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New standard will end pool fencing confusion

New standard will end pool fencing confusion
June 20, 2006

North Shore City Council is calling for public comment on a new national standard for swimming pool fencing, which will replace confusing legislation and more clearly define pool owners’ responsibilities.

The council has taken a leading role in drafting the new standard ‘Safety Barriers for Young Children around Swimming Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs’.

Environmental protection team leader, Warwick Robertson, says a single, unambiguous set of rules for pool fencing is long overdue.

The document has been drawn up by Standards New Zealand, in conjunction with local government, the pool industry and water safety groups.

“We’ve all been struggling with an unworkable situation for many years,” says Mr Robertson.

The need for a clearer guideline on pool fencing was highlighted by a High Court judgement in August 2004 which labelled existing legislation as confusing and contentious.

Current rules and conditions contained in the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act conflict with those in the Building Act, making enforcement extremely difficult for local bodies. Enforcement policies and practices have consequently varied from council to council.

Pool inspections in North Shore City had been put on hold but resumed last year when the Department of Internal Affairs published its own interim guidelines. The new standard will provide a permanent solution.

The standard is available for public comment until August 14. Once adopted, compliance requirements in the two acts will be revoked.

Mr Robertson says the new standard is realistic, workable and fair, and largely reflects the position already being taken by the council.

“Not a lot will change for North Shore City pool owners,” he says.

Mr Robertson advises all owners of swimming pools and spas to read the draft document and have their say if they so wish.

The draft standard can be viewed on the council’s website at www.northshorecity.govt.nz or at any of the council’s area offices.

For further information, pool owners should call North Shore City Council on 486 8600.

ENDS

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