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The requirements and responsibilities of being a pool owner with particular regard to Fencing.
Drowning is a major cause of accidental death of infants and young children. Many of these drownings occur in private, unfenced or inadequately fenced pools.
If your pool is 400mm deep or more, it is required to be fenced properly.
Fencing must fully enclose the pool area. It should prevent young children from moving directly into the pool area from the house, other buildings, garden paths or other parts of the property.
A boundary fence on its own may suffice as a pool fence, providing it meets compliance requirements and there is nothing on the other side of the fence, like close horizontal rails, a stack of firewood or trellis that a child could climb over.
The wall of a building may form part of the fence if it complies with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act.
The immediate pool area is the area that is directly related to the use of the pool. It may include a pump shed and changing rooms, decking or paving, pool furniture and a barbecue/dining area.
It should not include the whole backyard, even if the boundary is fenced. The pool area should not be a thoroughfare or used for other outdoor activities like clotheslines, vegetable gardens or children’s play equipment.
Lockable spa pool covers do not comply with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act, so spa pools must also be fenced. Unfenced spa pools fitted with lockable covers must have a special exemption from the Council.
90% of children who drown in home pools are residents or visitors to the property.
Supervision and education are not sufficient to prevent preschool drownings. In many cases, drowning occur with a parent or caregiver on the property who has only taken their eyes off the child for a few moments.
Incidents of child drowning have reduced by more than half since the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act was introduced in 1987.
The pool owner is responsible for installing and maintaining pool fencing that is safe and effective.
The council is required by law to make sure that pool fences comply with the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016. For this reason Central Hawke’s Bay District Council carries out pool fencing inspections.
Central Hawke’s Bay District Council currently inspects pool fencing as required during the building consent process. The most at-risk pools are usually found in older homes that have not recently been through the building consent process. The council has prepared a proactive district-wide pool inspection programme that will commence in 2017, with a priority focus on owners of swimming pools that are not currently fenced.
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