Pool Safety – Standards

New Standard to improve pool safety for young children

A new Standard NZS 8500:2006, released late 2006, will help to prevent children from drowning in swimming pools, spas and hot tubs.

The Standard is a guidance document for pool owners and councils to be used under the present Special Exemption process.

The Standard, “Safety barriers for young children around swimming pools, spas and hot tubs” provides clear guidance for the design and construction of safety barriers to restrict young children’s access to swimming pools. It sets out the layers of protective barriers such as fences, retaining walls and doors which will help to keep children safe.

The Standard addresses the lack of clarity and other outstanding issues in the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987, to give greater understanding around construction of safety barriers.  The fencing of swimming pools is addressed in both the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act and the Building Code. The national Standard gives clearer directions to pool owners, pool builders and retailers to ensure the safety of children.

The pool Standard was jointly funded by the Department of Building and Housing, Water Safety New Zealand and the Accident Compensation Corporation.

The committee that developed the Standard included representatives from: water safety and child safety organisations, Plunket, pool and spa manufacturers, councils, architects, designers, BRANZ (Building Research Association NZ) Limited and the Department of Building and Housing.

To obtain a copy of the Standard NZS 8500:2006 visit