Decommissioning Swimming Pools or Spas

Neither the Building Act 2011 nor the Building Regulations 2012 define or reference the decommissioning of swimming pools and or spas.  Both these statutory documents however, define a swimming pool as that defined in BCA Volume 1 Part A1.

The BCA defines a swimming pool as: any excavation or structure containing water and principally used, or that is designed, manufactured or adopted to be principally used for swimming, wading, or the like, including a bath or wading pool, or spa. And;

AS1926.1-2012 defines a swimming pool as: any structure containing water to a depth greater than 300mm and used primarily for swimming, wading, paddling or the like, including a bathing or wading pool, or spa pool.

In an ideal world when the swimming pool or spa is no longer wanted they would be 100% removed from site either by deflating, dismantling, excavating and lifting out, or complete demolition.  Any demolition material removed from site and taken to an approved disposal site.  The excavation filled with soil endemic to the site and compacted in layers.

The reality is that many below ground pools get buried thus potentially creating future development problems. 

So what constitutes decommissioning?

By definition decommissioning would be removing aspects that make the structure a swimming pool, such as complete removal, remove its ability to contain more than 300mm of water, remove the access, and remove any filtration system.  The main consideration is the inability to hold water.

The following are examples of the main types of swimming pools and how best to decommission:

Above Ground Pools

  • Inflatable: deflate and remove
  • Solid sided: Remove liner, ladder, and any filtration system.  Ideally complete dismantling and removal.

Above Ground Pools Installed Below Ground

  1. Minimum requirements, retaining walls and steel frame still in place:
    • Remove liner, ladder, and any filtration system.  Ideally complete dismantling and removal.
    • Remove all of the above-ground pool structure and filtration system.
    • Break down the retaining walls to a minimum of 500mm below natural ground level.
    • Remove the demolished material to an approved disposal site.
    • The excavation filled with soil endemic to the site and compacted in layers.
  2. Minimum requirements bury the retaining walls:
  3. Total removal
  • As per b) above but the total demolition of the pool structure including the walls and any footings.
  • Filling the excavation with clean fill endemic to the site and compacted in layers

Below Ground Concrete or Fibreglass Pools

Minimum requirements:

  • Cut a minimum of 2 x 500mm x 500mm squares in the base of the pool (deep end), and remove all the fibreglass or concrete from the pool.  Disconnect the filtration system and any access ladders.

    Burying the Pool

  • Cut a minimum of 2 x 500mm x 500mm squares in the base of the pool (deep end), and remove all the fibreglass or concrete from the pool.  Disconnect the filtration system and any access ladders.
  • Cut down the walls of the pool at least 500mm from the top. 
  • Remove the demolished material to an approved disposal site.
  • The excavation filled with soil endemic to the site and compacted in layers.

    Complete Removal of the Pool

  • If the pool is in excess of 40m2 in area an Application for a Demolition Permit is required.
  • Excavate and lift out fibreglass pools whenever possible.
  • Demolish and remove the demolished material from the excavation to an approved disposal site.
  • The excavation filled with soil endemic to the site and compacted in layers.

Local Government Post Decommissioning Consideration

Decommissioned pool and the shell still remains and not filled with soil:

  • Have the Local Authority staff inspect the decommissioned pool to determine if the method of decommissioning is to the Local authority’s satisfaction.
  • Do you keep this pool on your pool registry?
  • Do you show on your building approval for the pool that it is now decommissioned?
  • Advise Rates that the pool is now decommissioned and stop any future levy invoicing for inspections.
  • Write to the owners that the pool is now considered decommissioned but if they ever repair and or renovate the shell and reinstate the filtration system that an Application for a Building Permit will be required and the fencing standard will be the applicable standard of the day.

Burying the Pool Shell:

  • Require that a Section 70A Notification be placed on the property Titles advising of the buried pool.
  • Have the Local Authority staff inspect the decommissioned pool to determine if the method of decommissioning is to the Local authority’s satisfaction.
  • Do you keep this pool on your pool registry?
  • Do you show on your building approval for the pool that it is now decommissioned?
  • Advise Rates that the pool is now decommissioned and stop any future levy invoicing for inspections.
  • Write to the owners that the pool is now considered decommissioned but if they ever repair and or renovate the shell and reinstate the filtration system that an Application for a Building Permit will be required and the fencing standard will be the applicable standard of the day.

    Total Removal:

  • If the pool is less than the depth of the pool away from boundaries then neighbour comment or a BA20 may be required, and a shoring plan provided.
  • If in excess of 40m2 issue a Demolition Permit.
  • Have the Local Authority staff inspect the decommissioned pool to determine if the method of decommissioning is to the Local authority’s satisfaction.
  • Remove the pool from your pool registry?
  • Show on your building approval for the pool that it is now demolished.
  • Advise Rates that the pool is now decommissioned and stop any future levy invoicing for inspections.
© City of Kalamunda 2019