All residential pools must have compliant pool barriers to keep young children safe.

You’ll find detailed pool safety guidance on the MBIE website(external link) 

Some key points about pool barriers:

  • All residential pools more than 40cm deep must have a physical barrier that restricts access to children under the age of five years old.
  • Pool barriers must meet the requirements of the Building Code(external link) and the Building Act 2004. 
  • Portable pools are treated in the same way as other pools and must have a barrier if they can hold 40cm or more depth of water.
  • A safety cover can be the barrier that restricts access to a small heated pool, such as a spa pool, providing the pool is a certain height and size.
  • Pools should be on our pools register and must be inspected for compliance every three years. 

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

All pools in Christchurch should be on our pools register and swimming pools must be inspected every three years to make sure their barriers are compliant.

You can choose to have a pool inspection carried out by the Council, or an Independently Qualified Pool Inspector(external link) .

Find out more about pool inspections.(external link)


An inspection fee will be charged for each pool compliance inspection.

As at December 2020, fees are:

Inspection type


Periodic inspection fee (the fee charged for the 3-yearly inspection - s22A, Building Act 2004)


Compliance inspection fee (may be charged for any subsequent inspections after initial inspection)


Compliance inspection administration fee (may be charged for any subsequent inspections after initial inspection)


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

You’ll need to get a building consent before building a new pool. This is because installing a pool fence is considered building work under the Building Act 2004.

Find out more about building consents.

View our checklist for an application for a building consent for a pool barrier [PDF, 206 KB].

The building consent process does incur costs. Visit our building consents fees page for more information.

We keep a register of all pools in Christchurch so they can be inspected. You can check if your pool is on our register by calling us on 03 941 8727.

To let us know that you intend to remove your pool please email and we will be able to give you further advice.

The removal of the swimming pool may trigger the requirement for a resource consent. For advice on this, please email our planning team at  or phone 03 941 8999 and ask to speak to the duty planner. 

Once we have verified that your pool has been removed, we will take it off our register. 

To remove or demolish a small heated pool like a spa, you do not require a building consent. 


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 don’t 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.

To prevent water backflow from your spa or pool:

  • Install a hose-tap vacuum breaker in the hose that feeds the pool.


  • Install a backflow prevention device at the property’s boundary, where the water meter is located.

More information about backflow prevention

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

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.

Permission isn’t needed to put pool water into our wastewater (sewer) network in Christchurch. 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’s 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 on your land, and your neighbour’s.
  • If you live rurally on the flat, your pool can be emptied directly into the ground. Please do not empty your pool water into a water course or septic tank system.

If you are thinking about installing a swimming pool or spa, or you have questions about pool barriers that aren’t answered on these pages or at the MBIE website(external link) please contact us on 03 941 8999 or email