The Building (Pools) Amendment Act 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.
What pools need to be registered?
It is a requirement that all swimming pools are registered. Many will also need a building consent in order to comply with the Building Act.
How do I register?
Complete the registration form and return it to us along with the $135 fee which covers one site visit to ensure compliance with the Act.
Is this a building consent?
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 we can add it to a register and make sure it is safe.
Do I have to fence my pool?
All private swimming pools need to be fenced unless:
- The maximum depth is less than 400mm.
- The walls of the pool are 1.2m or more above the ground with no step-ups, handholds or projections enabling a child to climb.
I am going to install or construct a pool, do I need to tell you?
Yes, The Building Act requires that building consents be obtained for all new swimming pools and for any alterations to existing pools and their barriers or fences.
What standard of fencing is required?
The Act sets out the standard of fencing required for compliance. Before constructing a pool fence, please ensure that it will conform to the requirements.
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 Act.
The New Zealand Building Code Clause F9 (F9/AS1 & F9/AS2) provides a range of pool fencing options and introduces layers of protection to many existing pools.
I have a boundary fence – will this do?
No. Under the Act, the fence must enclose the immediate pool area only.The Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 defines immediate pool area. Immediate pool area means the land in or which the pool is situated and so much of the surrounding area as is used for activities carried out in relation to or involving the pool.
The immediate pool area includes:
- The pool.
- Any paved area around the pool.
- Any sitting area by the pool.
- Changing room.
- Gardens and lawn, if they are obviously part of the pool area and there is a reasonable amount of yard area left outside the fence.
- Any activities that are used in association with the pool.
The immediate pool area does not include:
- Clotheslines and access paths.
- Vegetable gardens.
- General storage sheds, tool sheds or garages.
- The entire rear yard.
- Children's sand pits, play areas or equipment not used in conjunction with the pool.
How do I know if my existing pool barriers comply?
Contact our Swimming Pool Compliance Officer to discuss the findings from the most recent barriers inspection or to book a current inspection of the pool barriers. Please note a charge for an inspection may apply.
What rules apply to my existing pool?
Because there are variables for existing swimming pools prior to the Building (Pools) Amendment Act (2016) taking effect, you will need to contact our Swimming Pool Compliance Officer to discuss the requirements specific to your pool barriers.
Do I need a building consent for my pool or fence?
Yes, the Building Act requires that building consents be obtained for all new swimming pools and for any alterations to existing swimming pools and their barriers/fences.
What happens after I advise you about my pool?
We 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 we will inspect the site to ensure the pool fencing complies with the legislation. A fully complying, permanent or temporary fence must be in place prior to the pool being filled.
What if my fence doesn’t meet the requirements of the Act?
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.
What are the requirements of the Act?
Pool barrier requirements are set out in F9/AS1, F9/AS2 restricting access to residential pools, and F4 Safety from falling (all Building Code Clauses).
Ongoing inspection programme
The Building (Pools) Amendment Act requires every territorial authority must ensure residential pools are inspected at least once every 3 years.
The charge for this has been set at $135 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 $101.