Small heated pools and spa pools does not require a building consent for the cover used to restrict access, as long as it meets Building Code requirements for safety covers.
Amended January 2017: Clause 21A was inserted, as from 1 January 2017, by s18(3) Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016.
Under exemption 9.2., a building consent is not required for the means of restricting access where a safety cover is used on a small heated pool, such as a spa pool with a water surface area of 5 square metres or less. The top surface of every wall of the pool must be at least 760mm above the adjacent floor or ground at all points and the walls of the pool must be non-climbable.
If the cover used does not comply with Building Code clause F9.3.5, it is not considered to be a safety cover.
For a safety cover to comply with F9.3.5 it must:
- restrict the entry of children when closed
- be able to withstand a reasonably foreseeable load
- be able to be readily returned to the closed position
- have signage indicating its child safety features.
Where a small heated pool has a safety cover, it also does not need to be inspected every three years as fencing to other residential pools are (section 162D of the Building Act 2004).
The following terms are defined in this document's glossary:
- 'abode' or 'place of abode'
- 'residential pool'
- 'small heated pool'.
Construction specifications for covers that comply with F9.3.5 are provided in Acceptable Solution F9/AS2.
What is exempt
- A homeowner wishes to install a rectangular spa pool with internal dimensions of 2.4 and 1.2 metres, with a safety cover on it. The safety cover fully complies with the requirements of Building Code clause F9.3.5.
What needs consent
- An owner of a residential property intends to construct a rectangular 'endless' (ie a current is created to swim against) exercise pool with internal dimensions of 3 and 2 metres, with a safety cover. As the pool surface area is greater than 5 square metres, it does not fit into the definition of a 'small heated pool' and a building consent is required for the means of restricting access.
- A homeowner proposes to install a spa pool with a lightweight cover that is easy to lift or remove. As the cover is unlikely to fully comply with Building Code clause F9.3.5, it is not considered to be a safety cover and building consent is required for the means of restricting access, unless the cover is modified or replaced to comply.
What the law says
21A. Means of restricting access to small heated pools
1. Installation of a safety cover as a means of restricting access to a small heated pool that is a residential pool.