Pool fence rule changes

The Government has repealed the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 from 1 January 2017. The rules are part of the Building Act 2004 and owners’ responsibility for safety has not been relaxed as some may believe. Here’s some information you need to know about the changes:

  • All pools must still have a complying barrier.
  • If your pool barrier complied with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act, it should continue to comply with the Building Act.
  • Your pool barrier will still be checked every three years. This will not apply to spa pools that meet all of the exemption criteria:

1. A surface area of 5sq/m.
2.  760mm unclimbable sides
3. A complying lockable lid.

  • The details around what is required for compliance are available here: https://www.building.govt.nz/building-code-compliance/f-safey-of-users/pool-safety/
  • It is the owners’ responsibility to make sure fences, self closing gates and latches are maintained and working correctly.
  • Blow up pools are popular with families. They’re fun for children and don’t need a fence if the maximum water level is less than 40cm. But children should be watched closely at all times and the pool emptied after use.
  • Doors from the  inside of a building opening into the pool area must either self-close or have an alarm to comply with the new rules. As noted , the details around what is required for compliance are not yet available.
  • The requirement for boundary fences has not changed but the MBIE has proposed other options for higher fences although these are not yet confirmed. Best practice is to isolate and fence the pool independently.
  • Exemptions are no longer available but under the Building Act there is provision to apply for a waiver or modification.

For more information visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.