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Auckland reaffirms ‘common sense’ policy

14 February 2005

Auckland reaffirms ‘common sense’ policy to pool fencing, but urges owners to plan before they plunge

Auckland City is calling for new pool owners to make sure their pool fences will meet the latest guidelines – before they start building.

A High Court ruling released last October provided councils in the region with clarification of aspects of the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987.

“Pool owners, not the council, are responsible for ensuring the design of the pool fence is correct before it gets built,” says Geoff Atherfold, team leader, compliance monitoring. “It’s better for people to come to us for advice in the early stages, rather than wait. A failed inspection can be costly.”

The ruling provided guidance on the definition of the immediate pool area and the facilities that can be placed in this area, which had previously been considered open to interpretation.

Although the size of this controlled area has not been defined, it should contain only certain facilities. These may include a barbeque or outdoor seating, but not children’s play equipment, a clothesline or a vegetable garden, which could distract adults from monitoring their children.

Auckland City has carefully considered the court ruling and found that it essentially supports the council’s existing policy on pool fencing.

“The only change to our policy for new pool owners is that bi-folding and sliding doors may be included as part of the pool barrier. However, doors must lead directly to the pool area. There should also be clear sightlines to all parts of the pool,” says Mr Atherfold. Multiple doors out of sight of the pool will not be allowed.

“The council will be inspecting pools on a case-by-case basis and applying a ‘common sense’ policy in accordance with the act that takes child safety and supervision into account.”

While Auckland city’s existing 9000 pool owners are not affected by the court decision, they should ensure the pool fence, doors, windows and locks are well maintained, as pools are reinspected every two years.

ENDS

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