Pool Safety – Legislation

Adequate fencing of swimming pools provides a physical barrier to young children and it has been proven to be successful because human factors such as supervision and closing doors can, and do, fail.

The Fencing of Swimming Pools Act (1987) is a positive legislation to enhance the safety of young children under six years of age. It has succeeded in lowering the drowning statistics from almost three deaths per month in 1987, to as few as four in recent years. There is however, still a need for vigilance and legislation especially in regard to the numerous portable spas that are presently being sold in New Zealand. Approximately 6000 spa pools are sold annually in New Zealand with around 5000 of those being sold in the Auckland region.

Requirements for home pools under the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act (1987)*

  • Any body of water deeper than 400mm requires fencing in accordance with the Act, including swimming pools, spa pools and portable or inflatable pools.
  • Exemptions are allowed for:
    – any structure or object where the maximum depth of water does not exceed 400mm.
    – any above ground pool where the top of the side wall is no less than 1.2 meters above the ground or any permanent object.
    – any internal spa/swimming pools which have a lockable door that is principally used for purposes other than the use of the pool.
  • Special exemptions may be granted by each local authority on a case by case basis. These can be costly and there is no guarantee they will be granted.  Standards NZ NZS 8500:2006 is a guidance document for this process.

The documents in Related Files (right) contain the legislative requirements to fencing your home pool. The Determinations are Building Industry Authority determinations on ‘ a lockable cover as a safety barrier for a spa pool (#2002/10) and ‘sliding and sliding-folding doors giving access to a swimming pool’. The Pool Owner’s Guide (Hastings District Council) offers useful information concerning the rules and regulations for building a swimming pool. Please note, this document is likely to change due to the recent declatory judgement made allowing BBQs and outdoor furniture in the ‘Immediate Pool Area’.

* The information provided on this page is a guide only and further information should be sought from your relevant council. For the Auckland region contact Auckland Council on (09) 301 0101 or visit their website.