While keeping up with new legislation isn’t the average person’s idea of fun, recent legal changes around pool fencing could affect you and your property. While I won’t go into all the nitty-gritty details about what’s changing (you can read them for yourself here), the crux of it is that on 1 January 2017, the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 repealed the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987, and provisions about pool fencing were inserted into the Building Act 2004. Still confused? Don’t worry—I’m here to break down what these changes will mean for you and your property.
The new fencing laws can be broken down into three main changes: inspection frequency, new territorial authority, and suitable barriers.
While the Auckland Council already requires that privately owned pools undergo a check-up every 3 years, this requirement now applies to all pools across the country. Inspections can be performed by either a council member or an independent pool inspector. While I’m not qualified to make official pool inspections, I know some of the key things to look out for when I do your property inspections, and can give you a heads up as to what may no longer qualify as a safe pool barrier.
When a qualified person comes to inspect your pool, they will take a look at both the external barriers and the internal functionality of the pool, making sure that it is both safe and compliant. Now that the standards around compliant barriers have changed, you may find your pool does not pass its inspection, even if it was fine last time. Spa pools smaller than 5m2 may only need a safety cover as a suitable barrier, and doors that lead directly to a pool must be self-closing or have an alarm that sounds if the door is not closed again after an adult walks through. While these may seem costly and unnecessary, you don’t want to have a child drown in your pool due to non-compliant fencing—which is why it’s worth calling an expert.
How pool fencing affects buying and selling properties
Your property is more than just your house, and in the same way that I advise contacting a property inspector before buying, it’s also worthwhile to have someone inspect your pool. If you’re selling, the last thing you want is for someone to inform you that your pool barriers aren’t up to standard—you don’t want to have to lower your selling price! Being able to inform potential buyers that your pool meets the required safety codes proves the value of your property, and hopefully will encourage people to buy it.
If you’re looking to buy a house, a non-compliant pool could become a hidden cost, something best avoided with the help of a specialist. The ideal transaction between a seller and a buyer will have as few hiccups as possible, which is why both pool and property inspections are so crucial.
With changes in the Act come changes in standards of acceptability, and while this may seem like a pain the neck for people with pools on their property, it’s all about keeping people safe in your home. Don’t let hidden costs catch you off guard—get both your pool and house up to standard with the help of a professional.
Contact me now to book a professional property inspection.