Swimming pool fencing
Following the repeal of The Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 the requirements to install barriers around pools, to protect young children from the dangers of unfenced swimming pools, is now covered under the Building Act and the New Zealand Building clause Code F9. The Act and Building Code set out the types of barriers/fencing or other requirements you need to have around your pool. It is a requirement that all spa pools, hot tubs and swimming pools in our district are registered. Although some spa type pools with lockable lids are exempt from the requirements for fences certain other criteria apply. Pools such as blow up type pools, even if only temporary, require barriers to safeguard children under fiver years old.
Private swimming pools are the single most significant water hazard for pre-school children. Studies in New Zealand and overseas have shown that most drownings involve the children of pool owners and visitors, rather than wandering children. A boundary fence is not a satisfactory safety measure – the immediate pool area also needs to be fenced.
Pool owner's obligations
Pool owners must advise Council that they have a pool on their property. You need a Building Consent before constructing any type of pool or building or altering a fence/barrier around a pool. Empty pools can also be hazardous and care should be taken to ensure no one can fall into an empty pool.
If you rent/lease a house with an unfenced pool (or that has a pool with a non-complying fence/barrier), the pool must stay empty.
We are required to take all reasonable steps to make sure the Act is complied with. This means every pool has to be inspected regularly. This is set by legislation to ensure the safety features like fences/barriers, comply with the Act and Building Code. For this reason, Council has a three-yearly inspection programme in place. Inspections are charged as per the fees and charges schedule and comprise of an administration and field inspection component. Failed inspections will incur additional fees.
If you own or control an unfenced pool, you are committing an offence under the Act and are liable for prosecution. A number of prosecutions have recently been taken against owners of properties with inadequately fenced pools, in which children have drowned.
What pools need to be fenced?
All pools require suitable fence/barriers where they are associated with an abode, unless other features are present as describe in the Building Act - please refer to the New Zealand Building clause F9.
What standard of fencing/barrier is required?
Before constructing a pool fence/barrier, you will require a Building Consent. The Building Code clause F9 sets out the standard of fencing/barriers required.
There may be alternate solutions to your pool fencing requirements under New Zealand Standard (NZS8500:2006). Please consult with a council Building Officer on these options. Refer to Safety Guidance for Pool Owners for more information.
If you have an urgent enquiry you can phone 0800 920 029 or 09 401 5200, you can also lodge a request online at my.fndc.govt.nz.