New legislation for fencing of swimming and spa pools

The legislation that governs pool fencing and restricting pool access to children has changed.

On 1 January 2017, the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 replaced the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987, under the Building Act 2004.

The new legislation is designed to be less prescriptive and allows property and private pool owners more flexibility to comply with the requirements for swimming pool fencing and barriers. Visit the Swimming and Spa Pools page for more information about the law change and how it affects you.

The purpose of the new Act is to prevent drowning of, and injury to, young children by restricting unsupervised access.

Most small heated pools are currently unfenced but have a safety cover. The Amendment Act reflects this and has provided additional ways to meet pool barrier requirements, which include specifying the height of the pool and design of the pool cover.

Some of the main changes include;

  • All residential pools must have a means of restricting access to unsupervised children under 5 years of age
  • All residential pools are required to be inspected every 3 years (previously this was 5 years)
  • Manufacturers and retailers of pool products are required to provide a notice to the purchaser outlining the customers responsibilities under the Act for every product intended for use as a swimming or paddling pool.
  • Small heated pools (spa pools / hot tubs) do not require a fencing or barrier, as long as access is prevented by covering with a securely locked solid lid. Note: this ONLY applies if the top lip of the pool is 760mm or greater above the surrounding deck, floor or ground.

Central Government legislation also requires pool owners to notify the Council of the existence of a pool, regardless of when the pool was installed. Council has an obligation to ensure the Act is complied with throughout its district and ensuring that pools are fenced to the standards. This is monitored by the mandatory 3 yearly inspection of your swimming or spa pool.

If you have a pool and the fencing or barrier does not meet the minimum standard, you will be notified of this in writing and given a suitable time frame to remedy any issues found, you may also be asked to empty the pool until the safety fencing or barriers have been installed and approved by the inspecting officer.

Council is happy to answer any questions you may have regarding swimming and spa pools. You can get in touch with the Council team by phoning 06 374 4080 or 06 376 0110 - alternatively, you can email us on

<< Back to Latest News(Posted on: 16/01/2017)