Above: Our vintage Web Site main page from 2011


5 June 2018:
Across the ditch... pool fencing in NZ

We've been through the same thing here, now the pool fencing saga is playing out in New Zealand.

New pool safety legislation came into effect in New Zealand on 1 January 2017. The Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 repealed the Fencing Swimming Pools Act 1987 and inserted provisions relating to residential pool safety into the Building Act 2004.

According to the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), key changes to the code included:

  • residential swimming pool barriers must be inspected every three years;
  • safety covers will be used as barriers for spa pools and hot tubs; and,
  • territorial authorities will have better tools to enforce pool barrier requirements, including notices to fix and infringement notices.

Provisions in the building code included clause 162C (1), which deems that residential pools (filled or partly filled) must have means of restricting access — via a physical barrier — by unsupervised children under five years of age. Clause 162C (2) states that the means of restricting access must comply with the current code requirements, or those that were in force at the time of construction or installation (post 1987).


This probably seems fairly straightforward, not to mention familiar. Unfortunately — as is often the case with retrospective legislation — the implementation hasn't exactly been smooth sailing. There's been conjecture over 'short cuts' and 'loopholes', a couple of backflips and a whole lot of complaining as industry, government and water safety groups try to reach some sort of consensus.

While the new Act requires territorial authorities to inspect pool fences, it also allows regions to waive or modify building code requirements. The intent here is for authorities to exercise judgement when dealing with 'unusual compliance conditions'.

What is a suitable physical barrier?

In February this year, local NZ news website reported that in the 12 months since the new Act came into effect, MBIE had received 25 waiver applications that nominated automatic covers as a suitable physical barrier to swimming pool access. Had 23 of the 25 waiver applications not originated in one council district, the trend may not have been immediately apparent.

The bulk of the applications came from Marlborough District Council, which said it had sought clarification from MBIE on the use of electric safety covers versus fences. The council said ithad received no signal to suggest this was an unsuitable solution, so continued to submit waiver applications in the same vein. The crux of the issue here is the subjective nature of the process — what inspectors in one district determine to be a reasonable modification won't necessarily be seen that way by others. One man's 'unusual compliance conditions' are not the same as another's, if you like.


At this point, Water Safety NZ (WSNZ) stepped in and suggested the only acceptable form of barrier was fencing and that the inclusion of pool covers as an alternative threatened to introduce uncertainty because the practice is open to human failure. As five children under the age of five had died in preventable deaths since the legislation came into effect, WSNZ said that allowing pool covers as an alternative to fencing was effectively a 'short cut' that introduced unacceptable risk and should be banned.

Covers banned

By late March, the use of automatic pool covers without fencing was banned nationwide, with MBIE ruling the practice as non-compliant with the building code. MBIE said that a compliant pool fence with automatically closing gates or door alarms presented less risk than the use of an automated pool cover. This is because the pool cover could be left open — even if only temporarily — when a supervising adult was not present. Given that the overriding intent of building code changes was to prevent injury or death to young children in residential pools, MBIE deemed the increased risk associated with (fenceless) pool cover use as incompatible with that overall objective.

Predictably, not everyone was happy with the outcome. In Marlborough, 200 affected pool owners will have to apply for building consent to install a compliant barrier. For those with expired exemptions, that is an immediate requirement and, for those with as-yet-unexpired waivers, a compliant installation must be in by the expiry date (which can be between five and 10 years). 

For those with an immediate issue, the council suggested a range of remedies including putting up a temporary barrier and draining pools to 400 millimetres or less. The latter of these presents an additional problem, as it potentially creates a drop of more than one metre. Not only is this also unallowable under the building code, it represents an even greater safety risk, according to industry members. Temporary measures aside, home owners with expired waivers have only 90 days to comply.

Industry members suggest that planned pool installation projects have been cancelled in the wake of the ruling and that home owners fear their property value will go down because of the fencing requirement. The NZ Pool Industry Association (NZPIA) thinks the MBIE has gotten it wrong and that the determination* should have been challenged by Marlborough District Council.

*(This is not strictly correct, as a Poll of Association Members indicated 28 of 33 returns agreed with the MBIE decision.
The Auto Pool Cover providers and Alternatived Solution Members disagreed that MBIE had removed the right of the
Territrial Authorities to allow these covers as an "Acceptable Alternative" to a ring-fenced pool, and are currently
seeking legal advice on how to protest the MBIE Determination. The NZPIA Inc has yet to be approached whether we
agree with their protest. )

The devil is in the detail

According to NZPIA, the devil is in the detail... because the Building Act does not explicitly rule out the use of covers as a barrier, it believes they should be allowed. Some industry members feel that the 'human failure' argument isn't justified, as an adult is equally capable of leaving a pool gate open as they are of not covering a pool. Faulty and inoperable gates also represent a notable risk, so can't be deemed 100% failsafe. In justifying the issuing of waivers, Marlborough District Council said that no children have drowned at locations where automated pools covers are installed since the practice commenced.

There are calls to make determinations on a case-by-case basis, given that every pool installation is different.

When discretion fails

Compounding an already complex and contentious issue is the recent discovery by Whangarei District Council (WDC) that many previously approved fencing installations are actually non-compliant.

This came to light when a home owner sought certification on a property being sold. The inspection found the pool fence didn't meet with code, despite having previously been approved. This prompted the council to conduct a random audit, which saw 10 of the 11 inspected properties failing. Council said it was likely the fault of inspection officers 'using more discretion than was likely appropriate', again highlighting limitations with an essentially subjective process.

There are over 1200 privately owned pools in the district, many of which will undoubtedly be recognised as non-compliant.

WDC plans a complete review of its database and reassessment of fencing installations — starting with pools seen as 'higher risk'. It also reminded pool owners of their own obligations and encouraged self-inspection with a focus on vegetation growth and changes to buildings, ground level or surrounding gardens.

Size matters

So, pools must be fenced. End. Of. Story. Or is it? Clause 162C (3) of the Building Act says, "In the case of a small heated pool, the means of restricting access referred to in subsection (1) need only restrict access to the pool when the pool is not in use."

This means that spa pools, provided they are 760 mm above the ground and have a surface area of less than five square metres, don't need a fence, but are required to have a lockable cover in place when they are not in use. Any pool that extends beyond five square metres and is deeper than 400 mm is automatically recognised as a pool, regardless of whether it is 760 mm above the ground. This means the fencing rule applies.

Early days

The legislation may have come into effect in January 2017, but most of the issues outlined in this article have come to light within the last three months, which serves to remind what a complicated undertaking this is... and we've only looked at the nuts and bolts of implementation.

As an initiative designed to save lives, the focus often moves to seemingly secondary issues — like aesthetics and property values. We're a little further down the track in Australia, pretty much at the point where seeing an unfenced pool is akin to watching someone light up a cigarette in the office or a restaurant — once commonplace, but now unthinkable. Hopefully the dust will settle in NZ and consensus be achieved. If it only saves one child's life, it has to be worth the trouble.

Image credit: © Ducouret


Chief Executive Officer's Report GENERAL MEETING 16th May 2018

This is the last Report for the 2018 Financial Year which terminates on 30 June
It's been a busy year for most Pool Builders so far, and this means a busy year for the Trade Supplier Members and other swimming pool industry associated trades and pool shops

I would like to express our appreciation to the current fourteen Trade Supplier Members, and remind our Builder Members to support them by using their services and buying their products where possible, just as they support our Trade Organisation with their contributions to our fees.

The Highlight of the 2018 year – the 2017 AGM 25th Anniversary - was a tremendous success, to the credit of organiser Vikki Templeman - who's planning and execution of a fantastic night out was flawless.

Other items of note this year include the Adoption of our new name The NZ Pool Industry Association Inc and the amendments to the Constitution needed to accomplish this. Our resurrected Online Newsletter would have been received by all Members: Comments are welcomed.

The repeal of The Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 to be replaced by the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016, was in force from January 1st 2018 and was meant to reduce the number of Council staff "Interpretations" causing Builders real problems in getting Building Permits.

