Swimming pools, spa pools, small pools
The purpose of swimming pool legislation is to prevent young children from drowning in residential swimming pools. The solution is simple, fence it. This page includes all you need to know and how to go about making sure your pool is safe for everyone.
Check out our frequently asked questions below for information regarding pools & fences
If you have a pool and you think you aren’t on the register contact the compliance team at email@example.com or phone (03) 319 5026.
You will find more information about swimming pool safety on the MBIE website
What is considered a pool?
For the purpose of the Building Act 2004, sub section 162B states the following-
- This subpart applies to pools with a maximum depth of water of 400mm or more.
The Building Act covers:
- Indoor pools
- Outdoor pools
- Spa pools
- Hot tubs
- Temporary pools (from your local retailer)
Pool Safety Barriers are now regulated by the Building Act 2004 and the new Building Code Clause F9 – Restricting Access to Residential Pools, which took effect from 1 January 2017.
The Act requires the Council to ensure all pool safety barriers within its jurisdiction are compliant, and requires scheduled inspections every three years. Therefore, we will need to inspect all pool safety barriers over a three year program, even if they have been previously inspected and approved.
The new legislation also provides for pool safety barriers that were previously deemed compliant with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987. As long as they remain compliant on inspection, they are deemed to meet the requirements of Section 162C of the Building Act.
Do all pools need a barrier?
No. If your pool is within the following criteria, you do not need a pool safety barrier:
- If the maximum depth of water in the pool is less than 400mm (such as a shallow paddling pool). Please note a responsible adult should supervise the use of paddling pools at all times.
- If people are employed specifically to supervise the pool when it is in use, and the entire pool facility is locked at all other times.
- If your pool has smooth vertical walls that are 1200mm or more high, and there is a 1.2m clear zone all around the pool, with no permanent steps or objects that would enable a small child to climb into the pool. Please note that any permanent steps would need to be fenced and gated in accordance with legislative requirements.
What are the legal requirements of a barrier?
The legal requirements are:
- Barriers must restrict access by unsupervised children under five years.
- Must have no permanent objects or projections that could assist climbing.
- Gates should be self-closing and open away from the pool area.
- Where a building forms all or part of an immediate pool area barrier, doors must be self-closing or emit an audible warning when open
- The latch must not be readily accessible by children under five years.
- Windows opening from a building into the immediate pool area must be constructed or positioned to restrict the passage of children
Do I need to fence my spa pool?
Fencing is no longer required for spa pools and other small heated pools if all of the following criteria are met:
- Surface water area of not more than 5m2, (NOTE: A large spa pool has a water surface of more than 5m2. Building consent may be required for your spa pool. Please check.)
- Has sides at least 760mm above the ground/decking level, and
- The sides are non-climbable, and
- The spa pool has a cover that:
(a) Restricts entry of children when closed, and
(b) Has lockable strap fasteners, and
(c) Is able to withstand a reasonably foreseeable load, and
(d) Is able to be readily returned to the closed position, and
(e) Has signage indicating its child safety features.
Does pool fencing require a building consent?
Yes, pool fencing does require a building consent.
Information about the building consent process can be found on our Building Consent pages.
If you install a pool fence without a building consent, it may not meet the requirements of the Act and you may be instructed to make alterations.
You will be required to apply for a Certificate of Acceptance with any non-compliant work requiring a building consent to rectify it. A building consent ensures it is done right the first time.
Do I need a Building Consent for a small heated pool?
A couple of things to consider.
You may need a Resource Consent depending on your location, distance to boundaries and other buildings. Seek guidance on this from our Duty Planner at KDC.
If the water surface area is greater than 5m2, then a building consent may be required.
The Council may however consider a building consent exemption if the following items are shown on your application-
- the top surface of the pool wall must not be less than 760mm above the ground level or adjacent floor.
- the outside pool wall must be non-climbable
Safety covers must:
- comply with Building Code clause F9.3.5 (refer above)
- restrict the entry of young children (i.e. under five years of age) when closed
- be capable of withstanding a reasonable load to ensure the cover won't collapse under the weight of a young child
- readily return to the closed position
- have a sign showing its child safety features.
Where a small heated pool has a safety cover, it does not need to be inspected every three years.
Can I put my spa pool on top of a deck?
If you are putting in a small heated pool:
- on top of an existing deck, you are responsible for ensuring the deck is structurally sound and can carry the weight of the pool
- into an existing deck, you may need a building consent for changing the structure of the deck.
If you are putting in a new deck and the fall height is greater than 1.5m, you will need a building consent for the deck. If the ground level is sloping, you need to take this into consideration.
Most swimming pools require a building consent, however some are considered exempt under the Building Act 2004, provided they meet the requirements set out in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's (MBIE's) exempt building work guidance for pools and tanks.
I would like to remove my swimming pool
If you would like to remove your swimming pool, you need to advise the Kaikoura District Council.
Self Audit Check Sheets
Kaikoura District Council have developed the following check sheets which enable you to complete a self-audit of the compliance of your pool barrier.
Who is responsible for compliance of a pool?
The following persons must ensure compliance:
(a) The owner of the pool
(b) The pool operator
(c) The owner of the land on which the pool is situated
(d) The occupier of the property in or which the pool is situated
(e) If the pool is subject to a hire purchase agreement (as that term is defined in the Income Tax Act 2007), the purchaser of the pool
(f) If the pool is on premises that are not subject to a tenancy under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 but the pool is subject to a lease or is part of premises subject to a lease, the lessee of the pool or the premises