Like any building consent, safety is central to the legal requirements for new above ground or in ground pools, spas and/or associated fencing.

Changes to pool fence requirements

A law change means the requirements for fencing of swimming pools are covered by the Building Act 2004.

Here's some information about the fencing of pools:

  • All pools must still have a complying barrier.
  • If your pool barrier complied with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act, it should continue to comply with the Building Act.
  • Section 5 of the fencing of Swimming Pools Act (Exempt pools) no longer applies, under F9 Means of restricting access to residential pools.
  • Section 6 (Special Exemption) is applicable for residential pools that meet the requirements of F9 constructed prior 1st January 2017.
  • Your pool barrier will be inspected every three years.

After carrying out an initial inspection on a small heated pool or spa pool to ensure it meets the following criteria we will remove it from the requirement of regular future inspections.

  1. Water surface area of five square metres or less.
  2. 760mm unclimbable sides.
  3.  A complying lockable lid.

The details around what is required for compliance are available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website(external link), under building code clause F9.

  • Unsupervised access via faulty gates and fences is a leading cause of children drowning or being injured in pools. Make sure fences/barriers, self-closing gates and latches are maintained and working correctly.
  • Inflatable pools are popular with young families. They’re fun for children and don’t need a barrier if they are not capable of holding more than a 399mm depth of water. i.e. the sides are less than 400mm high. Children should be watched closely at all times and the pool emptied after use.
  • Doors must either self-close or have an alarm to comply with the new rules. 
  • Doors are required to have a self-latching device at least 1500mm above the ground.
  • Exemptions are no longer available but under the Building Act you can apply for a waiver or modification.

For more information, see the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website(external link).

Pool fences

The minimum height for a pool barrier is 1.2m above ground level.

No space under the bottom of the gate or fence can be greater than 100mm from the ground, and there should be no other holes or gaps through which a child could access the pool area.

If a window in a wall forming part of the fence is less than 1000mm from the floor, it cannot open more than 100mm. Gates must open away from the pool, and automatically close and latch when released from any distance from the open position.

Immediate pool area

Activities that may be carried out in the immediate pool area are those that involve the pool or are in relation to it. However, an activity may also be carried out independently of the use of the pool. For example, a barbeque and outdoor furniture could be located in the immediate pool area but not a clothes line or vegetable garden. 

There must not be any objects within 1.2m of the fence (or otherwise accessible) which could help a young child climb the fence.

If you are unsure whether your fence complies, or are thinking about installing a swimming pool or spa, please contact us on 03 941 8999.

Pool inspections

Your swimming or spa pool fence must remain compliant at all times for the safety of young children.

Council pool inspectors will inspect existing pools at least once every three years, within six months (before or after) the pool's anniversary date, to ensure they have adequate barriers and follow the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016.

An inspection fee will be charged for each inspection. Please refer to the Compliance fees for swimming pool inspections.

To book an inspection or enquire about a booked inspection for an existing pool, please contact us on 03 941 8727.

The Council can accept a certificate of inspection from an Independently Qualified Pool Inspector(external link) (IQPI) as an alternative to the Council inspection.

Further information in relation to the IQPI process(external link)

To remove your pool from our register

To let us know that you intend to remove your pool you need to email fspInspections@ccc.govt.nz and we will provide further advice.

The removal of the swimming pool may trigger the requirement for a resource consent it is recommended that the customer contact the Councils duty planner for advice. DutyPlanner@ccc.govt.nz

Once satisfied we can then remove your pool from our swimming pool register and suspend future inspections. If we have recently visited your property to confirm the removal of your pool, we will still charge the inspection fee.

To remove or demolish a residential or small heated pool you do not require a building consent. 

 

Fees

Refer to the Building Consents Fee Schedule.

Please note: fixed fees and minimum application fees do not always cover all of the consent related costs of an application.

For further guidance and advice