Pool safety barriers
New pool safety legislation came into effect on 1 January 2017. The Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 repealed the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 and the requirements for restricting access to residential pools are now covered under the Building Act 2004.
Under new legislation, we are required to undertake regular inspections. Even if your swimming pool barriers have been inspected and deemed compliant, we need to inspect again every three years.
Spa pools (small heated pools)
The new legislation no longer requires spa pools to be fenced. Spa pools can use lockable lids as a barrier as long as they comply with the relevant criteria.
We are not required to periodically inspect spa pools or small heated pools providing they have a lockable lid that has been inspected by us and deemed compliant with the specified criteria.
What is an immediate pool area'?
The area that is directly related to the use of the pool and may include a pump shed, change rooms, decking or paving, pool furniture and a barbecue/dining area.
The pool area should not be a thoroughfare, provide access to other outbuildings, or accommodate other outdoor activities such as clotheslines, vegetable gardens or children's play equipment.
Does my pool need safety barriers?
If your pool has a water depth of 400mm or more, it must have safety barriers.Safety barriers aren't needed:
- if the pool sits above ground with smooth vertical walls 1.2m or more high, with no permanent steps or objects that would let a small child climb into the pool.
- if people are employed specifically to supervise the pool when it's in use, and the entire pool facility is locked at all other times.
- if the pool is less than 400mm deep (such as a shallow paddling pool or an empty swimming pool). A responsible adult should supervise the use of paddling pools at all times. You should also note that if the empty pool has a fall of more than one metre you will need to comply with another part of the Building code - clause F4.
Clause F4 Safety from falling
What sort of barrier does my pool need?
Pool safety barriers must fully enclose the pool area and should prevent young children from moving directly into the pool area from the house, other buildings, gardens or other parts of the property.
A boundary fence may act as an effective pool safety barrier, providing it meets legislative requirements. There must be nothing on the neighbour's side, such as stored materials, close horizontal toe holds etc. that a small child could use to scale the barrier.
Spa pools can use lockable lids as barriers as long as they meet the specified criteria.
Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment: Safety covers for small heated pools
Further information about the Pools Act, what type of barriers you need and owner's responsibilities is available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website:
Safety guidance for pool owners
Building Act 2004 clause F9 - Restricting access to residential pools
Acceptable Solutions F9/AS1 and F9/AS2 (PDF, 703KB)
We will let you know when your inspection is due and arrange a suitable time to inspect.
An officer will inspect the barriers around the pool to make sure they comply with the Building Act 2004 (the Act). A checksheet will be completed and photos taken as evidence of compliance or non-compliance with the Act.
If the pool passes the inspection, you will receive a letter advising compliance and the next inspection date will be set for three years' time.
If the inspection fails, we will send you a copy of the checksheet outlining the non-compliant areas. A timeframe to complete the required work to make the pool barriers compliant will be included in the letter.
A further inspection will be required to sign off the pool.
There will be a fee at the current rate charged for inspections.