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Supervision around common area swimming pools

It is alarming how many people will let their children go to the pool on common property without (adequate) supervision. Standard management rules or prescribed management rules do not even speak to swimming pool behavior.

We can only hope that bodies corporate with swimming pools have their own revised swimming pool rules incorporated in their conduct rules to cater for the rules around their swimming pool. Ideally, these rules should then be displayed prominently at the swimming pool and more importantly, it should be enforced. It is a good idea to also display a local emergency services phone number.

In a previous blog, we provided a few safety guidelines around swimming pools with reference to national building regulations and standards.

A new draft update from the SA Bureau of Standards (SABS) published in the Government Gazette (July 2018) makes reference to every private swimming pool that can hold more than 30cm of water. In our opinion, this will then include any larger inflatable pools set up for home use, sometimes in exclusive use areas or more alarmingly, on open common areas.

According to the draft rules, these pools should be surrounded by a child-proof fence and should be fitted with a safety net or cover to prevent children from drowning. These rules are also subject to certain standards.

Drafting, publishing and displaying rules are great but it should be adhered to. What are trustees in bodies corporate doing about it?

Three events recently highlighted the need for more information and awareness of this subject:

  1. We have become aware of children at swimming pool areas of sectional title buildings using the facilities unsupervised or with inadequate supervision (a teenage boy – older brother).
  2. An astute managing agent seeking confirmation on their recommended advice that a large inflatable pool placed on common property must be removed.
  3. Receiving a well-drafted newsletter distributed by Pierre Wyss of Direct Complex Services to owners and residents of a complex they manage in Edenvale, reminding residents of the risks and rules.

We would like to highlight the need for better supervision of children and without spoiling their fun, take a more educational approach to swimming pool use and particularly, common area pools.

It is important that the person supervising any children swimming in the pool is capable and responsible. Will this person be able to confidently handle an emergency situation and can they actually swim?

The reality is that drownings can happen quickly and quietly; it is therefore important for the person taking responsibility for supervising children is vigilant and not distracted.

Trustees and managing agents who are involved with the management of common property are responsible for safety, the upkeep of the area and the enforcement of rules around common area swimming pools. Owners and residents must adhere to the rules.

Let’s all take extra care and be aware of this risk by taking a few sensible precautions.


Author – Mike Addison

Addsure is South Africa’s leading sectional title insurance brokerage. Obtain fit and proper advice from advisors who understand sectional title. Contact us in: Johannesburg (011) 704 3858; Durban (031) 459 1795; Cape Town (021) 551 5069