Swimming pool barriers

New rules for swimming and spa pool barrier have been put in place by the Government and are effective from 1 January 2017. The new rules are aimed at reducing the number of children drowning in pools. It also provides consistent rules for the whole country. The rules are now part of the Building Act 2004, the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 is no longer applicable.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 barrier, adjust a current barrier or have a lockable cover. In addition, all pools in New Zealand will now need to be inspected every three years by the local Council to proactively make sure safety measure s are correctly in place.

Swimming pool barrier guidelines

  • All materials and components of a barrier should be of a durable nature and constructed so as to prevent a child from climbing over or crawling under the fence from the outside.
  • Barriers shall extend a minimum of 1.2m above the ground around the pool and any pool projections.
  • If a barrier is to be constructed of perforated material, netting or mesh which has a dimension greater than 10mm, the barrier shall extend 1.8m above ground level or pool projections. The maximum size opening of any perforated material, netting or mesh, excluding circumference or perimeter is 50mm.
  • This will include diagonal measurements. Pool projections also mean objects permanently placed on the ground within 1.2m of the barrier, and includes trees etc.
  • Such materials must be fixed at the top and bottom, or be of such a nature, that the barrier cannot be readily crossed by children under the age of six years.
  • Any clearance between the bottom of the fence and gate and ground level shall not exceed 100mm.
  • The spacing between adjacent vertical poles, panels or other posts shall not exceed 100mm at any point. All barrier supports, nails, rods, wires, bracing or other similar posts shall be on the inside of the barrier and be inaccessible for use for climbing from the outside. Horizontal rails should be at least 900mm apart.
  • Gates shall not open into the pool area, and must be fitted with an automatic closer capable of returning the gate to the closed position and operating a child proof latching device. The latching device should be mounted on the inside of the gate at a height of 1.2m above ground level or on the outside of the gate at a height of 1.5m above ground level.
  • Where a building forms part of a barrier and the pool is not contained within the building, any door that gives access to the immediate pool area will be required to be fitted with a locking device that when property operated, prevents the door from being readily opened by a child under the age of six years.
  • This also applies to an opening window if any part of the sash is within 1.2m of the floor, and must be fitted with a window restrictor so that it cannot open more than 100mm or be lockable. The immediate pool area must not contain vegetable gardens, clotheslines, children's sand pits, slides, swings etc.
  • The barrier should also be situated to prevent children moving directly to the pool from the house.

This is only a guide to the barrier requirements and does not cover all situations or aspects of the fencing requirements. 

Click here to read the swimming pool barrier FAQs ​

Click here to read the technical​ swimming pool barrier FAQs ​​

Application to add or remove a swimming pool or small/large heated pool

Please complete the appropriate form below and send through to building@hcc.govt.nz 

Application to remove from the register.pdf
Application to add to the register.pdf

Technical / further information

Click here to see the full copy of the new legislation with the fencing requirements and specifications. 


Page reviewed: 15 Jul 2021 12:53pm