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New pool safety legislation comes into effect on 1 January 2017.

21 December 2016

New and improved laws around swimming pool fencing take effect from 1 January 2017, with the aim to better protect children from drowning in swimming pools, while also making the requirements more practical and enforceable.

The Government has repealed the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 and from 1 January the rules will be part of the Building Act 2004. However, owners’ responsibility for safety has not been relaxed, as some may believe.

Here’s what you need to know about the changes:
  • All pools must still have a complying barrier that restricts access to the pool for children under the age of 5 years.
  • If your pool barrier complied with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act, it should continue to comply with the Building Act.
  • By law your pool barrier will  be checked every three years and the inspection will be chargeable. This will not apply to small heated pools  (spa pools/ hot tubs) that meet all of the  exemption criteria:
  1. A surface area of max. 5 metres squared; and
  2. 760mm height to top of the pool with un-climbable sides; and
  3. A complying lockable lid.

 

  • The details around what is required for compliance are not yet available. Consultation has been done by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the regulations are due to be published in the New Year.
  • 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.
  • Indoor pools are no longer exempt and the pool owner must now  register an indoor pool with the Council and have compliant means of preventing access to the pool for children under the age of 5years.
For more information:

For more information on the new pool safety legislation visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website here.