Like any building consent, safety is central to the legal requirements for new above ground or in ground pools, spas and/or associated fencing.

Changes to pool fence requirements

A law change means the requirements for fencing of swimming pools are covered by the Building Act 2004.

Here's some information about the fencing of pools:

  • All pools must still have a complying barrier.
  • If your pool barrier complied with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act, it should continue to comply with the Building Act.
  • Your pool barrier will still be checked every three years.

The Council is not required to periodically inspect small heated pools or spa pools providing the following criteria are met:

  1. Water surface area of five square metres or less.
  2. 760mm unclimbable sides.
  3.  A complying lockable lid.

The details around what is required for compliance are available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website(external link), under building code clause F9.

  • Unsupervised access via faulty gates and fences is a leading cause of children drowning or being injured in pools. Make sure fences/barriers, self-closing gates and latches are maintained and working correctly.
  • Blow up pools are popular with young families. They’re fun for children and don’t need a barrier if the maximum water level is less than 400mm. Children should be watched closely at all times and the pool emptied after use.
  • Doors must either self-close or have an alarm to comply with the new rules. 
  • Exemptions are no longer available but under the Building Act you can apply for a waiver or modification.

For more information, see the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website(external link).

Pool fences

The minimum height for a pool barrier is 1.2m above ground level.

No space under the bottom of the gate or fence can be greater than 100mm from the ground, and there should be no other holes or gaps through which a child could access the pool area.

If a window in a wall forming part of the fence is less than 1000mm from the floor, it cannot open more than 100mm. Gates and existing doors must open away from the pool, and automatically close and latch when released from a distance of 150mm from the open position.

Immediate pool area

The immediate (fenced) pool area must not contain:

  • vehicle or pedestrian access ways
  • clotheslines
  • children’s sandpits/playgrounds
  • slides
  • swings
  • vegetable gardens
  • other objects not normally related to use of a pool

There must not be any objects within 1.2m of the fence (or otherwise accessible) which could help a young child climb the fence.

If you are unsure whether your fence complies, or are thinking about installing a swimming pool or spa, please contact us on 03 941 8999.

Pool inspections

Your swimming or spa pool fence must remain compliant at all times for the safety of young children.

Council pool inspectors will inspect existing pools at least once every three years, within six months (before or after) the pool's anniversary date, to ensure they have adequate barriers and follow the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016.

An inspection fee of $166.80 will be charged for each inspection. This fee means ratepayers are not burdened with the full cost of inspecting pools.

To book an inspection or enquire about a booked inspection for an existing pool, please contact us on 03 941 8727.


Refer to the Building Consents Fee Schedule.

Please note: fixed fees and minimum application fees do not always cover all of the consent related costs of an application.

For further guidance and advice