NZ Fencing Requirements if You Have a Pool on Your Property


There are rules and regulations that apply to pools and their fencing requirements across New Zealand. The Fencing of Swimming Pools Act (FOSPA) sets out the guidelines which are then enforced by local councils. Most councils will have a guide or code of practice you can refer to for any specific requirements by that council. In some cases, for instance if you are putting in a new pool you will require building permission or council consent before you can even start work. 

Is a spa pool a pool?

Yes if the water depth can exceed 40cm (400mm) then a spa pool is considered a pool for regulatory purposes. Spa pool owners can apply for exemptions to pool fencing requirements in some instances. Refer to your local council for specific information and advice on heights and lockable lid guidelines.

Regulations for Pools

The FOSPA has been in effect since 1987. In 2006 New Zealand Standard released NZS8500:2006 which is aimed to replace the section in the act specifically regarding spa pools. Local councils can use these guidelines when considering an exemption application, but interpretation can and does vary. Note that at the time of writing this act change/amendment is still undergoing the parliament process for change. So if you are in Tauranga, contact the Tauranga city council for advice.

Why fence?

Since the FOSPA was introduced the number of toddler deaths associated with private pools and spa pools has reduced from an average of 11.5 per annum to 3. Note also that pool ownership has increased in this time period by 30% so the act has achieved its aim to reduce the number of preventable toddler deaths due to drowning. Adult supervision and education cannot be relied upon alone to protect young children.

Who’s responsibility?

The pool owner is responsible for ensuring the fencing meets council requirements. If you rent a home with a pool supplied then the landlord is responsible. If as tenants you install a portable spa pool or above ground pool (with landlord permission of course) then you will be responsible for ensuring your pool is compliant with fencing regulations. If you buy a home with a pool it is your responsibility to make sure the pool and fencing are compliant with council regulations.

Are any pools exempt from fencing?

Yes, in 5 instances your pool may be exempt from having to be fenced 

1. If an above ground pool has a wall 1.2m or higher then it is exempt provided there are no permanent ladders or steps.

2. If the maximum depth of water in the pool cannot exceed 40cm or 400mm then a fence is not required – this may apply to many inflatable or temporary ‘backyard paddling pools’

3. A pool that is located within a building, where that building has more purposes than to just house a pool it may be exempt – check with your council for specifics

4. If a pool has paid employee supervision and is secured behind locked gates at all other times then that pool may also be exempt from fencing regulations.
5. A spa pool that meets the guidelines of the NZ standards NZS8500:2006 may also be exempt

Having established that your pool requires a fence it would be advisable to contact a registered and professional fence company who specialise in pool fences in Tauranga such as Tauranga Balustrades & Gates. The main reason is because there are many detailed requirements regarding height, various dimensions of construction and also materials that can be used for pool security fencing in Tauranga.Glass pool fencing in Tauranga is popular to allow visibility with security. Visit for images and to contact for a quote.

Contact our friendly team at Tauranga Balustrades & Gates to make a booking!



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