You may be aware that public submissions are open for the Building (Pools) Amendment Bill. This Bill repeals the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 and amends the Building Act 2004.

WaterSafe Auckland has led the reduction in home pool drownings in Auckland from an average of three in 2002 to less than one in 2015. We have delivered a home pool safety project in conjunction with Councils for the past 12 years, been represented on the development of the Standards NZ 8500:2006 Swimming barriers and fences around swimming pools, spas and hot tubs, and developed Territorial Authority training in conjunction with Auckland Councils through the Building Industry Authority.

We are very concerned about the proposed legislation. The announced aim is to ‘reduce the compliance burden currently imposed on pool owners and territorial authorities in relation to residential pools’… while maintaining child safety. It is unclear how child safety will be increased by using the same type of building policy process that contributed to Leaky Homes and (among other actions) reducing pool inspections from three yearly to five yearly. If enough people tell this government child safety is important to them, then the child safety deficits in the Bill might be improved.

We hope you are able to submit an application to tell the government that child safety is important to you.

We have created a template that you are able to use to base your submission on, please note that you will need to amend the details in blue. Click here for the WAI Submission Template Building (Pools) Amendment Bill 2015.

The committee requires two copies of each submission if made in writing, or alternatively you can submit a submission on line (you will need to scroll to the bottom of the web page).

Closing date for submissions is Thursday, 5 November 2015.

WaterSafe Auckland supports the integration of the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act, but not until and appropriate Acceptable Solution is in place. Concerns that WaterSafe Auckland has in regard to the propose legislation are:

  • There is a need to define and declare the Acceptable Solution, the problem is we don’t know what the Acceptable Solution will be. WaterSafe Auckland recommends updating the NZ Standard NZS8500:2006 and citing as the only Acceptable Solution.
  • Spa pools need to be registered with Councils and included in the inspection regime. Covers only have a warranty life of five years, and Council find many covers in need of repair during three-yearly inspections.
  • Portable pools should not be exempted.
  • An inspection regime of five years is too long. Auckland Council are finding that 50% failure rate at a three year inspection, predominantly from broken fences and gates not working.
  • Inspection window – 3 months either side of the Anniversary date is not workable. most pools are built in summer, therefore most inspections would fall in summer, suggest to let Councils develop the inspection schedule.
  • Definitions:Building Act fines are $200 000 for not complying with notice to fix, we suggest that fines for swimming pools shouldn’t be reduced.
    • Out of ground hot tubs and spa pools need to be differentiated from in-ground pools and spas.
    • Immediate Pool Area – recommend referring to Waitakere CC v Hickman) Judge Randerson decision 2004.
  • The proposed legislation does not require Councils to look for non-notified pools.

Thank you.