Under the Building Act 2004, all in-ground residential pools must have compliant pool barriers to keep young children safe at all times. This includes some spas and temporary pools.

Register your spa or swimming pool

All residential swimming pools more than 40cm deep need to be registered. Small heated pools that don't have an acceptable lockable lid(external link) also need to be registered. 

There is no charge to register your pool. 

Once registered, we automatically schedule safety checks of your pool barriers every three years.

Let us know if you have removed a swimming pool from your property(external link) so we can update our records and stop inspections.

Homeowners, tenants, landlords and property managers carry joint responsibility for pool safety.

If you are building a new pool, you may need a building consent if your planned pool fence is considered building work under the Building Act 2004.

This includes any pool that sits above ground where the sides of the pool form a part of the barrier.

If you are thinking about installing a swimming pool or spa, or you have questions you can not answer on the MBIE website(external link), you can discuss your installation with our Duty Building Control Officer. Phone 03 941 8999 or by email to dutyBCO@ccc.govt.nz before you begin.

To help you apply, refer to our pool barrier application check sheet - Form B-054 [DOCX, 88 KB] (also available as a PDF [PDF, 200 KB]). This check sheet will need to accompany your application.

Getting a building consent does incur fees. Visit building consents fees(external link) for more information.

Make sure your pool is always secure and safe by completing regular maintenance of your pool barriers and gates.

Pool barriers

Your pool barrier must:

  • Restrict access to the pool and the immediate pool area.
  • Be at least 1.2 metres above the ground and any permanent projections, such as steps, retaining walls, raised gardens, or objects placed on the ground within 1.2 meters of the barrier.
  • Have no climbable features on the outside of the barrier or adjoining barrier that could be used for climbing unless they are spaced at least 900mm apart.
  • Not have any gaps that exceed 100mm in or under it, including pet doors.

If your pool barrier features a building or boundary fence, see other structures used as part of the pool barrier [PDF, 703KB](external link).

If you'd like more guidance on the type of pool barriers that are suitable, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment(external link) has put together an information brochure. The diagrams starting on page 12 are considered helpful.

Trellis or mesh fencing

If your trellis or mesh fencing around the pool is:

  • Higher than 1.8 metres, you must have openings 35mm or less or be fitted with a protective cover.
  • Between 1.2metres and  1.8 metres high, you must have openings 10mm or less or be fitted with a protective cover.

Inside the pool area

Non-pool related items and activities cannot be located inside the pool area.

This includes:

  • Clotheslines.
  • Play equipment.
  • Vegetable gardens.
  • Dog kennels.
  • General storage areas.

Gates

Gates into the pool area must:

  • Open away from the pool area.
  • Self-close and self-latch unaided from any distance.
  • Comply with the rules for fences.

The gate latch must:

  • Be a minimum of 1.5 metres above the ground and any objects within 1.2 metres of the barrier, if accessible from the outside of the pool barrier.
  • Be inaccessible from the outside except by reaching at least 1.2 metres if mounted on the inside of the gate.
  • Be at least 150mm from the top or be shielded, if the latch is accessible only by reaching over the gate.

Around the pool area

  • Ensure there are no trees that could assist young children in climbing the fence.
  • External removable ladders must be disabled or removed after use.
  • For pools installed after 1 January 2017, ladders are not allowed unless they are surrounded by a complying barrier and gate.

All residential swimming pools, and some small heated pools, must be registered(external link)

If your small heated pool has an acceptable lockable lid(external link) it does not need to be registered.

There is no charge to register your pool. 

Once your pool is registered, we automatically schedule safety checks of your pool barriers, approximately once every three years.

If you obtained building consent for your pool, your pool should already be registered, however, you can check this by calling us on 03 941 8727.

Using a Council inspector

We automatically schedule safety checks for pool barriers, approximately once every three years.

Around two weeks before the inspection, we will send you a letter advising of your inspection.

If an inspector has trouble accessing your property because of security restrictions or dogs, or if you want to be home when the inspector comes, you will need to contact us and book an inspection.

To book an inspection or enquire about a booked inspection for an existing pool, contact us on 03 941 8727 or email fspinspections@ccc.govt.nz

An inspection fee is charged for each pool compliance inspection. As of 1 July 2021, fees are:

  • Compliance inspection fee (subsequent inspections after initial inspection): $130.00
  • Compliance inspection administration fee: $45.40
  • Periodic inspection fee (s.222A, Building Act 2004): $130.00

An invoice will be sent to the address we have on record. If you have changed your address, phone us on 03 941 8999 to update your address details. 

The invoice details how to pay for your pool inspection.

