Summer is almost here, and with it comes long sunny days, BBQs, and swimming in the backyard pool. It’s something that all Northlanders look forward to, but before you dust off your speedos, now is the perfect time to check whether your pool satisfies all of its legal requirements.
On 1 January 2017 the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 came into effect. This piece of legislation repealed the old Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987, while including the updated provisions relating to pool safety in the Building Act 2004. The introduction of these new amendments was to help increase pool safety, and to take a more practical approach when dealing with residential swimming pools.
Residential swimming pool barriers must be inspected every three years.
Safety covers are now classified as barriers for spa pool and hot tubs.
Your local council now have greater tools to enforce barrier requirements at their disposal including notices to fix and infringement notices.
How does this effect pools built prior to 1 January 2017?
If your swimming pool met the old fencing regulations, it will continue to be compliant under the “savings provision” provision of the new Act. Any pool built after this however must meet the new fencing regulations.
What about my kids’ paddling pool?
Under the new regulations any pool with a maximum depth of 400mm or more must have a physical barrier which restricts access – regardless of whether they are filled or partly filled.
What if I don’t comply?
If your pool is found to be in breach of the regulations you may be issued with a “notice to fix”. If this is not complied with you will be at risk of receiving a fine of up to $5,000!
It is also important to note that before installing a pool barrier (other than a safety cover for a spa pool or hot tub) building consent must be obtained first.
Pool safety is a serious issue. With pool inspections now mandatory every three years instead of five, you should check that your pool complies with the latest regulations.
If you are looking to purchase a property with a pool, you should check that it is legally compliant before purchasing, to ensure your family is safe this season.