On the 1st January 2017 new fencing of swimming pool laws came into force. This law replaces the previous “Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987”. The new laws affect property owners who have residential pools on their property. The key changes from the previous laws are;
- Mandatory inspections of swimming pools are required every three years by a qualified pool inspector (IQPI).
- Spa pools and small swimming pools (less than 5m2 and 760mm high walls) can use a safety cover as their barrier and don’t need to be fenced. There are additional requirements with these such as requiring signage, be strong enough and easily returned to the closed position – and possibly more requirements to come.
- The building code requires self-closing doors with audible alarms fitted, where they open within the fenced area of the swimming pool
- Owners must obtain a building consent when installing swimming pool fencing – except for spa pools which are exempt – but still must comply!
- Any pool with a depth of 400mm or more is required to have safety barriers to prevent access by a child under the age of 5.
Pool fencing in the past on some properties has been granted an exemption by the local council under the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 that was in place at the time. Those exemptions may now not apply and those pools are likely to not comply with the new rules.
Properties that are on the market to be sold may end up having the swimming pool fencing assessed by a pre purchase building inspector while carrying out a builders report. In some cases that building inspector may have been requested to provide a certificate for the compliance of the fencing as part of their inspection and report.
So for the safety of children and to prevent future problems when selling your property it would be wise to ensure your swimming pool fence (or any other type of pool) is compliant. However, in any case the pool fencing must be inspected once every 3 years commencing from January 2017.
For guidance for pool owners follow this link to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment web page that provides the rules on fencing pools – https://www.building.govt.nz/building-code-compliance/f-safety-of-users/pool-safety/guidance-for-pool-owners/safety-guidance-for-pool-owners/