Spa and Swimming Pool Fencing FAQs

This page has frequently asked questions about the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016.

Has the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 been effective?

Yes. There were on average 10 deaths of young children per year prior to this legislation, compared with an average of two deaths per year over the past 10 years.

Why has the legislation changed?

The new legislation aims to save more lives, while also making the fencing requirements more practical and enforceable.

What is classed as a pool?

Under the new legislation, a pool is defined as an excavation, structure or product that is used (or capable of being used) for swimming, wading, paddling or bathing including spa pools, with a depth of 400 mm or more.

Do water features need to be fenced?

No. Barrier requirements do not apply to garden ponds and other water features.

Do all pools have to be fenced?

All private swimming pools and spa pools must be fenced unless:

  • they are less than 400mm deep
  • the walls are 1.2m or more above the pool surround, and there is no means of access e.g. steps over the wall
  • the pool is an indoor residential pool, or is inside a building
  • the pool has a waiver or modification granted by the Council

What Is a waiver or modification?

Council officers may grant a waiver or modification to the requirement to fence a pool if they believe this would not significantly increase danger to children under five years of age.

What has Porirua City Council previously done?

In response to the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987, the Council compiled a list of swimming and spa pools in the district. New swimming and spa pools require a building consent. As new pools have been built, the original list has been updated.

What are the Council’s responsibilities and powers under the new legislation? 

Council responsibilities and powers under the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 are:

  • All swimming pools must be inspected and certified every three years.
  • The Council may grant waivers or modifications in relation to means of restricting access to residential pools.
  • The Council can issue a notice to fix when a pool is non-compliant.
  • A person who fails to comply with a notice to fix commits an offence.
  • A person who commits this offence is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000.

Links to more information