Swimming pool barrier FAQs

​Who is responsible for the compliance of a pool barrier?

The new rules place more emphasis on the pool owner being responsible for safety. The responsibility does depend on the type of pool you have and where it is (eg home, rental, commercial). 
More specifically, responsibility sits with:

  • the owner of the pool
  • the pool operator
  • the owner of the land the pool is on
  • the occupier of the property the pool is on
  • if the pool is available for hire, the person who is hiring the pool
  • 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.

How do I know if my swimming and/or spa pool is affected by these rules?

A pool is classified as any structure or excavation normally used for swimming, paddling or bathing. It also includes any product (that isn’t a normal bath) designed or modified for swimming, wading, paddling or bathing.

Swimming pool

All swimming pools that are at a home or somewhere people would stay/be (eg campgrounds, hostel, hotels) are required to have fencing and be inspected under these new rules.

Spa pool

A spa pool (that is subject to these barrier rules) has a water surface area of less than 5m2 and is designed for therapeutic or recreational use. Spa pools are also referred to as “small heated pools” in the new legislation.

Why do I have to have a barrier around my swimming pool?

Previous pool fencing restrictions have seen a significant reduction in drownings across the country, but we still need to do more. Safety and consistency are the biggest drivers for the new rules. The rules are in place to protect you and anyone who may be in or around your pool.

Why do I have to barrier my spa pool? Are there any alternatives to a barrier?

It all depends what size your spa pool is. You will either need to have a barrier surrounding the spa pool or (if it meets a criteria) can be made safe by having a lockable cover. 

If your spa’s water surface area is less than 5m2 and sides higher than 760mm which small children are unable to climb – you can have a lockable cover.

If your spa is larger or shorter, you will need to have a full barrier around the spa.

When will my swimming and/or spa pool be inspected?

All swimming pools are now required to be inspected by the Council at least once every three years. These mandatory inspections do not apply to spa pools where the barrier is a lockable cover. You can call the Council anytime on 07 838 6699 and book an inspection for your pool. Otherwise the Council will be working through all the pools in the city by geographic location. You will receive a letter prior to the inspection.

If the inspection is related to a building consent, the owner or agent will need to call the Council and book an inspection.

Will you contact me before you come and inspect my pool?

Yes, you’ll receive a letter from the Council when your pool is coming up for inspection. If you would like to get it done sooner, call the Council on 07 838 6699 and book an inspection.

Do I need to be home for you to inspect my pool?

You don’t need to be home for the inspection but if you would like to be there, call 07 838 6699.
If you are not home, the inspector will leave you a calling card so you know someone has been around.

How much will the inspections cost?

As regular pool inspections are new to Hamilton, the first inspection will be free. If a follow up inspection is required there will be a cost. Click here to view the current fees

Are there any ongoing costs?

To minimise the impact on ratepayers, apart from the first inspection, pool owners will be required to pay for the three-yearly inspections and any re-inspections. Click here to view the current fees.

What happens if I don’t barrier my pool or if it fails an inspection?

All pool owners are strongly encouraged to proactively look at the details in the new pool compliance rules and make sure their barrier is up to standard.
If there is no barrier or if your barrier fails an inspection, depending on the problem, the Council may issue a notice for you to fix the issues (Notice to Fix) and/or ask you to drain your pool.

What am I allowed to have inside my pool barrier?

There are rules about what can and can’t be included in the area within your pool barrier (immediate pool area). 

The following items can be used to climb or gain access to the pool area or are unsafe and are not allowed in the immediate pool area:

  • vehicle or pedestrian access ways
  • clotheslines
  • sandpits and playgrounds
  • slides
  • swings
  • vegetable gardens
  • other objects not normally related to using a pool.

What are the new specifications for pool barriers?

To find out the exact specifications relating to barriers for swimming and spa pools visit building.govt.nz/pool-safety

Where can I get more information?

You can email building@hcc.govt.nz  or call 07 838 6699 and speak to someone from the Council’s building team.

The national building websi​te has further information on the new rules: building.govt.nz/pool-safety

Page reviewed: 13 Jul 2021 11:36am