Swimming Pool Fencing

The Building Act Amendment 2016 was introduced to repeal the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987. This act still requires that swimming pools be fenced to protect young children. Most drownings are among the children of pool owners and visitors, rather than wandering children, so a boundary fence is not enough. The immediate pool area needs to be fenced.

All spa pools, hot tubs and swimming pools in Hastings district must be registered. Many will also need a building consent in order to comply with the Building Act.

Pool fencing must be inspected every three years by Council and regularly checked to ensure it continues to comply.

Pool Owners’ Obligations

You need a building consent before constructing any type of pool, or building or altering a fence around a pool.  If a pool is not fenced to legal standards, you must keep it empty.  If that could allow someone to fall one metre or more to the bottom of the pool, you must erect barriers to prevent that.

All pool owners must advise the Council if they have a pool on their property.

Tenants’ Obligations

If you rent or lease a house with an unfenced pool (or one that has a sub-standard fence) you must keep the pool empty.

Unfenced pools

If you use an unfenced pool, you are committing an offence and are liable for prosecution.  Prosecutions have been taken against owners of properties with inadequately fenced pools in which children have drowned.

Fencing Exemptions

All private swimming pools need to be fenced unless:

  • The maximum depth is 400 mm or less.
  • The walls of the pool are 1.2 metres or more above the ground with no steps, hand holds or projections enabling a child to climb.
  • The pool is indoors. Some conditions apply.

The Council has discretion to grant exemptions to fencing standards if satisfied that the danger to young children will not be significantly increased.

Standard of fencing

You will require a building consent to build a swimming pool fence. All materials and components must be durable, and the fence must be erected to prevent young children from climbing over, or crawling under or through the fence from the outside.

If using a boundary fence as part of your pool fencing, you need to regularly ensure that the neighbouring side is free from climbing objects.


Before you commit to buying or building a pool, please contact the Swimming Pool Safety Officer to discuss your proposal fully.
johngs@hdc.govt.nz or phone 06 871 5000.
Swimming Pool Safety Officer
Hastings District Council
Private Bag 9002
Hastings 4156