The Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 aims to protect young children from the dangers of unfenced swimming pools. Private swimming pools are the single most significant water hazard for pre-school children. Studies in New Zealand and overseas have shown that most drownings are amongst the children of pool owners and legitimate visitors, rather than wandering children. Therefore a boundary fence is not a satisfactory safety measure.
It is a requirement that all spa pools and swimming pools are registered. Many will also need a building consent in order to comply with the Building Act.
Complete the registration form and return it to us along with the $130 fee which covers one site visit to ensure compliance with the Act, excluding spa pools.
No. This is a registration. All pool owners are required to advise us of the existence or intention of getting a pool on their property - so the Council can add it to a register.
All private swimming pools need to be fenced unless:
Yes, it is a requirement of the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 that those who own a pool, or intend to get a pool, must tell the Council prior to construction or installation. Please provide the address of your pool.
The Act sets out the standard of fencing required in a schedule for means of compliance. Before constructing a pool fence, please ensure that it will conform with the schedule.
All materials and components must be of a durable nature, and be erected to inhibit any person from climbing over or crawling under the fence from the outside.The checklist in section three of the registration form covers all other aspects of compliance with the schedule.
The New Zealand Standard (NZS8500:2006) provides a range of pool fencing options and introduces layers of protection to many existing pools. Compliance with this standard is generally considered an acceptable solution. Please seek confirmation from the swimming pools compliance officer.For a copy of the New Zealand Standard (NZS8500:2006) please contact New Zealand Standards or contact us to discuss your requirements.
No. Under the Act, the fence must enclose the immediate pool area only. The immediate pool area includes:
The immediate pool area can not include:
Yes, the Building Act requires that building consents be obtained for all new swimming pools, spa pools and hot tubs, and for any alterations to existing swimming pools, spa pools and hot tubs and their barriers/fences.
The Swimming Pools Compliance Officer will check your proposal (a pre-issue site visit may occur at this stage). When your building consent is approved, you may proceed with the installation of your pool, and then the Swimming Pools Compliance Officer will inspect the site to ensure the pool fencing complies with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act. A fully complying, permanent or temporary fence must be in place prior to the pool being filled.
The inspector will let you know what you need to do to make the fence comply. Until it does comply, the pool must be drained immediately or a fully complying temporary fence erected.
The fencing requirements are set out in the first schedule of the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act and overlap with F4 Safety from falling (Building Code Clause).
The Fencing of Swimming Pools Act requires councils to carry out regular inspections of swimming pools in their district to ensure pools continue to comply with the requirements of the Act. We have adopted a three yearly inspection cycle as recommended by NZS:8500 Safety Barriers and Fences Around Swimming pools and Hot Tubs. The charge for this has been set at $130 per inspection and is charged proportionally via the property rates account, however re-inspections for non-complying pools and their fences/barriers incur a fee of $92.
We have the discretion to grant exemptions to the Act if the danger to young children is not significantly increased. Examples of when exemptions may be granted include:
Pool owners who would like to be considered for an exemption must apply in writing stating which features do not comply with the Act and the means provided to ensure the safety or restrict access for young children.Post your application to:The ManagerCustomer and Regulatory ServicesNew Plymouth District CouncilPrivate Bag 2025New Plymouth 4342Note: To apply for an exemption for spa pools that meet the requirements of NZS8500 please contact our swimming pools compliance officer.Return to top
If you tick 'yes' or 'N/A' to items (c)-(ad) on the swimming pool registration form, your proposed pool and fence should be compliant. Owners must ensure that pools are fenced in accordance with the Act at all times. If the requirements are not fully complied with, the pool must be drained empty immediately. Section 8 of the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 states obligations of owners and other persons in control of a pool (such as tenants). If you are the landlord of a property that has a pool, please advise your tenants that they also have responsibilities under this Act - as people in control of the pool.
(b) If the pool is enclosed in a building, or part of a building, not specifically used for the pool's purpose, the pool is exempt under the Act. It must still be registered with us, and the door must be fitted with a locking device that, when properly operated, prevents the door from being readily opened by children under six years old.Please note, the Act is soon to be reviewed and this exempt status is expected to change. We urge any pool owner to adopt the spirit of the Act to ensure the safety of young children otherwise a future upgrade may be required.
Please contact us for further conditions.
If pools are at least 1.2m above the ground, and there is no easy way for children to climb into the pool, the pool is considered to be self-fenced. If you tick 'no' to any of (e)-(h) you are required to fence the pool in accordance with the Act.If your pool is not above ground, please tick N/A for (e)-(h) and complete the checklist.
The immediate pool area may include:
The immediate pool area may include any activities that are used in association with the pool. Return to top
If your immediate pool area currently contains any of the above four items you may apply in writing for an exemption. However, it is highly recommended that you consider moving the fence to exclude these items. Applications for exemptions are subject to rigorous assessment and approval is not guaranteed.
It is important not only that pools are fenced with gate or door access, but also that the gates or swing doors close and latch automatically with the latch at least 1500mm from the inside floor level. Sliding and/or bi-fold doors are required to restrict access. Additionally, top locks must also be installed. They may operate the same as swinging doors or be fitted with a pool door alarm or a Council-approved system. Please discuss with us prior to installation.Please ensure that gates and doors are maintained on a regular basis so that they continue to close and latch automatically. Never leave your gate or door held open, and keep objects that children could climb on well clear of the outside of the pool fence.
Buildings can form part of the swimming pool fence but should not enable children to enter the pool area via a window. All windows below 1.2m that give access to the pool area must be fitted with restrictors so that they can not be opened any more than 100mm. Any higher windows must have a 1.2m clearance of any climbable item or have restrictors fitted.
The fence measurement requirements in the Act are designed to prevent children crawling under, climbing over and climbing through fences. It is important that materials are durable and that you maintain materials such as mesh, which may be prone to perishing.
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