Swimming pool barrier technical FAQs

What is considered a barrier?

A barrier includes any part of a building, any gate or door that forms part of the barrier and is used to enclose a pool to restrict or prevent access to the pool.

My spa pool only needs a lockable cover, are there specific things the cover needs to have/do?

A lockable cover must have signage indicating its child safety features, and must be able to:

  • restrict entry of children under five years of age when closed
  • withstand a foreseeable load
  • be quickly closed when the spa isn’t being used
  • no projections are to be present within 760mm of the spa – this includes steps.
  • the spa must have a surface no greater than 5m squared
  • the sides of the spa must be unclimbable.

Do portable/inflatable pools need a barrier too?

Yes, portable/inflatable pools are treated in the same way as other swimming pools. They must have barriers that restrict access by young children if they are filled or partly filled with water. Portable pools with sides lower than 400mm in height are exempt.

Can I use a boundary fence as part of my pool barrier?

Yes, although if the barrier forming part of the pool area has horizontal rails on the outside of the pool area, the rails need to be more than 900mm apart so it’s unclimbable for small children.  
Alternatively you can install triangle fillets along the top of the horizontal rails or attach another 4x2 rail on top of each rail so it can’t be gripped by hands and feet making it very difficult to climb. If you need to add fillets or 4x2 rails on your neighbours side of the fence, the Council recommends contacting your neighbour before you do any work.

If your neighbour plants a tree or builds a structure within 1.2m of the boundary fence and it provides a toehold or climbing point, your fence becomes non-compliant.

Can I use my house as part of my pool barrier?

Yes, but all windows and doors leading into the pool area must not be able to be readily opened by children. Doors must either have an alarm if the door is opened or automatically close. Windows need to be positioned so children are not able to get into the pool area.

Can I report a non-compliant pool barrier that isn’t my own?

If you would like to raise an issue about a pool barrier, call the Council on 07 838 6699 and they’ll review the information and do a site inspection if required.

I don’t have small children, why do I need to do this?

Yes, there is a focus on safety for children under five but even if you don’t have children the new rules apply as they create safety consistency across pools throughout New Zealand.

I want to install a new pool, do I need a building consent?

Yes, any pool and its associated fencing, which is capable of holding more than 400mm depth of water requires a building consent; this includes kitset and inflatable pools, which are in place for a short period of time each season and spa pools.

Can an Independent Qualified Pool Inspector (IQPI) do an inspection instead of the Council?

If an official IQPI completes a pool inspection and provides the Council with a certificate of periodic inspections, it may be accepted as the official pool inspection. If the Council does not accept an IQPI inspection, they will be notified in writing stating the reasons it wasn’t accepted.

Click here for more information.

What happens if an IQPI inspection fails?

If an IQPI inspector notices issues with the pool barrier, the inspector must, within three working days of the date of inspection, give the written decision to the Council, attaching any other information that’s required. 

The council will then follow up and if necessary, issue a Notice to Fix.

Click here for more information .


Page reviewed: 13 Jul 2021 1:41pm