Swimming Pool Rules

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If you’re a swimmer, swimming pools are truly wonderful. Or you may enjoy the aesthetics of a pool in a garden, or just hanging out by the pool. However you use them, there are very specific rules covering swimming pool installation. This covers any excavation, structure or product that is used or is capable of being used for swimming, wading, paddling or bathing (including spa pools) is defined as a swimming pool.

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The Fencing of Swimming Pools Act

The Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 exists to protect young children from the danger of drowning in unfenced swimming pools. It does this by requiring owners to fence their pools.

If your pool has the capability of water depth greater than 400mm (16 inches) then it is required to be fenced in accordance with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act. Note: this includes blow up and temporary pools. All pools, no matter when they were installed must comply with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act. The Act is being revised but the new rules have not taken effect yet so you still must meet the current rules.

Do pools require a building consent?

All pool fencing requires building consent, including that around spa pools, and some pools require consent for the construction of the pool itself.

Refer to the section on Building Consents for information about applying for building consent. Contact your local council if you have any questions about the information needed for a pool related building consent.

The Fence

The fence must only surround the pool and the area immediately around the pool. This area can only include things used in association with the pool, for example, changing sheds. It must not include things that are not relating to the pool for example, clotheslines, vegetable gardens and children’s play equipment.

Buildings may form part of the pool fence provided they comply with the Act, for example, there must be no opening doors out to the area outside that fenced. Boundary fences may form part of the pool fence provided they meet the requirements of the Act.

The Council (only) can grant an exemption from meeting the requirements of the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act. Council will only grant an exemption if it is satisfied that the circumstances will not significantly increase the danger to young children.

Swimming Pool Checklist

Item of Compliance 
1. Height of Fence not less than 1.2m or pool is 1.2m above ground with smooth, vertical sides
2. Gap under fence and gate less than 100mm
3. Gaps between vertical cladding less than 100mm
4. Horizontal rails at correct height & spacing minimum 900mm between closest rails
5. Mesh/netting: no opening greater than 10mm for fence 1.2m high or 50mm for fence 1.8m high
6. Gate opens outwards
7. Gate latches automatically
8. Latch on gate self locking
9. Top bolts on ranchsliders
10. Steps into above ground pools removable if applicable
11. Doors and windows giving access to pool area comply
12. Pool area contains only pool equipment
13. Anything permanent outside the pool area that is able to be climbed on is at least 1.2m away from the fence.
14. Has the pool been given a clearance for Fencing of Swimming Pools Act
15. If the pool height is more than 1.2m off the ground then it doesn't requre a fence.

Note: This checklist is provided for your convenience but does not cover every situation. Please check with your local authority.

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