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Immediate pool areas

Posted: 28 September 2018

Understanding what can be included in the immediate pool area can be helpful when deciding where to place your pool barrier. This article looks at what an immediate pool area is and the activities that can generally be included in the area.

An immediate pool area is defined in the Building Act as being:
"...the land in or on which the pool is situated and so much of the surrounding area as is used for activities carried out in relation to or involving the pool".

The definition of immediate pool area does not include a size limit. The immediate pool area must be considered on a case-by-case basis for each property. How the size of the immediate pool area is determined has been considered by the High Court in Waitakere City Council v Hickman and by previous determinations.

It is reasonable to expect the area around a pool that is used for activities in relation to or involving the pool will form part of the immediate pool area. The outer limit of the immediate pool is determined by how the area is used, and only extends as far as the area is used for activities related to or involving the pool.

Activities that can be included in the immediate pool area

Activities that can be included in the immediate pool area must be closely connected, associated or combined with the use of the pool. The further away from the edge of a pool, the less likely it will be that an activity can be regarded as being carried out in relation to or involving the pool.

Space for activities related to the use of the pool, such as for pool furniture, changing sheds, pumps or pool maintenance equipment, can be included within the immediate pool area. It is also common to enclose some land around the pool inside a barrier to allow people to sit or sunbathe.

The immediate pool area can include spaces where activities may sometimes take place independently of the pool – for example a space with a barbecue. Being able to carry out this activity without using the pool does not mean this area is automatically excluded from the immediate pool area.

Previous determinations have considered the following when assessing what can be included in the immediate pool area:

  • buildings, built features, facilities, amenities and the landscape proposed within the immediate pool area
  • the relationship between the immediate pool area and remaining areas of land and activities likely to occur in each, as well as their relative sizes
  • routes used to access the building and routes available to other areas of the property
  • the activities likely to occur in the immediate pool area and whether they have only a remote or indirect association with the use of the pool.

Areas that are commonly excluded from the immediate pool area include driveways, washing lines, main pedestrian access ways, gardens, and large planted areas for landscaping.

Recent determinations that consider immediate pool area include:

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This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: