Swimming & Spa Pools
Pools are a significant risk to the safety of pre-school age children. Young children can drown in as little as 20 seconds. Most drownings are amongst the children of pool owners and their visitors.
This is why there are clear regulations and requirements for pools in New Zealand as set out in the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016.
What Is Classified as a Pool?
A pool is classified as an excavation, structure or product that is used (or capable of being used) for swimming, wading, paddling or bathing including spa pools, with a water depth of 400 mm or more.
Do I Have To Fence My Pool?
All pools must 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, hand holds or projections enabling a child to climb.
- The pool is an indoor residential pool, or is inside a building.
- Indoor pools are required to have locking mechanisms to prevent entry.
Spa Pools and Hot Tubs
A common misunderstanding is thinking that spa pools with lockable covers meet safety standards.
Small heated pools (spa pools / hot tubs) do not require fencing or a barrier as long as access is prevented by covering with a securely locked solid lid. This only applies if the top lip of the pool is 760mm or greater above the surrounding deck, floor or ground.
Temporary Inflatable Pools
If the inflatable pool has the capability of being filled to 400mm or more then you will be required to fence the pool as per the legislation to restrict access by young children. It remains important to watch your children closely while they are playing in the pool.
Manufacturers and retailers of swimming pools and spa pools must inform buyers of their responsibilities by providing notices with these products.
Do I Need Building Consent When Building a Pool?
You will require a building consent to:
- build or install new swimming or spa pools and associated fences, if the pool is greater than 400mm;
- construct new or alter existing pool fencing; or
- construct or install pool drainage and water supply protection systems.
You may require a resource consent to:
- undertake earthworks to build or install a new swimming pool.
Will I Need To Have Ongoing Pool Inspections?
Pool fences must remain complaint with the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 at all times for the safety of young children.
You will need to have three yearly inspections within six months before or after the anniversary date of your pool or spa pool. The anniversary date is the date of issue of the Code of Compliance Certificate or the Certificate of Acceptance, or the date the notice was given under section 7 of the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987.
You can choose who inspects your pool. You can use either a Council inspector, or a registered Independently Qualified Pool Inspector (IQPI) accepted by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Council does not charge for pool inspections, however if a non-complaint pool requires further inspections Council may charge.
Helpful information is available by visiting the following websites. You can also download our guidelines for Swimming Pool Fencing (PDF file, 895.6 KB).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
- Building Code - Clause F9 - Restricting access to residential pools
- Guidance for pool owners
- Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016
- Building (Pools) Regulations 2016