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Swimming and Spa Pool Fences

The Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 came into effect on 1 January 2017 and requires all pools with a maximum depth of water of 400mm or more to:

  • have a physical barrier that restricts access; and
  • be inspected every three years.

The Amendment Act repealed the Fencing Swimming Pools Act 1987 and inserted new provisions relating to residential pools into the Building Act 2004. Any work to do with swimming pool fencing requires building consent - regardless of whether a pool already exists or is being installed.

More about fencing swimming pool inspection process

Swimming pool owners can choose who undertakes the three-yearly inspection of their pool: either the Territorial Authority (Local Council), or an Independently Qualified Pool Inspector (IQPI).

An IQPI is a person accepted by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) as qualified to carry out the periodic inspections. Trading Standards has a list of IQPI’s available online and will add to it when more register. Refer to the Trading Standards website for the public register.

Council has a legal obligation to make sure all pool barriers comply with the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016. If you’re a pool owner, we will send you a letter informing you when your pool inspection is due. You will be able to choose to hire an IPQI in your area to inspect your pool, or have Council carry out the inspection at a cost per inspection, as outlined in our Fees and Charges.

If your inspection shows that your pool isn’t compliant, you’ll have time to get it up to standard and we’ll keep in touch to make sure we can help you get there.

It’s now the law for pool owners to make sure their pool barriers comply, so owners who don’t can be issued with a “Notice to fix” under the Building Act if action isn’t taken.

You can read more about the Pool Safety Legislation on the MBIE website.

Spa pools and small heated pools

If you have a spa or small heated pool and it meets the conditions below, then the three-yearly mandatory inspections won’t apply to it and you’ll be responsible for its compliance. We’ll just need to check it once to be sure it complies.

Spa pools can use lockable lids as a barrier if:

  • the pool has walls at least 760mm high and can’t be climbed; and
  • the water surface area is 5 square meters (5 sq. m) or less; and
  • the cover restricts entry of children under 5 years of age when closed; and
  • the cover is capable of supporting a reasonably foreseeable load, and can be easily returned to the closed position; and
  • the cover has signage indicating its child safety features

Updating your details

If you are a pool owner and have any changes to your pool ownership status, including small heated pools, you can send an email to building@mdc.govt.nz or you can contact the Support Team on (06) 323 0000.

For more information, see restricting access to residential pools on the MBIE website.