New Pool Safety Legislation 1 January 2017

On 1 January 2017 new residential pool safety legislation became effective. On that date the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 (FOSPA) was repealed and replaced by specific pool safety clauses under the Building Act 2004. Most provisions have been carried over from the old legislation and the changes that have been made are mostly technical in nature. However, there are a number of more substantial changes that effect some pool owners; most notably:

  • Spa pools and hot tubs with lockable covers that are smaller than 5m squared and are at least 760 mm above the adjacent floor will no longer need to be separately fenced (under FOSPA these pools needed to be fenced unless a council exemption was sought and granted)
  • A three-yearly mandatory pool inspection regime will be established (FOSPA did not specify mandatory periodic pool inspections; most councils inspected pool fences on a three-yearly basis whereas other councils did not inspect pool barriers in their area at all).

The legislative changes do not significantly affect existing pool owners: if a pool currently complies with the fencing requirements under FOSPA, it will continue to comply under the new legislation. However, pool owners that live in areas where there is no pool inspection regime can expect their pool barriers to be inspected every three years.

The new legislation mainly effects new pool owners: spa pool and hot tub owners no longer need to build a fence around these structures provided that they meet the criteria mentioned in bullet 1 above.

Click here for Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) information on the new safety legislation.

Your local council should also be able to provide you with information on pool barrier requirements.