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BIA rule that spa pools now to be fenced

BIA rule that spa pools now to be fenced

All new spa pools in Auckland City and on the North Shore will now require fencing following a recent determination by the Building Industry Authority (BIA). BIA’s determination means that lockable spa pool covers can no longer be approved as a suitable safety barrier.

Geoff Atherfold, Auckland City’s compliance monitoring team leader, says: “We must be guided by the advice that we have received from the BIA, as it has broad legal implications in regard to health and safety.”

North Shore’s environmental protection team leader, Ian Parker, says: “Until recently lockable spa pool covers were regarded as an alternative solution under the Building Code, which meant that spa pools with appropriate locking covers did not necessarily require separate fencing.”

“The reasoning behind the BIA’s determination was that lockable covers relied too much on the ‘human factor’ to put them in place, whereas complying fencing and self-closing gates were less likely to rely on this factor,” says Mr Parker.

However, the changes will not affect existing spa pools that received building consent before 30 October 2002 on the North Shore, and 11 November 2002 in Auckland City. North Shore and Auckland City property owners who have a spa pool for which consent has already been granted can be assured that this consent remains valid.

Before this recent determination, it’s of note that some councils accepted unfenced spa pools with lockable covers, while others did not. The case was bought before the BIA by a property owner who wished to have a spa pool exempted from the fencing requirements, given the different ways in which consent is granted in different regions. The BIA’s determination was that lockable spa pool covers do not comply, and as a result both North Shore City and Auckland City councils have now changed the way in which consents for spa pools are granted.

New spa pools that are not in a building or an enclosed structure must now have a complying fence, and this also applies to portable spa pools.

Auckland City will be inspecting all spa pools on a two-yearly basis to ensure they are fenced in compliance with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act.

For more details on pool fencing standards, please go to http:// http://www.northshore.govt.nz or http://www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/poolfencing, or call the North Shore Actionline on (09) 486 8600 or Auckland City on (09) 379 2020.

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