Private Pools, Spas & Ponds

Swimming Pool Fencing

Why do I have to fence my swimming pool and spa?

By making sure that your pool complies with the Swimming Pool Fencing Regulations you know that your pool will also be safe. These regulations are designed to protect children under 6 years of age by requiring that all swimming and spa pools are fenced in accordance with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987.

Fencing your pool can be easy and not as much fuss as you may have thought.

We can assist and advise you of what is required and your responsibilities under the law.

What is a swimming pool?

Any excavation, structure or product that is used and is capable of being used for swimming, wading, paddling or bathing, including spa pools.

Does my pool require fencing?

All private pools and spa pools have to be fenced unless:

  • the maximum depth is 400mm or less; or
  • the walls of the pool are 1.2 metres or more above the ground, and there is no permanent projection or object standing on the ground within 1.2 metres. This means no permanent means of access, such as steps are allowed, and temporary steps must be removed after being used; or
  • the pool is indoors.

Who is responsible?

Pool owners, or people in possession of properties with pools, including, for example, occupiers and tenants, as well as Timaru District Council, all have responsibilities under the Act.

Does my existing pool need to be fenced?

Yes, all pools must comply with the Act no matter when they were installed.

Where must the fence be built?

The fence may only surround the pool and the area immediately around the pool. This area can only include items used in association with the pool, such as the diving board, changing shed and swimming pool furniture. It may not include the clothes line, vegetable garden or children's play area etc… A secure boundary fence is not, on its own sufficient. It would not comply with the Act. However, subject to strict conditions, part of a boundary fence may be used as a part of a pool fence.

If a boundary fence is made use of, there is a danger that a neighbour may unwittingly make the fence unsafe. For example, the neighbour may put trellis or a stack of wood against the fence so that it becomes easy for a child to climb over into the pool area.

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, provided it meets certain conditions. Special exemption is required to be granted by the Council for these arrangements. (Refer BA Form 102)

Do I need a consent to install a pool (including spa pool) and build a pool fence?

Yes you do. Building Unit staff at Timaru District Council can provide help and advice on this.  You should use BA Form 2 - Building Consent Residential, unless applying for an exemption under BA Form 102 - Application for Special Exemption under s6 of the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987.

Spa Pool Exemption

The Council may consider applications for spa pools with lockable lids. This type of application requires a special exemption to be granted by the Council (Refer BA Form 102). Please contact the Building Unit for further information and advice.

Selling with an unfenced pool

Homebuyers can obtain a report, called a Land Information Memorandum (LIM), on the property they are buying. If there is a record of a non‑complying pool on the property, this would be noted in the report. This could mean hasty and expensive action by you to remedy the situation and enable the sale to proceed.

What happens if I fail to meet the requirements?

Failure to comply may result in expensive legal proceedings. Information in this brochure can show you that fencing your pool can be easy and not as much fuss as you may have thought.

Until your pool does comply with the Act, the pool must remain empty.

Safety Checklist

The Fencing Your Swimming Pool Information Sheet on the right contains the above information and has a very useful checklist to ensure safety.

We want to help

We want to make Timaru District a safer environment for everyone, including small children. Please contact us if you are unsure about what you need to do.

Contact Details:

If you require any further information please visit the Building Duty Officer at the main office of Council at 2 King George Place, Timaru or telephone 03 687 7236, or email: