Also, councils retain their enforcement powers in relation to unauthorised development, regardless of whether a certificate of compliance has been issued.

What Australian Standard applies to a pool where work has been carried out?

Pool barrier compliance is assessed against Australian Standard 1926.1 Swimming pool safety - Safety barriers for swimming pools.

There are three versions of this Standard adopted in NSW. The version applicable depends when a pool was built and whether the barrier has been substantially altered or rebuilt.

View a flowchart to help determine which version of AS 1926.1 to apply to a particular pool.

Why can't I use the 1993 Australian Standard to assess pool barriers?

NSW has only adopted three versions of Australian Standard 1926.1 Swimming pool safety - Safety barriers for swimming pools:

  • 1986 version (AS 1926.1-1986) for pools built between 1 August 1990 and 31 August 2008 inclusive
  • 2007 version AS 1926.1-2007) for pools built between 1 September 2008 and 30 April 2013 inclusive
  • 2012 version (AS 1926.1-2012) for pools built on or after 1 May 2103.

The 1993 Australian Standard was never adopted in NSW and must not be used.

Does the 500mm 'exclusion zone' for objects around pool barriers apply to boundary fences that also act as a barrier?

NSW regulatory authorities, including the Board, have agreed on the following approach in relation to clause 2.3.1 of Australian Standard 1926.1 Swimming pool safety - Safety barriers for swimming pools:

  • Retaining walls, objects or level changes that would otherwise reduce the height of a barrier within a property must be located at least 500mm from the barrier.
  • Clause 2.3.1 applies in addition to clause 2.2.4, which requires any relevant boundary fence/barrier to be at least 1800mm high on the inside of the property.
Do out-of-ground/ above-ground pools need a separate barrier?
Do NSW and Queensland legislation use different terminology for the same things?

The NSW and Queensland legislation sometimes use different terms to refer to the same thing.

Using correct terminology when working or advertising in NSW ensures the notices and certificates you issue are valid under the Swimming Pools Act 1992, and helps pool owners know exactly what services you're offering.

Any indoor or outdoor swimming pool must be inspected and certified if it is situated on premises on which a residential building is located.

'Residential building' means a building (such as a dwelling house, residential flat building or boarding house) that is solely or principally used for residential purposes, and includes any structure (such as a garage or shed) that is ancillary to any such building. It does not include a movable dwelling or a tourist and visitor accommodation. It does not include a building or complex of buildings that are principally used for non-residential purposes, such as a school or recreational centre.

How do I find a certifier for my swimming pool or spa pool barrier?