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Swimming Pool Barriers

List of what is not allowed in a pool area or near them. Barrier and gate requirements.

Swimming Pool Barriers

Your responsibilities as a pool owner:

Drowning is a major cause of accidental death of infants and young children. Many of these drownings occur in private, un-barriered or inadequately barriered pools.

Does my pool need a barrier?

  • If your pool is 400mm deep or more, then it is required to be fenced properly with a barrier.

You do not need a barrier if:

  • The pool sits above the ground with smooth vertical walls that are 1.2m or more high, with no permanent steps for children to climb over into the pool.
  • The pool water is less than 400mm (like a shallow paddling pool or an empty swimming pool). Note that a responsible adult should supervise use of paddling pools at all times.
  • People are employed specifically to supervise the pool when it is in use, and the entire pool facility is locked at all other times.


  • Indoor pools associated to abodes are required to have pool barriers.

What sort of barrier does my pool need?

A barrier 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/barrier on its own may suffice as a pool barrier, providing it meets compliance requirements and there is nothing on the other side of the barrier, like close horizontal rails, a stack of firewood or trellis that a child could climb over.

The barrier:

  • Must be a least 1.2 m high at every point around the entire length of the outside of the barrier.
  • The barrier must not be able to be climbed. Any perforated material (trellis, mesh or netting) must have gaps no wider than 10mm if the barrier is 1.2 m high, or gaps no wider than 50mm if the barrier is 1.8 m high. Any horizontal supports on the outside of the barrier must be a least 900 mm apart.
  • When the property boundary barrier is being used as a pool barrier also, the barrier must be 1.800 m high from the ground level on the pool side of the barrier and the pool is to be at least 1.000 m from the barrier.
  • The barrier must be a least 1.2 m higher than any permanent climbable object or protrusion that is within 1.2 m of the barrier.
  • There must be no object near the gate that could hold it open.

What if my pool is right next to a building?

The wall of a building may form part of the barrier if it complies with the Building Act 2004 & Building Code F9.

  • Any door that provide direct access to the pool must be self-closing and self-latching, and must be fitted with a locking device at least 1.5 m from the floor level. They must not be fitted with any device that can hold them open.
  • Windows lower than 1.2m from the inside floor must be fitted with limiters that prevent the windows opening more than 100mm.

What is the immediate pool area?

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 does have a barrier. The pool area should not be a thoroughfare or used for other outdoor activities like clotheslines, vegetable gardens or children's plan equipment.

  • Yes, Building advisory staff at Central Hawke's Bay District Council can provide help and advise on this.

What about small heated pools?

Small heated pools with a water surface area of 5m2 or less and with walls that are 760 mm above the adjacent floor/ground do not require a barrier provided they have a lockable lid.

Q. When is a house a pool fence?

  • The walls of a house (or another building on the property) can form part of a pool fence providing it meets certain conditions.

Q. Can a building form part of the fence?

  • Buildings can form part of the fence but have to meet certain requirements in the Act.

Q. Can pool owners be exempted from the fencing of swimming pools act?

  • Pool owners can apply to the Council for an exemption from the Act. The Council can grant exemptions from the Act or specify certain conditions that the pool or the property must meet, if it is satisfied the exemptions or conditions would not significantly increase danger to young children.

Q. What pools must be fenced?

  • All private pools, including spa pools, must be fenced unless exempted under Section 5 of the Act or specifically exempted by a territorial authority under Section 6.

Immediate pool area should not contain any of the following:

  • Washing Line
  • Play Area and Equipment
  • Garage, Carport or Vehicle Access
  • Vegetable Garden
  • The Whole Back Yard

 Hinged Doors Giving Access to Pool Area

  • Closes and latches automatically
  • Latch/handle minimum of 1.5m from bottom of door
  • No devices to enable the door to be held open

 Sliding/Bifold Doors Giving Access to Pool Area

  • Latch or locking bolt, at a minimum of 1.5m from the floor

  Windows Giving Access to Pool Area Closer Than 1.2m From The Floor

  • Should be fitted with a limiter to prevent them opening more than 100mm


  • 1.2m high from outside ground level or any permanent projection within 1.2m
  • Gaps under fence less than 100mm
  • Mesh size no more than 10mm - fence must be at least 1.2m high
  • Mesh size no more than 50mm - fence must be at least 1.8m high
  • Picket fence gaps no wider than 100mm
  • No climb points on outside of fence e.g. seating etc.


  • Latch on outside of gate to be 1.5m high
  • Latch on pool side to be 1.2m high
  • To open away from pool
  • To be self closing and self latching

 Spa Pools

  • Must have a complying fence or an approved lockable cover

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