There is a new legislation coming in to play that will affect all homeowners with pools. Swimming pools, when not in use, will need to be covered or have a floating pool alarm, in order to prevent a large fine or imprisonment.
The legislation will place a lot more onus on the homeowner.
Homeowners in South Africa need to be aware of the legal and insurance implications of owning a swimming pool in light of this new legislation.
According to the By-Law, to be implemented in April 2014, all swimming pools will be regulated by safety measures. Outdoor pools will be required to have a cover or a floating pool alarm when it is not being used.
According to Marike Stals, legal and compliance manager at MUA Insurance Acceptances, the new legislation will place even more onus on the owner.
Stals says, homeowners should be aware that there are two types of cover under building insurance policies.
The first covers the actual damage of the structure, while the second is legal liability cover.
This is where the homeowners protect themselves, legally against something happening to guests, trespassers and / or their tangible property on the insured property, she says.
She explains that currently, the owner of the pool is held accountable under South African Law of Delict in the event of a drowning incident.
“South Africa’s civil liability laws mean a civil claim can be charged against a pool owner for any damage suffered as a result of drowning, whether fatal or not.”
Internationally, pool safety laws are very strict and South Africa is following this trend. And therefore needs to apply for various by-laws in order to set a South African Standard
A draft By-Law for the Safe Guarding of Swimming Pools has also been proposed to the City of Johannesburg, as legislation based purely around the safety-proofing of swimming pools.
“The new By-Law aims to regulate the access to swimming pools and is intended to protect members of the public from drowning.”
Following the promulgation of the By-Laws, anyone who wants to have a pool installed on their property must apply to the City for approval and all pools must adhere to strict rules according to the By-Law.”
What does this mean for you?
Homeowners who have existing swimming pools will have two years to notify the council about their pools following the promulgation,” says Stals.
According to the By-Law, all pools will then have to be safe guarded in terms of the regulations.
This means that all swimming pools must be maintained and fenced off, preventing children from being able to climb over the fence.
All outdoor pools will be required to have a pool cover or must be fitted with a floating pool alarm when the pool is not in use.
“If homeowners with swimming pools do not comply with the statute in the proposed By-Law they can face criminal charges such as fines or even imprisonment.”
She adds that the insurance policy will not cover the homeowner if they have not complied with the new By-Law, which could potentially be a huge financial loss if the homeowner is found guilty of negligence.
Homeowners should look to find pool-covering solutions before the By-Law is implemented. There are ranges of options available that are aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. Waterlinx has a variety of choices to fit your functional and appearance needs. Click here to see the Waterlinx page and options.