The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is driving a number of changes to pool barrier requirements to improve safety and save lives by decreasing the risk of drowning, particularly for small children.
On 1 January 2017 the Government revoked the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 and introduced new requirements into the Building Act 2004 under the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016. These changes will affect all pool owners, suppliers and councils.
From 1 July, all residential swimming pool barriers must be inspected every three years, and Councils will be responsible for making sure everyone is compliant through a new site inspection process. We’ll notify pool owners by letter or email when their inspections are due. If you're a pool owner, please read the following information to find out what the changes mean for you.
Changes to who can carry out inspections
The new regulations introduce ‘Independently qualified pool inspectors (IQPI)’. An IQPI is someone who’s been approved by MBIE to inspect and certify pools. From July MBIE hope to have a list of IQPI’s available online.
Once you receive your reminder letter, you’ll be able to choose to hire an IQPI in your area to inspect your pool, or to have Council carry out the inspection at a cost of $150 per hour.
We’ve introduced inspection fees to meet the new resourcing and administration costs associated with the change in legislation. Council now has a legal obligation to make sure all pool barriers comply with the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016. Introducing new inspection fees is consistent with other councils across the country, with some other councils already charging fees prior to 1 July 2017.
Rules for construction of pool barriers
In April MBIE released its ‘acceptable solutions’ document, which focuses on restricting the unsupervised access to residential pools by children under five. It outlines the construction rules for pool barriers as well as the construction and operation of doors, gates and windows that provide access to a pool area.
Spas and small heated pools
If you have a spa or small heated pool and it meets the conditions below, then the three-yearly mandatory inspections won’t apply to it and you’ll be responsible for compliance going forward. We’ll need to sign if off though, so if our records show that you’re a spa or small heated pool owner, we’ll be in touch to arrange an inspection free of charge.
Spa pools can use lockable lids as a barrier if:
A safety cover must have signage indicating its child safety features, and must be able to:
Meeting your statutory obligations
If your inspection shows that your pool isn’t compliant, you’ll have time to get it up to standard and we’ll keep in touch to make sure we can help you get there. It’s now the law for pool owners to make sure their pool barriers comply, so owners who don’t can be issued with a ‘Notice to fix’ under the Building Act if action isn’t taken.
For more information, visit the websites listed below or come along to one of our Pool Owner Information Meetings that we’re planning to hold. We’ll send dates and times out to you once they’re confirmed.
Updating your details
If you have any changes to your pool ownership status, including small heated pools, please email us. Alternatively you can call us on 0800 486 486 or write to the Kāpiti Coast District Council Compliance Team.
Our Water Supply Bylaw requires a backflow prevention device is fitted into the pipe or hose system used to fill the pool that stops water from the pool being sucked back into the water supply (for example, in the event of a fall in the mains water pressure).
Four basic types of device can be used: air gaps, vacuum breakers (both atmospheric and pressure type), double check valve assemblies, and reduced pressure zone devices.
For hose-filled pools, the most common device is the hose connection vacuum breaker. These devices are a specialised version of the atmospheric vacuum breaker. They are usually attached to hose taps and in turn to outlets such as garden hoses.
When emptying the water from your pool, you must make sure it doesn't enter the waterways. This means it can't run down the stormwater drains because they discharge into streams and rivers. Residents connected to the Council sewage system can dispose of their pool water down the sewer via a gully trap. Owners with alternative sewage disposal systems (e.g. septic tanks) should talk to us about their situation.
Filtered backwash water could contain contaminants and must also be put via a gully trap into the sewer.
Note: It might be necessary to take precautionary measures before emptying in-ground pools where the ground water table is high or could be of concern, to prevent the pool lifting and causing structural damage.