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.
In addition, properties with pools require a water meter and backflow preventer to be installed at the boundary. You will need to apply for an extraordinary water supply using the water connection/disconnection application form.
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.
Guidelines for emptying pools
Can I discharge water from my pool into the road drains or storm water system?
No. Your pool water must not be discharged into NPDC's reticulated storm water system. Please note that the road outside your property is also connected to the reticulated storm water system.
There are two options for disposal of your pool water:
- Into the sewer via appropriate plumbing, if you are connected to the sewer; and/or
- Onto land.
Wherever possible use NPDC's wastewater sewer when draining your pool. The sewer conveys wastewater to a treatment plant which is designed to remove many pollutants from the water. Draining should be done via pool plumbing, a gully trap or sink at two litres per second or less.
It is important to note that if you need to discharge at a rate higher than two litres per second, you will need to obtain approval from NPDC. Contact NPDC's Trade Waste Officer on 06-759 6060.
Even if you discharge your pool water at two litres per second or less into the sewer reticulation you are still required to notify NPDC. Contact NPDC's Trade Waste Officer on 06-759 6060 to notify them you are emptying your pool water into the sewer.
How can I maintain my pool water to reduce impact on the sewer system?
It is vital that you maintain the proper chemical balance and filtration in your pool year round. If you do, you will not have to drain your pool so often. Also before using copper algaecides, try using less toxic alternatives. Only use copper if other products don't work.
How should I dispose of my pool water to land?
If your property is not connected to the sewer, you should consider land disposal and/or soakage via the following method:
- Check that there are no land instability problems (slip, erosion) in your immediate area. If they do exist don't use this disposal method.
- Leave the water to sit for one week in your pool without the addition of any chemicals.
- Make sure the water temperature is below 25°C.
- Discharge or irrigate the water so it will not flow into the storm water system or any natural watercourses.
- Ensure the water does not flow off your property onto neighbouring properties.
- Discharge or irrigate the water so that it won’t create 'nuisance conditions' such as pooling which can provide an environment for mosquito breeding.
If you decide on the option of land disposal you should call the Taranaki Regional Council on 0800 736 222 or 06-765 7127 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your chosen method of disposal is OK.