SWIMMING POOLS -
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS?
A pool is a great asset for the home and family, but pools can also be a potential danger for young children. Private swimming pools are the single most significant water danger for pre-schoolers according to Water Safety New Zealand drowning statistics.
When did the new pool safety legislation come into effect? 01 January 2017
Why have the laws been changed? Although accidental deaths per year from drowning have reduced significantly in the last 30 years since legislation first came into effect, we can reduce this even further by ensuring the steps taken at completion of swimming pool sign-off by Council remain in place during the lifespan of pools and spa pools.
The new legislation provides additional enforcement tools to territorial authorities to help ensure safety around residential pools is maintained by owners.
Am I required to have fencing for my temporary inflatable pool? If the inflatable pool has the capability of being filled to 400mm or more then yes, you will be required to fence the pool as per the legislation to restrict access by young children. It remains important to watch your children closely while they are playing in the pool.
Manufacturers and retailers of swimming pools and spa pools must inform buyers of their responsibilities by providing notices with these products. Also refer to Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment Guidance for pool owners.
Will the current fencing around my pool meet the new fencing requirements if it complied with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987? If your fencing was deemed compliant then you should not need to do anything further. You will however, need to ensure your pool is inspected every three years to remain compliant
What are the changes to doors opening into pool areas? All doors must be self-closing or be fitted with alarms that sound if the doors don’t close after someone goes through them.
Does my spa pool need a fence and/or a building consent? There are some parameters for ‘small heated pools’ that do not require a fence. They need to:
- be less than 5m2 surface area of the water
- be a minimum of 760mm high
- have no steps permanently attached
- have a complying lockable lid
See further information on safety covers on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.
Manufacturers and retailers of swimming pools and spa pools must inform buyers of their responsibilities by providing notices with these products. It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure fences, self-closing gates and latches continue to operate correctly and are maintained.
I have an existing pool/spa and it doesn’t comply with new legislation, what do I do? Contact your local pool fencing supplier and/or window and door hardware supplier who should be able to supply and (if necessary) make the required adjustments to ensure your pool is compliant. Before commencing work, check with the Council Building team to see if the extent of work you are doing will require a building consent (see fees and charges for Building consent costs)
Are there any changes to the building consent process? The process for applying remains the same, although you will need ongoing inspections.
When will I need to have my pool inspected? You will need to have three yearly inspections, six months before or after the anniversary date of your last pool or small heated pool inspection. The anniversary date is the date of issue of the Code of Compliance Certificate or the Certificate of Acceptance.You may be subject to Notices to fix and infringements from 01/01/17 if your pool fencing does not comply.
Where must the fence be situated?
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, filter shed, pump house, seating, decking and paving. It should not include the clothes line, vegetable garden, driveway or area used for other outdoor activities.
General pool fencing guidelines
Pool fencing should prevent children up to six years old from climbing over, under or through it to gain access to a pool. Check that:
- All fencing is at least 1.2m above ground level and there is a 1.2m wide unobstructed clear area around the outside (so for example, if there is decking within 1.2m of the fence, then the fence must be at least 1.2m above the level of the decking).
- No space under the bottom of the gate or fence is greater than 100mm at any point.
- There are no holes or gaps between fence pickets or bars in excess of 100mm that may provide children access to the pool area.
- Horizontal support rails on the outside of a fence are at least 900mm apart. (Council recommends that there be no horizontal braces on the outside of a fence).
- Gates open away from the pool and automatically close and latch from an opening distance as small as 150mm.
- Gate hinges, automatic closing devices and latches work properly at all times.
- Any windows in walls forming part of the pool fence that are less than 1.2m from the floor do not open more than 100mm.
- Any doors in walls forming part of the pool fence are fitted with a self-closer capable of latching the door shut from a distance of 150mm from the closed position. The latch must be at least 1.5m above finished floor level.
- There are no objects close to the pool fence or otherwise accessible that could assist young children climbing the fence particularly where the property boundary fence forms part of the pool fence. Check that:
- Horizontal supports on the neighbour's side of the fence are no less than 900mm apart, (or ask your neighbour to remove the braces).
- There are no objects like compost bins, firewood stacks or similar that could assist young children climbing the fence.
- There are no trees within 1.2m of the outside of the fence that could assist young children climbing the fence.
Need further information?
Helpful information is available by visiting the following websites:
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
- Building Code Clause F9 Restricting access to residential pools
- Guidance for pool owners
- Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016
- Building (Pools) Regulations 2016
Council Building Officers can provide you with any other information you may need.
Telephone: 03 314 8816