Decommissioning swimming pools or spas | City of Fremantle

Decommissioning swimming pools or spas

The following information is a best practice guide only. Advice should be obtained from a suitably qualified structural or hydraulic engineer in applying the most suitable decommissioning method regarding the type of swimming pool or spa and your locality.

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

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 to be removed from site and taken to an approved disposal site.  The excavation filled with soil endemic to the site and compacted in a maximum 300mm layers.

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

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 or remove:

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

a) Minimum requirements, retaining walls and steel frame still in place

  • Remove liner, ladder, and any filtration system.  Ideally complete dismantling and removal.

b) Minimum requirements bury the retaining walls

  • Remove all the above-ground pool structure and filtration system.
  • Break down the retaining walls to a minimum of 600mm 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 a maximum 300mm layers.

c) 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 a maximum 300mm  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 600mm 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.

Notes: 

  1. In some localities, impervious soil types, or high ground and perched water tables may make holing pools problematic and advice from a suitably qualified structural or hydraulic engineer may need to be sought as to whether this is a viable option.
  2. Pools located less than the depth away from boundaries may require a BA20 and BA20A forms to be signed by the adjoining property owner prior to the below ground pool being removed from site, and a shoring plan provided.
  3. It should be noted that once the swimming pool/spa is decommissioned, if the shell  is ever to be repaired and or renovated and the filtration system reinstated, then an application for a building permit will be required and the safety barrier standard will be the applicable standard of the current day.
  4. Once the swimming pool has been decommissioned please notify the City by emailing to building@fremantle.wa.gov.au

An inspector authorised by the City will then carry out an inspection on site to confirm. Once the inspection has been completed, the City’s rates section will be advised that the pool shell/spa has been removed.

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