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Swimming pools and fencingNgā puna kaukau me ngā taiapa

The purpose of swimming pool legislation is to prevent young children from drowning in residential swimming pools. The solution is simple, fence it. This page includes all you need to know and how to go about making sure your pool is safe for kids.

Why do I have to fence my swimming pool and spa?

The purpose of the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 is to prevent the drowning of, and injury to, young children by restricting unsupervised access to residential pools by children under five years of age.View looking towards a swimming pool outside the fence.

Fencing your pool can be easy and not as much fuss as you may have thought. We can assist and advise you of what is required and your responsibilities under the law.

What is a swimming pool?

A residential pool is a pool that is:

(a) in a place of abode, or
(b) in or on land that also contains an abode, or
(c) in or on land that is adjacent to other land that contains an abode if the pool is used in conjunction with that other land or abode.

A small heated pool is a heated pool (such as a spa pool or a hot tub) that:

(a) has a water surface area of 5m2 or less, and
(b) is designed for therapeutic or recreational use.

What pools need to be fenced?

All private swimming pools have to be fence. All spa pools have to be either fenced or covered and locked. The only exceptions to this are:

  • The maximum depth is 400mm or less.
  • The walls of the pool are 1.2 metres or more above the ground (or pool surrounds) and are constructed so as to inhibit climbing.
  • The pool is indoors.

However, these pools still require a building consent.

Where must the fence be placed?

The fence must only surround the "immediate pool area". The area can only include items used with the pool such as the diving board, swimming pool furniture, toys and equipment directly related to the swimming pool. It should not include the clothesline, vegetable garden, children's play area etc.

Beware of including a boundary fence as part of a pool fence. Your neighbours may put trellis or a stack of wood, for example on the other side. This could enable a child to climb over the fence. In such cases the fence would not comply with the Act.

“Immediate Pool Area” (as defined in Section 2 of the Act) means; The land in or on which the pool is situated and so much of the surrounding area as is used for activities or purposes carried out in relation to, or involving the pool.

Can a building form part of the fence?

Buildings can form part of the fence however windows and doors that can open above and within the pool area have to meet certain requirements in the Act i.e. doors between the building and the immediate pool area must not be able to be readily opened by children and must either emit an audible warning when the door is open or close automatically after use and windows must be constructed or positioned to restrict the passage of children.

(Refer to the Swimming Pool Fencing Diagrams, in particular diagrams 3, 4 and 5.)

Selling with an unfenced pool

Home buyers can obtain a report, called a Land Information Memorandum, on the property they are buying. If there is a record of a non-complying pool on the property, this would be noted in the report. This could mean hasty and expensive action by you to remedy the situation and enable the sale to proceed.

Fail to meet the requirements

Failure to comply may result in expensive legal proceedings. Until your pool does comply with the Act, the pool must be empty or have a water depth of not more than 400mm.

Swimming pools in non-reticulated areas

Swimming pools in non-reticulated areas are still required to comply with the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016. Swimming pools on rural and lifestyle properties however are usually the primary source of water for firefighting purposes.  Pool owners should be aware of this if considering emptying their pools in order to comply with the Act. 

We want to help

We want to make Napier City a safer environment for everyone, including small children. Please contact us if you are unsure what you need to do.

Buildings can form part of the fence however windows and doors that can open above and within the pool area have to meet certain requirements in the Act i.e. doors between the building and the immediate pool area must not be able to be readily opened by children and must either emit an audible warning when the door is open or close automatically after use and windows must be constructed or positioned to restrict the passage of children.

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