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Have your say on new pool fencing standard

28 June 2006

Have your say on new pool fencing standard

Auckland City 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 new standard, entitled 'Safety Barriers for Young Children around Swimming Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs', has been drawn up by Standards New Zealand, in conjunction with local government, the pool industry and water safety groups.

Auckland City's principal building officer, Bob de Leur, says a single, unambiguous set of rules for pool fencing is long overdue and having a New Zealand standard is a step in the right direction.

"We've all been struggling with confusing regulations, leading to an unworkable situation for many years," says Mr de Leur.

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 difficult for local bodies. Enforcement policies and practices have consequently varied from council to council.

The new standard will provide a permanent solution for councils and eliminate any confusion.

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

Mr de Leur 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 Auckland City pool owners," he says.

Auckland City 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 "drafts for comment" at www.standards.co.nz

For further information, pool owners should call Auckland City on 379 2020.


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