Pool fencing FAQs

  • Does my swimming or spa pool require a barrier?
    Yes, unless the sides at least 1.2m high above the ground and it is non-climbable.
  • My pool is 1.2 metres above ground - do I need a barrier?
    No, the outside face of a pool wall is an acceptable barrier if it is no less than 1200mm high and complies with Paragraph 2.1.6 and 2.1.7 of F9/AS1. Any ladder or other means of providing access to the pool shall have an enclosing barrier and gate.
  • Does my pool require building consent?
  • Under the Building Act you need a building consent before you can construct a pool and/or pool barrier. There are some instances where this may not apply i.e., so please talk to our inspector for advice.
  • I am digging out a pond in my yard. Do I need to fence this?
    Only if it is to be of a kind normally used for swimming, paddling or bathing.
  • I am a farmer and require a reservoir. Will is require a barrier?
    No, not unless it will normally be used for swimming, paddling or bathing. You may need building and/or resource consent though, depending on size. (The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website has information on which ones require a building consent.)
  • I have a river running though my property and I want to install a swimming pool near it. Do I need a barrier for the pool?
    Yes. All new and existing private swimming pools require barriers. Rivers are not covered by the building Act 2004.
  • How high should my barrier be?
    At least 1.2 metres high.
  • What is the maximum gap I am allowed in between vertical palings in my barrier?
    A maximum gap of 100 mm.
  • Why do I need to install a backflow preventer on my hose tap?
    In the event of loss of pressure in your water supply at the same time that you were filling the pool, pool water could be drawn back into the potable water supply which creates a health risk.
  • What type of backflow preventer do I require?
    A swimming pool is classed as a 'medium' risk in the New Zealand Building Code. You will require a medium risk backflow preventer, e.g. permanent air gap separation, reduced pressure zone device, double check valve, atmospheric vacuum breaker or the most common and cheapest  a pressure type vacuum breaker (these can be bought from most plumbing stores for as little as $25).
  • What is a permanent air gap separation?
    If your pool is filled by a permanent connection at least 25 mm above the flood level of your pool, permanent air separation has been achieved and no additional backflow preventer is required.
  • What happens if I cannot install a barrier for my pool?
    You must empty the pool and contact the Council to discuss your options.
  • Why don’t these barrier rules apply to lakes in new residential subdivisions?
    Most of these subdivisions have been granted exemptions under the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987, and since 01.01.2017 they no longer require a barrier or an exemption.
  • Can I fill my pool prior to the barrier being installed? My installer says that I need to.
    No. You must provide a barrier at all times (if the water level exceeds 400 mm in depth).
  • Can I use a temporary contractor’s fence while I build it?
    Yes, but only if it complies with the  requirements for barriers under the Building Act 2004.
  • How can I find out if my pool complies with the Building Act 2004 for pool barriers?
    Inspection by a Council officer is required to confirm that the pool complies with the requirements of the Act. Contact Customer Services to check whether the pool complies. If an existing pool is not registered in the Council database, you will need to complete a Swimming and Spa Pool Registration form and pay the inspection fee. If this inspection results in the need to install a barrier, the Council inspector will be able to advise if a building consent is required.
  • Why do I have to have my pool barrier inspected every three years?
    The Law now requires a 3 yearly inspection to confirm continued compliance.
  • Does a spa pool with a lockable lid require an additional barrier?
    No – providing it has a water surface area of 5m2 or less, every wall of the pool is no less than 760mm above adjacent floor or ground level, the side inhibits climbing, the lid restricts entry to Children and no external objects or projections within 760mm of the top edge that could assist climbing.  The lid must be able to withstand a reasonably foreseeable load (a vertical point load of 200 N (20kg) when imposed over an area of 120mm diameter at the centre of the cover) and can be readily returned to the closed position.  The small heated pool (spa) must have signage to indicate its child safety features including WARNING: This spa pool cover must be kept locked except when under adult supervision.
  • Can I use a thick prickly hedge as a pool barrier?
    No. There is no guarantee that a hedge will remain impenetrable for the life of the pool.
  • Does a blow-up pool that I use for a day or a week at a time require a pool barrier?
    Yes, if the sides are less than 1.2 metres above the surrounding ground and the water is more than 400 mm deep.
  • Can I use my pool area inside the pool barrier as a dog run?
    No, it is not a pool-related activity.
  • Can a property be sold with a pool that does not have a barrier?
    Yes, a sale can proceed, but the purchaser should be aware that there is a requirement for the pool to comply and the responsibility for this transfers to them with the sale of the property. A pool without a barrier should be empty until a complying barrier has been installed.