Swimming pool need-to-knows

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Having a swimming pool in your backyard is part of the Australian way of life particularly out here in the west in beautiful God’s country.

Here are some things to remember if you are thinking about putting a swimming pool in your backyard.

Firstly, in almost every case a swimming pool requires development approval or a Complying Development Certificate.

Certain development is designated “complying development” and can be done under a “CDC”.

This essentially means engaging a private certifier at your cost to firstly advise if your swimming pool is considered complying development and secondly confirm how the swimming pool needs to be constructed to ensure it is compliant with relevant regulations and therefore capable of certification by the private certifier.

This is seen as quick and more efficient way to get approval to build you pool.

This is because a CDC does not require Council intervention in most cases.

Your certifier will be required to notify Council of your CDC and advise them of the commencement of work and you may need to pay an infrastructure bond which is designed to cover the costs of any damage done to Council property such as gutters and driveways given that in almost all cases heavy machinery is required to construct your pool.

Otherwise however, your CDC can be approved as quickly as you are able to get a private certifier to look at it.

The alternative is a Development Application which is lodged with Council. If the zoning of your property or the type of pool you want to build is not considered complying development, you will need to make a formal Development Application (DA) to Council.

Council will then review the application and either provide feedback as to why it should be amended or provide a notice of determination proving the application.

In relation to a swimming pool constructed pursuant to a development approval by Council, it will usually require multiple inspections by Council at different milestones during the construction of your swimming pool to confirm that it is being built in accordance with the development approval.

This is the other reason why a swimming pool built under a DA as opposed to a CDC can take longer as you will need to wait for an appropriate officer from Council to be available to attend your property to conduct inspections.

In most cases, the contractor you engage to construct your swimming pool will be able to assist with the CDC application or the Development Application.

In some cases, if there are some tricky zoning or planning issues you might also need the assistance of a planning consultant.

Like any development, requirements differ across different Council areas.

Other important things to consider to make sure your swimming pool is compliant are things like having appropriate clearances from boundaries.

For example, in the Penrith Council generally speaking your swimming pool is required to be no less than one metre from any boundary.

You are also required to have a swimming pool fence and gate that complies with Australian standard. Fenceless swimming pools are not permitted.

You need to make sure you have an approved water safety sign in your pool area and you need to register your swimming pool on the NSW Swimming Pool Register.

Once construction of your swimming pool is complete you should make sure that either your private certifier or Council attend your property to conduct a final inspection and provide you with a certificate to say that the pool has been built in accordance with the CDC or DA requirements.

People often forget this final step.

It will not necessarily cause you any problems while you own the property and are enjoying your swimming pool, but when it comes time to sell or if you need to prove that your swimming pool was approved when it is constructed it can be difficult to obtain your final certificate retrospectively or at a minimum, it may take some to do so.

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