Swimming Pools & Spa Pools

Who must be notified?

All owners of swimming pools, that are not defined as 'small heated pools', are required to notify QLDC.

Does my pool need to be fenced?

Legislation wording changed so that the term 'fencing' was replaced with 'barriers'.

This allows owners of above-ground small (less than 5m2) heated pools, or spa pools, that meet certain other criteria, to use lockable lids as a 'barrier' to prevent entry, when not in use.

Who checks?

Owners must have the pool barrier inspected by QLDC, to ensure it continues to meet the criteria it was installed to.

Inspections must be done every three years.

What is the legislation? What changed?

The Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 came into effect some time ago now on 01 Jan 17.

Some key changes were:

  • Residential swimming pool barriers must be inspected every three years
  • Safety covers will be able to be used as barriers for spa pools and hot tubs
  • Territorial Authorities, like QLDC, have better tools to enforce pool barrier requirements, including Notices to Fix and Infringement Notices

Who has responsibility?

In this legislation, even more responsibility for pool safety is put on the owner.

The responsibility depends on the type of pool and its location (e.g. home, rental, commercial).

Responsibilities sit with:

  • The owner of the pool
  • The pool operator
  • The owner of the land the pool is on
  • The occupier of the property the pool is on
  • If the pool is available for hire, the person who is hiring the pool
  • If the pool is on premises that are not subject to a tenancy (under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986) but the pool is subject to a lease or is part of premises subject to a lease, the lessee of the pool or the premises

How to register a pool? 

All pool owners must notify QLDC of the existence of a pool on their property, so pool inspections can be coordinated. Use this form:

Download: AF SPN Swimming Pool Notification (198 KB)

A fixed fee will be required for registration. This is a one-off fee required for administration costs associated with the inspection program and maintaining the pool register.

Requirements explained

Video hyperlink: https://youtu.be/kPPWHQ_qZtg

More information

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise has guidance here.

How is a swimming pool defined?

All swimming pools at a home or accommodation location (e.g. campground, hotel, motel, hostel) are required to have fencing and be inspected.

A pool is classified as any structure or excavation normally used for swimming, paddling or bathing.

It includes any product, that is not a normal bath, which is designed or modified for swimming, wading, paddling or bathing. This does not include an artificial lake.

What is not a swimming pool?

Spa pools and hot tubs are designed for therapeutic or recreational use. These are referred to as 'small heated pools' in legislation. Fencing and inspection requirements may apply to your spa pool depending on its size.

If a spa pool's water surface area is less than 5m2 and its sides are higher than 760mm above the adjacent floor or ground, and the walls of the pool inhibit climbing, then a lockable safety cover is permitted.

Otherwise fencing and inspection requirements will apply.

How do pool inspections work?

Every residential pool must be inspected every 3 years, within 6 months either side of the anniversary of the pool’s completion.

QLDC notifies you when an inspection is pending.

Inspections are done by the local Territorial Authority (QLDC) or by an Independently Qualified Pool Inspector (IQPI) approved by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE). The pool inspector public register is here.

If using an IQPI, they must submit to QLDC a Certificate of Periodic Inspection. If QLDC is not satisfied with the certificate, QLDC has 7 working days to notify MBIE giving reason(s) for not accepting the certificate. Both IQPI and Territorial Authorities charge work done.

The Council is required to notify the pool owner of an upcoming inspection regardless of who carries out the inspection and is required to hold the inspection records. The person carrying out the inspection has the authority to read the previous pool records prior to the inspection.

If the pool does not pass inspection, a Notice To Fix will be issued. The Owner will have to address the compliance issues within the timeframe stated in the notice. Failure to comply with a Notice To Fix results in an Infringement Notice and fine, and potential prosecution.

Owners must ensure all compliance requirements are met. If not, the pool may not be filled with water.

QLDC encourages pool owners to regularly check pools and surrounding areas to ensure continued compliance and to promptly do safety maintenance.

For further guidance on frequently asked questions please download the below guidance document: 

Download: IS SPG- Swimming Pool Guidance (126 KB)

Where are the standards set?

NZ Building Code: F9 (Means of Restricting Access to Residential Pools).

Access barriers such as pool fencing, boundary fencing or the wall of a building must comply with Clause F9. Means can include:

If the Territorial Authority (TA) is not satisfied a design satisfies compliance with F9, the TA may insist you apply for and pay for a MBIE determination.

What is a backflow prevention device?

The Building Code 2004 and Local Government Act 2002 required the protection of public water supply from cross contamination between potable (drinkable) and non-potable supplies.

Pools may require the installation of a backflow prevention device; the minimum requirement being an atmospheric vacuum breaker fitted to the hose tap used to fill the pool.