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Auckland Council

Pool area safety checklist

To help prevent needless drownings, we check compliance of all residential pools every three years.

Why you need to restrict access to your pool

The leading causes of children, five and younger, drowning or being injured in pools are:

  • unsupervised access to pools through faulty gates and barriers
  • ladders left against the pool and gates propped open
  • small portable pools remaining full of water without supervision or a complying barrier.

Any portable or inflatable pool that can hold 400mm depth of water or more is required to have a barrier by law. Other portable pools like paddling pools should be supervised at all times and emptied after use.

Restrict access to your pool

By law, all pools, including small heated pools (spas, hot tubs, etc), must have a barrier to prevent unsupervised access to the immediate pool area by children younger than five years old.

A pool barrier must restrict access to the pool from:

  • the house
  • other buildings
  • vehicle or pedestrian access ways
  • other areas of the property.

Non-pool related items and activities can not be located insider the pool area. These include:

  • clothes lines
  • play equipment
  • vegetable gardens
  • dog kennels
  • general storage areas.

If we have your pool recorded as being empty, contact us for an inspection before you refill it.

Pool barrier safety checklist

Pool barriers:

  • must restrict access to the pool and the immediate pool area
  • must be at least 1.2m in height above the ground and any permanent projection (for example, steps, retaining walls, raised gardens, etc) or object placed on the ground outside and within 1.2m of the barrier
  • must have no climbable features on the outside of the barrier (or adjoining barrier) that could be used for climbing unless they are spaced at least 900mm apart
  • must not have any gaps that exceed 100mm in or under it, including pet doors

Trellis or mesh fencing around the pool:

  • higher than 1.8m must have openings 50mm or less, or be fitted with a protective cover
  • with height between 1.2m - 1.8m must have openings 10mm or less, or be fitted with a protective cover.

Ensure there are no trees that could assist young children climbing the fence.

External removable ladders must be disabled or removed after use. For pools installed after 1 January 2017, ladders are not allowed unless they are surrounded by a complying barrier and gate.

If your pool barrier features a building or boundary fence, see Other structures used as part of the pool barrier.

Pool gates

Gates into the pool area must:

  • open away from the pool area
  • self-close and self-latch unaided from any distance
  • comply with the rules for fences.

The gate latch must be:

  • a minimum of 1.5m above the ground and any objects within 1.2m of the barrier, if accessible from the outside of the barrier
  • inaccessible from the outside except by reaching at least 1.2m if mounted on the inside of the gate
  • for pools installed from 1 January 2017, if the latch is accessible only by reaching over the gate, it must be set at least 150mm from the top or be shielded.

If the latch is accessible only by reaching over the gate, it must be set at least 150mm from the top or be shielded.

Small heated pools (hot tubs and spa pools)

Your small heated pool does not need an inspection every three years if it meets the following criteria:

  • a water surface area of 5 square metres or less
  • 760mm high unclimbable sides (including no steps)
  • a complying lockable lid, that must;
    • be capable of supporting 20kg of weight at its centre
    • have hold-down straps and fasteners capable of fixing the cover in place so there is no opening greater than 100mm
    • fasteners should have a minimum main width of 33mm
    • have a prominently displayed hazard warning notice - for example: "WARNING: This spa pool cover must be kept locked except when under adult supervision".
    • be constructed with a slope from the centre to the outside to prevent water collecting on top.

Exemption from pool fencing requirements

Exemptions are no longer available but under the Building Act there is provision to apply for a waiver or modification as part of your building consent process.

 

Pool safety video clips

 In-ground pool safety video                Small-heated pool safety video          Above-ground pool safety video

 

 

Read the full transcript of this video.

 

More information about restricting access to residential pools

See the information about F9 Restricting access to residential pools on the Building Performance website.

Our tip

You have to maintain the barriers, fences, self-closing gates and latches, and ensure they are working correctly.

 Related topics

 

 

Other structures used as part of the pool barrierhttps://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/building-and-consents/building-renovation-projects/install-residential-small-heated-pool/Pages/other-structures-used-part-of-pool-barrier.aspxOther structures used as part of the pool barrierIf you plan to use a building or a boundary fence as part of your pool barrier, you will need to show us your plans, drawings and photos so that we can check if your pool and pool barrier complies with the building code and fencing requirements.aspx
Pool legislationhttps://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/building-and-consents/building-renovation-projects/install-residential-small-heated-pool/Pages/pool-legislation.aspxPool legislationRead about the changes regarding residential and small heated pools, that the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 brought about.aspx
Remove a poolhttps://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/building-and-consents/building-renovation-projects/install-residential-small-heated-pool/Pages/remove-pool.aspxRemove a poolCheck if you need a consent to remove your pool. Find out how to remove the pool from our register. aspx
Regular safety checks of your pool fence and barrierhttps://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/building-and-consents/building-renovation-projects/install-residential-small-heated-pool/Pages/check-compliance-existing-pool-barrier.aspxRegular safety checks of your pool fence and barrierFind out what you need to tell us before you book a swimming pool (and fencing) inspection, how many inspections you will need and what happens if your pool is non-complying. aspx
Inspections you need when installing a new poolhttps://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/building-and-consents/building-renovation-projects/install-residential-small-heated-pool/Pages/check-compliance-of-new-pool-pool-barrier.aspxInspections you need when installing a new poolInformation about how to book pool and pool barrier inspection for a new pool, how many inspections you may need, and when you can start to use your new pool.aspx
Non-complying pools or pool barriershttps://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/building-and-consents/building-renovation-projects/install-residential-small-heated-pool/Pages/non-complying-pool-barriers.aspxNon-complying pools or pool barriersLearn what happens when your pool or pool barrier is non-complying.aspx