Your Council

Spa and Swimming Pools

If your pool has the capability of water depth greater than 400mm (16 inches) then it is required to be fenced in accordance with The Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987.

Pools, spa pools and plastic para-style must all be fenced to comply with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act.

Anyone intending to install a new pool, spa or hot tub or new pool fence, must apply for and uplift a Building Consent prior to commencing the work.

A common misunderstanding is in thinking that spa pools with lockable covers meet safety standards - these must also be fenced unless they are more than 1200mm high.

Government legislation also requires pool owners to notify the Council of the existence of a pool regardless of when the pool was installed.

Council has an obligation to ensure the Act is complied with throughout its District.

Pool fencing

On 1 January 2017, the Building (Pools) Amendment Act repealed the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act and inserted new provisions into the Building Act 2004.

The Amendment Act includes new pool safety provisions in the Building Act 2004 and creates Building Code clause F9.  

Under the new rules, all swimming pools must:

  • have a physical barrier that restricts access
  • be inspected every three years.

These requirements apply to pools that have a capacity of 400mm or more.

A Building Consent is required for building work associated with Pool Fencing.

Pool fence inspections

The Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 states that Councils must ensure swimming pool barriers are inspected every three years and are compliant under the Act.

The legislation now enables inspections and certificates to be done by approved, independently qualified pool inspectors (IQPI) rather than Council officers.

A list of IQPI should be available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website soon. 

Inspections include:

  • residential properties
  • hotel, motel, inn, hostel, or boarding house
  • convalescent homes, nursing homes, or hospice
  • rest homes or retirement villages
  • camping grounds.

Spa pools 

Spa pools can use lockable lids as a barrier as long as:

  • the pool has walls at least 760 mm high and cannot be climbed
  • the water surface area is 5 sq. m or less.

For more information: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment – F9 Restricting access to residential pools

Filling your pool

Council's Water Supply Bylaw requires a backflow prevention device is fitted into the pipe or hose system used to fill the pool that stops water from the pool being sucked back into the water supply (for example, in the event of a fall in the mains water pressure).

Four basic types of device can be used: air gaps, vacuum breakers (both atmospheric and pressure type), double check valve assemblies, and reduced pressure zone devices.

For hose-filled pools the most common device is the hose connection vacuum breaker.  These devices are a specialised version of the atmospheric vacuum breaker.  They are generally attached to hose taps and in turn to outlets such as garden hoses.

Emptying your pool

When emptying the water from your pool, you must ensure it does not enter the waterways.  This means it cannot run down the stormwater drains because they discharge into streams and rivers.  Residents connected to the council sewage system may dispose of their pool water down the sewer via a gully trap.  Owners with alternative sewage disposal systems (e.g. septic tanks) should discuss the matter with Council.

Filtered backwash water may contain contaminants and so must also be put via a gully trap into the sewer.

Note: It may be necessary to take precautionary measures before emptying in-ground pools where the ground water table is high or may be of concern, to prevent the pool lifting and causing structural damage.