Is it time to check your pool?

22 February 2022

With summer in full swing, this is an opportune time to remind property owners of the rules and responsibilities of owning a swimming pool and restricting access to children to protect them from harm.

If you rent a property with a swimming pool, guidance on the rules for tenants and landlords can be found on the tenancy website here:

Safety barriers

Pools are a lot of fun but they need to be kept safe for our young ones. A pool with a maximum depth of more than 400mm, including a temporary inflatable pool, must be surrounded by a barrier or fence. The physical barrier must restrict access to the pool or immediate pool area by unsupervised young children and comply with the NZ Building Code. You also need a building consent to construct the barrier.

A standard pool barrier or fencing must be constructed with the features below –

  • it must not be climbable
  • gates must self-close and latch 
  • any gaps must not be large enough for a child to get under or through (max. 100mm gaps)
  • it must be no less than 1.2m in height where it encloses the pool, unless the barrier is also the boundary fence, in which case it must be no less than 1.8m high. (Note: Additional requirements apply to boundary fences; please check with your designer).
  • Where a building also forms part of a barrier, specific requirements exist for any doors and windows a child could get through to access the pool.

Guidance on acceptable solutions for restricting access to pools is published by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment –

The 3-yearly checks

Under the Building Act 2004, pool owners must have their pools and barriers checked either by the Council or an independent qualified pool inspector every 3 years, to ensure the pool barriers meet the Building Code. For guidance on independent qualified pool inspectors, see the public register –

Within the South Wairarapa district there are over 400 pools. Council staff who are warranted may enter your property to carry out an inspection of a swimming pool and will make contact with you prior to their arrival. Council’s inspection fee can be found in our schedule of fees and charges.  Once a pool has been inspected, the Council will let you know if the pool barrier meets requirements.

If an inspection identifies improvements are required, property owners may be given time to complete work if plans to make the pool safe are evident and in progress.  If, after further inspection, work is found to not have been completed, further fees may apply.

To ensure the safety of our young children/tamariki, non-compliance will leave Council no option but to consider further enforcement options. 

For further information, please contact the Council’s Building Department on (06) 306 9611.

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