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Road conditions(2) Swimming pools notice(1)

Dunedin City Council – Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti

This page explains the fencing requirements for swimming pools under The Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016.

The Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 came into effect 1 January 2017. It repeals the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 and includes new provisions in the Building Act 2004 relating to residential pools.

The new legislation was introduced to help keep children safe around swimming pools and clearly sets out the types of fencing you need to have around your pool.

You need building consent before constructing any type of pool or altering a fence around a pool. If a pool is not fenced to the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code, you must keep it empty. If you rent or lease a house with an unfenced pool, the pool must stay empty.

Portable pools are treated in the same way as other residential pools. They must have barriers that restrict access by young children if they are filled or partly filled with water. Portable pools with a maximum depth of water of less than 400mm are exempt.

The new law no longer requires small heated pools (includes spa pools) to be fenced. Safety covers can be the barrier that restricts access to a small heated pool, where the water surface area is 5m2 or less. The Building Code will allow a safety cover where the side walls of the pool are at least 760mm high and cannot be climbed. A safety 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 readily returned to the closed position.

The heights for fencing around a pool (whether permanent or portable) are as follows:

  • the height of the fence around a pool should be 1200mm if the pool is solely within the property, or 1800mm if the pool is adjacent to a boundary.
  • there must be no climbable structures (including trees) within 1200mm adjacent to the fence, which could be used to climb over the fence.
  • any fence around the pool must also have a self-closing gate with a child proof latch.

The above requirements are the same whether the pool is permanent or temporary.

The Dunedin City Council now has new tools to enforce the pool barrier requirements and can issue a notice to fix a non-complying pool. Persons failing to comply with the notice to fix could receive an infringement notice or face prosecution.

The Dunedin City Council now has discretionary power to inspect any residential pool, including small heated pools, to determine whether the pool barrier requirements are being complied with.

For more information see the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website in the related information section.

Filling the Pool

When filling your pool, you must have a backflow prevention device fitted to prevent contamination of our water supply.

Backflow preventers fit into the pipe or hose system used to fill the pool, to stop water from the pool being sucked back into the pipe or hose and contaminating the water supply with pool water.

There are four basic types of devices that can be used:

  • Air gaps
  • Vacuum breakers, both atmospheric and pressure type
  • Double check valve assemblies
  • Reduced pressure zone devices.

For hose-filled pools, the most commonly used is the hose connection vacuum breaker, which fit between your hose tap and hose.

You can get more information about what is best for you from your pool supplier or local plumbing merchant.

Emptying your pool

It is very important to empty your swimming pool into the foul drain system rather than into the gutter. The gutter will take your pool's water into the storm-water system which goes directly to the nearest natural water body. The chlorine and other chemicals in your pool can have a potentially devastating and cumulative effect on our water supply, flora and fauna.

If you have an in-ground pool, you may need to take precautionary measures before you empty the pool if the groundwater table is high or of concern in your area.

In rural areas pools can be emptied directly to the ground. Please do not empty the pool into a water course or septic tank system.

If you have questions about any of these matters, contact us and we can talk you through them.

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