Swimming Pool Fencing
The Government’s new rules for swimming and spa pool fencing took effect 1 January 2017. The rules are aimed at reducing the number of children drowning in pools. It also provides consistent rules for swimming pool fences across New Zealand, as they are now part of the Building Act 2004 (the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 is no longer applicable).
There are some important changes for pool owners to be aware of as you may need to build a new/additional fence, adjust a current fence or have a lockable cover. In addition, all pools in New Zealand will now need to be inspected by Council every three years to proactively make sure that the correct safety measures are in place.
Waitomo District Council (WDC) are in the process of inspecting existing pools that are currently on our records. During the inspection process, we have experienced a high rate of non-compliance, so we want to ensure that people are aware of the requirements under the Act.
Common reasons for non-compliance include:
- Gates not automatically closing or latching.
- Projections, climbable objects positioned within 1.2m of the pool, includes other structures, plants/trees and other fences.
- Gaps in the fence/gate exceeding 100mm.
- Reduced height of fence due to ground build up.
- Non-durable materials used.
- Incorrect materials used, e.g. wire mesh fence with 50mm square openings must be 1.8m high instead of 1.2m high.
All pool owners on WDC’s register were sent a questionnaire in June 2017 requesting information about their pool, including if they still had a pool on their property. Council used this feedback to notify the owners of an inspection date and to provide information on how to comply with the requirements of the Act. It is important owners read this information to ensure the fencing complies before the inspection.
Most pool inspections have failed safety checks since more regular inspections were introduced last year, and this means that the pool must be re-inspected. While the first inspection is not charged for, all re-inspections have a fee attached, so it’s important you read the information provided and ensure your pool fence is compliant first time to avoid the re-inspection fee, and more importantly to ensure the safety of children around your pool.