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Requirements for residential pool barriers

 

Barriers for residential pools must restrict access by unsupervised children under the age of five years. This requirement applies throughout the life of the pool (except when the pool is empty).

Residential pool barriers must comply with either:

  • the current Building Code; or
  • the Building Code that applied when the pool was installed (if a building consent, code compliance certificate or certificate of acceptance was issued).

This requires owners to maintain their residential pool barriers to at least the standard that applied when those barriers were originally approved. 

The following are available on the Legislation website:

Section 162C of the Act requires residential pools to have barriers.

Building Code Clause F9 contains performance requirements for residential pool barriers.

Existing pools deemed to comply with the barrier requirements for residential pools

Existing pools installed before 1 January 2017 are deemed to comply with the residential pool barrier requirements if they complied with the Schedule to Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 (FOSPA). Valid exemptions granted under the FOSPA continue to apply, including the conditions of those exemptions.

Existing pools installed before 1 January 2017 are deemed to comply with the residential pool barrier requirements if they meet the criteria described in section 450B(3) of the Act relating to the side walls of the pool and the means of access into the pool. 

The following are available on the Legislation website:

Section 450B of the Act has provisions for existing pools.

Schedule to the FOSPA

Covers can be used as barriers for small heated pools

Under the Act, barriers for residential pools that are ‘small heated pools’, such as spa pools and hot tubs, need to restrict access only when the pool is not in use. This enables covers to be used as barriers for certain small heated pools. Drownings of young children in small heated pools with safety covers are very rare. 

The following are available on the Legislation website:

Section 7 of the Act includes a definition of ‘small heated pool’.

Section 162C(3) of the Act contains barrier requirements for small heated pools.

Building Code Clause F9 sets out requirements for small heated pools with a cover as the barrier.

Indoor residential pools require a barrier

FOSPA did not apply to pools wholly enclosed inside a house. However, young children are at risk if they have unrestricted access to pools in the home environment. Existing and new indoor pools are now subject to the same barrier requirements as other residential pools. For example, doors to the pool room must not be able to be readily opened by children and would need to be self-closing or have an alarm.

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: