Residential Swimming Pool and Spa Pool Safety

All residential pools must have a compliant pool barrier to restrict access to the pool by unsupervised children under 5 years of age.

A Pool is defined as any excavation or structure of a kind that is used for swimming, paddling or bathing, or any product (other than an ordinary home bath) that is designed or modified to be used for swimming, wading, paddling or bathing; but does not include an artificial lake unless the artificial lake has been designed for swimming/wading/paddling or bathing.

  • Pool barriers must meet the requirements of the Building Code and the Building Act 2004. The Government repealed the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987, from 1 January 2017.
  • All pools with a maximum depth of 400mm or more that is filled or partly filled with water must have means of restricting access.
  • A safety cover could be used as an Alternative Solution for Small Heated Pools (using the cover as a barrier) only if it is proven it meets all the criteria for Small Heated pools. This alternative solution is only for small heated pools with a surface area of 5m2 or less, where the top surface of every wall of the pool is at all points not less than 760mm above the adjacent floor or ground and the walls of the pool inhibit climbing.  The cover must restrict the entry of children when closed, and be able to withstand a reasonably foreseeable load, and be able to be readily returned to the closed position, and have signage indicating its child safety features.
    See MBIE Acceptable Solutions F9/AS2, and New Zealand Standard NZS 8500:2006 Safety Barriers and Fences around Swimming Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs for full details.
  • All residential pools should be on our Pool Register and must be inspected for Compliance every three years. Some small heated spa pools may be exempt but we would need to inspect the Pool to ascertain if it fits this criteria.

As a Pool owner, you are responsible for regularly checking your covers, locks, latches and fences are compliant, maintained and working correctly.


Compliance Resources


Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need to check your pool is on the register?
Email if you need to check, or ring 03 2111 777 and ask to speak to the Building Compliance Officer for Pools.  Or send your enquiry to with your address if you are unsure you pool is on our register.

I have removed/disposed of the pool, what do I do to get it removed from the register?
Please email us at

Are you building a new pool?
Your swimming pool (unless it is a small heated pool fitting the exempt criteria) will require a building consent for Pool fencing and possibly for the Pool itself, if the pool is of a size not covered under Schedule 1 of the Building Act.  To find this document go to our website under Building and follow the link to ‘Work that does not require a building consent’.

Building Consents processed by Invercargill City Council are now submitted online via our portal simpli.  See the ICC webpage for building for links.  Note: You may require a resource consent, please contact our Duty Planner to check by emailing

What if my Spa pool has a surface area larger than 5m2?
Your pool will require fencing to restrict access, you will need to apply for a building consent for the fencing and refer to the above links as to what is required for a pool barrier.

What if my Pool was installed before the rule changes and was compliant with the old legislation?
Means of restricting access must comply with the requirements of the building code – a) that are in force; or b) that were in force when the pool was constructed, erected or installed (after 1 September 1987) and in respect of which a building consent, code compliance certificate, or certificate of acceptance was issued (in relation to the means of restricting access to the pools).  It must have been compliant and continue to be compliant.

Filling/Emptying my pool?
Swimming pools can be a risk to contaminating the potable water supply.  The New Zealand Building Code Clause G12 Water Supplies places swimming pools as a Medium Hazard.  This means a backflow device should be in place to stop contaminated water going back into the potable water supply.   You may need a hose tap vacuum breaker, or non-return value fitted to your hose tap.  These are available from Plumbing supply shops.  For emptying your pool or spa responsibly, please dispose of used pool water by emptying your wastewater into our wastewater plant treatment network by waste water drain.

What happens if my pool fails its inspection?
Your pool should be emptied and remain emptied until the matters are resolved and inspected.  You may be issued a notice to fix.  It is an offence to not comply with a Notice to Fix, and you can be fined up to $5000.  If you are unsure about the status of your pool since its last inspection please contact us by emailing: and please advise your address, and pool reference if you have it available.  This will be an ICC POL number or SW number.

Are there fees and charges?
Fees and charges can be found on our website, by going to Departments, Building, Building Fees, Residential fees calculation sheet.  Swimming Pool fees are listed under ‘Additional Plumbing Elements’.  There is a fee for the 3 yearly inspection once you are on the register.

What about glass near pools?
If you have windows or doors with glazing in near to your Swimming pool or Spa pool the glazing should be safety glass.  Under Standards New Zealand NZS 4223.3:2016  3.3 “glazing wholly or partly within 2000mm vertically and within 2000mm horizontally of the walking surface alongside spa pools and swimming pools shall be safety glass”.