In this section

What you need to know about residential pools, small heated pools, pool fencing, and the pool register.

Legislation for swimming pools changed on 1 January 2017. The aim is to prevent drowning and injury to young children by restricting unsupervised access to residential pools.

Even if you don’t have young children on your property yourself – it is important that your pool continues to keep young children safe.

Key points

  • Residential swimming pools that are filled or partially filled with water must have barriers that restrict access to the pool or the immediate pool area to unsupervised children
  • This applies to all residential pools that can be filled with water to 400mm deep or more
  • The pool barrier should prevent young children moving directly to the pool from the house, other buildings, garden paths, or other areas of the property normally open to them
  • Pool barriers must comply with the Building Act 2004 and Building Code clause F9 (restricting access to residential pools)
  • You need a building consent to construct a pool barrier
  • Your pool must be on our pool register and be checked for compliance at least once every three years.

There are a number of ways to comply under the legislation which we’ve covered below. Note that these are not the only ways to restrict access and you can use other alternative measures that meet the performance requirements of F9.

Does it apply to my pool?

Residential pools must have a barrier around the immediate pool area when the pool

  • is used as part of an abode (any place used predominantly as a place of residence) including when used in association with the abode on land adjacent to where the pool is located, and
  • is filled or partially filled with water.

So this includes

  • indoor and outdoor residential pools,
  • small heated pools such as spa pools and hot tubs, and
  • inflatable/kitset pools that you pull out of storage for summer – even though they’re not permanent.

What is considered the immediate pool area?

The immediate pool area must include

  • the land the pool is located on or in, and
  • the surrounding area which can only include activities that are used in conjunction with the pool.

Fencing your full property doesn’t make the rest of the land part of the immediate pool area. A separate fence is still needed around the immediate pool area itself.

Who is responsible for what?

  • As an owner you are responsible for ensuring that the swimming pool has a barrier that complies
  • The Council is responsible for ensuring  that the barrier is checked a minimum of once every three years to confirm compliance
  • Council must hold a register of all residential swimming pools in their district, including small heated pools.
  • Manufacturers and retailers are responsible for informing you of your responsibilities when you buy one.

Is my pool on the register?

Council’s pool register holds details of all swimming pools within the district. The register also schedules when the pool barrier needs to be inspected next.

To find out if your pool is on the register or when your next scheduled inspection is due, contact us on

If your pool isn’t on the register or you're due for your next inspection you can arrange for an inspection by

A fee will be charged for the inspection and associated administration work. Please see our fee schedule for details.

Do I need a building consent?

Because a swimming pool barrier is classed as a building under the Building Act 2004 you will need to apply for a building consent if

  • you're putting in any new fencing, or
  • replacing existing fencing, or
  • you want to move the existing barrier to a different location on the property.

The pool itself doesn’t necessarily need a building consent.

Regularly maintaining your pool barrier

As a pool owner you’re responsible for carrying out routine maintenance to ensure the pool barrier continues to meet the minimum requirements, including

  • lubricating gate hinges,
  • checking gate self-closing mechanisms,
  • pruning trees and vegetation to keep it clear from the pool barrier, and
  • repairing and replacing any broken or damaged parts of the pool barrier as part of routine maintenance.

Small heated pools

Small heated pools (eg spa pools and hot tubs) can use a safety cover as the barrier, so long as the pool

  • has a water surface area less than 5m2, and
  • side walls from top to ground level is 760mm or more above ground level, and
  • can’t be easily climbed – ie
    • no climbable objects within 760mm of the edge of the pool
    • no ridges, overhangs, indentations or similar greater than 10mm, and
  • has a cover that
    • is held in place with lockable snap fasteners with a minimum width of 35mm,
    • can’t be lifted to create a gap more than 100mm when the locks are in place,
    • can support a point load of 20kg, and
    • is sloped so that water can’t pond on top, and
  • has warning signage on at least two sides of the pool – eg

Spa pool warning signage example