Increased responsibility for Waikato pool-owners


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2 October 2007

Increased responsibility will fall on those seeking a building consent for a new pool from 1 October 2007 due to a new requirement of the Waikato Building Consent Group.

The Waikato Building Consent Group will require that in respect to new pools, doors from buildings that open directly into an immediate pool area must now be self-closing and self-latching. If the doors do not meet these requirements, the pool must either be fenced off separately from the building with a fence and gates in compliance with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act or, alternatively, an automatic pool cover must be used in conjunction with alarms on pool access doors to detect any unauthorised access from the building into the immediate pool area.

Waikato Building Consents manager Elizabeth Goodwin says that the new requirements regarding pool access doors have eventuated as a result of recent decisions by the Department of Building and Housing and an independent legal opinion obtained by Waipa District Council, a member of the Waikato Building Consent Group.

"Summer is approaching and at this time of year, many people consider installing a new pool. Fencing is a critical aspect of pool design but is often defeated by the homeowners preference for direct access to the pool from their home. The risk of children drowning in a pool is very real and direct access from the home to the pool increases this risk.

"The Waikato Building Consent Group is responding to recent legislative and marketplace best practice by increasing the requirements of adequate pool fencing and safe access. Designers and owners alike must be especially vigilant in their compliance with the new pool fencing requirements. Pool owners have a responsibility to ensure that fencing design will prevent unauthorised access to the pool by children under the age of six years. We strongly encourage pool owners to consult with their council at concept stage to ensure that their pool designs incorporate adequate and compliant fencing. This will prevent a building consent applicant from being disappointed if they complete the design phase only to find that their application is not successful because of inadequate fencing.

"An alternative to separating a pool from ones home is to employ self-closing and latching doors on that building and use automatic pool covers and alarms to detect unauthorised access from the home to the immediate pool area."

If a building consent applicant disagrees with the decisions made by a council, they have the option of applying to the Department of Building and Housing for an independent consideration of their application.

The Waikato Building Consent Group comprises Hamilton City Council, Matamata-Piako District Council, Otorohanga District Council, Waikato District Council and Waipa District Council.

NAME: Elizabeth Goodwin
DESIGNATION: Waikato Building Consents Manager
TEL (DIRECT): 07 838 6586
FAX (DIRECT): 07 838 6950
NAME: Naomi Reynolds
DESIGNATION: Communication Executive
TEL (DIRECT): 0 7 838 6726
MOBILE: 027 413 3448
FAX (DIRECT): 0 7 838 6761
Page reviewed: 02 Oct 2007 12:00am