Using an independent qualified pool inspector

You can choose to use an independent qualified pool inspector(external link) instead of using a Council inspector

The independent qualified pool inspector will issue you a certificate of periodic inspection certifying the pool barrier complies.

You can email your certificate to fspinspections@ccc.govt.nz including your:

  • full name
  • address
  • contact phone number

Email fspinspections@ccc.govt.nz if you want to use an independent qualified pool inspector. 

Unsuccessful safety checks

If your pool barrier fails the inspection, we will automatically book to re-inspect it 21 days later. If it is considered particularly dangerous, we will re-inspect it 48 hours later. 

If our inspector comes to your property and cannot gain access to the pool area, we will still charge you for this site visit and you will need to book a return assessment time.

Email fspinspections@ccc.govt.nz if you will not be able to complete the required work to pass your inspection before your re-inspection.

Notice to fix

When required, we can issue a 'Notice to fix' under the Building Act 2004 for a non-complying pool or pool barrier.

A $370 fee can apply instead of the standard inspection fee.

If you do not comply with the ‘Notice to fix’, you could receive a $500 infringement notice, or be prosecuted with a maximum fine of $5000 and a criminal conviction.

Exemptions are no longer available, but under the Building Act, there is a provision to apply for a waiver or modification as part of your building consent process.

Your small heated pool does not need an inspection every three years if it meets the following criteria:

  • A water surface area of 5 square metres or less.
  • 760mm high unclimbable sides, including no steps.
  • A complying lockable lid that must:
    • Be capable of supporting 20kg of weight at its centre.
    • Have hold-down straps and fasteners capable of fixing the cover in place so there is no opening greater than 100mm.
    • Have fasteners with a minimum main width of 33mm.
    • Have a prominently displayed hazard warning notice, such as ‘Warning, this spa pool cover must be kept locked except when under adult supervision.

Be constructed with a slope from the centre to the outside to prevent water from collecting on top.

Filling your pool

When filling your pool, it’s really important you don't contaminate our water supply.

Backflow is one of the biggest risks to our public water supply and can seriously affect the quality and safety of our drinking water. As a property owner, you are legally responsible for making sure you do not contaminate the public water supply.

Swimming and spa pools are considered medium backflow hazards under the New Zealand Building Code.

The water backflow hazards normally found at swimming pools are cross-connections between the public water supply and:

  • Below-rim inlets.
  • Hoses left running and dropped into spas or pools.
  • Direct connections at chlorination equipment.

You will need to install one of the following devices to prevent water backflow from your spa or pool:

  • A hose-tap vacuum breaker in the hose that feeds the pool.
  • A backflow prevention device at the property’s boundary, where the water meter is located. A backflow prevention device requires building consent before installation.

More information about backflow prevention(external link).

Talk to your pool supplier or local plumbing merchant about the right option for your pool or spa.

Emptying your pool

Swimming and spa pools contain chlorine and other substances that are harmful to the environment and toxic to fish. To protect our rivers, streams and wetlands, it’s important that only rain goes into our stormwater network.

It’s easy to do the right thing with your pool water.

In Christchurch, permission isn’t needed to put pool water into our wastewater (sewer) network.

In fact, all chlorinated water, saltwater and filter-backwash water must be put into the wastewater network via pool plumbing, a gully trap, or a sink.

Your pool water will then go to our wastewater plant, where it will be treated to a high standard before being released back into the environment.

There are also these things to consider:

  • If you empty your pool at the end of summer, please do it during dry weather, when the wastewater network is better able to cope with the extra flow of water.
  • If your pool is in-ground, you may need to take precautionary measures if groundwater is high, or an issue, in your area.
  • If you live on a slope, you will need to be mindful of how the runoff could impact your land and your neighbours.
  • If you live rurally on the flat, your pool can be emptied directly into the ground. You will need to take care that it does not drain into a watercourse or impact another property. It should also not drain into a septic tank system. We suggest that you check any chemical levels, in particular chlorine, to ensure they are low before emptying the pool as these can have an impact on plantings.

To remove or demolish a small heated pool like a spa, you do not require building consent, however, the removal of the swimming pool may require resource consent, in particular, if it is an in-ground pool.

For advice on this, please email our planning team at DutyPlanner@ccc.govt.nz or phone 03 941 8999 and ask to speak to the duty planner. 

Once your pool has been removed, please let us know and we will take it off our register(external link)

Remove a pool from the register

Let us know if you have removed a swimming pool from your property so we can update our records and stop inspections.

If you are thinking about installing a swimming pool or spa, or you have questions about pool barriers that aren’t answered here or at the MBIE website(external link), contact us on 03 941 8999 or email fspinspections@ccc.govt.nz.