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Does an automatic pool cover count as a swimming pool fence?

By Pierce Bedogni - 18 Oct 2018

New Zealanders have always had a love affair with the water. We go to the beach and we have our own backyard pools - either permanent or temporary. Now that summer is just around the corner, it's a perfect time to ensure that your swimming pool complies with the rules.

The laws around swimming pools are simple. If a pool has more than 0.4m of water in it, it must have a fence. That fence must be lockable, with automatic closing gates and be over 1.2 metres high.

However, since 1999, Councils around New Zealand issued waivers and exemptions for pool owners with automatic lockable pool covers, rather than standard fences.

That exemption has now ended.

In issuing its determination, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has gone for function over form. Even though an aesthetically pleasing automatic pool cover can provide protection, the cover would now have to be closed every time the adult supervising left the pool area.

Essentially, what is now required is at least a simple pool gate and fence. It is considered that this is the most tried and tested way to keep young children safe from drowning.

To discuss the issues in this blog, or any other general construction issues, please contact Pierce Bedogni or any of our construction law specialists.


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