Our Association contributed to these changes through the attendance by Geoff Bonham, Neil Runciman, and myself to Auckland Council's Fencing Committee 2013 - 2016

The Schedule to the Act was supplemented by Clause F9 – Means of Restricting Access to Residential Pools, which allows for acceptable alternatives to be considered. Acceptance of Automatic Pool Covers by some Councils as an alternative to a "Barrier" as specified in the new Act got into the Mainstream Press: Not a great Idea, as it prompted that Local Marlborough Authority to request a Determination from MBIE – which ruled against them.

This prompted out recent On Line-Poll, in which resulted in 33 responses to the question


The question asked of Members was narrowly focussed, and obviously the responses reflected this:
28 No --- 5 Yes

 -  But the way questions are asked often foretell the obvious answer, as in the final analysis, and under certain conditions, an Automatic Pool Cover is probably the most effective barrier against Under 5's accessing a swimming pool. If it is in the closed position.

MBIE was more concerned with the Human Nature aspect – like forgetting to close the cover, kids closing it while other kids were in the pool – for a joke - that could cause tragedy, and power strikes that render the mechanism useless and stuck in the "open" state for just a few reasons given.
Our Guest Speakers this evening Les Hole & Geoff Bonham will discuss these issues, in seeking support of the idea that our Association should officially dispute the MBIE determination on behalf of the Swimming Pool Industry. Due to time constraints this evening, this will be a limited audience participation event.

Thank you.
CEO Report GM May 2018
Laurence E (Larry) Ogden Dip Pool Tech (Hon) NZPIA Certified Builder #108/2021
Chief Executive Officer
General Meeting 16th May 2018 at Waipuna Conference Centre, Auckland


4:00 – 5:00 Executive Committee Meeting
5:00 – 6:15 Meet n Greet at Wellington's Bar
6:30 – 7:00 Conference Room

CEO Larry Ogden: Welcome to Members and Guests

ADVANCE Apologies: (More will be in the Minutes which will be posted later)

Adrian Hill         
Justin Miharere                               

Executive Committee Reports:

Finance                              Darryl Blennerhassett
Membership                     Kerry Richmond
Ethics/Disputes               Lawrie Tanner (Emailed comments from Justin Miharere)

Executive Member resignations:
Carlos Morgan: The Pool Industry Assn gave CJ a parting gift in appreciation of the many years of time & efforts give freely to the Association. An Engraved Gold ball-point pen was presented to Carlos in appreciation. His attendance as Disputes Chair will be missed.

Justin Miharere: Justin found the time requirements of running his pool company made it difficult for him to perform his Executive duties for the Association, so regretfully tendered his resignation

Vacant Positions on Executive:

Disputes Investigation & Resolution
General Executive duties, dealing with Council and MBIE as required

If you are, or know a Member who may be, interested - email

1. There's a 2:1 Constitutional requirement ratio of Builder Member to Non-Builder Member

2. Easy access to Auckland for the four or five annual meetings would be preferable.

CEO State of the Nation (Separate page)

7:00 – 7:30
Guest Speakers Les Hole & Geoff Bonham: Contentious ruling by MBIE re inadmissibility of acceptance of Alternative Option for a pool barrier by an Automatic Pool Cover 7:00 – 7:30

7:30 – 9:30 Dine & Dance at Wellington's Restaurant & Bar



MBIE Decision 2018 Auto Pool Covers

MBIE Decides whether Auto Pool Covers provide a compliant pool 'Barrier'
Click the above graphic to download PDF file of Determination

Mike Freeth PoolBuilder Nelson SI

Mike Freeth Pool Builder Nelson SI brought this to the attention of the Media
Click picture above for more and Stuff's article on it.

DO YOU HAVE Any comments?

Enter your comments

The original 11 Members comprised seven Pool Builders to Fibreglass Installers and two Trade Suppliers:


The original Logo was the result of an invitation from the members to suggest something: About six or so were considered, by the design by Steve Webster was finally chosen, and still exists in a modified format to this day.


Easy to see which one we chose!

The first thought for our name wasn't the Master Pool Builders ...

Remember that the NZSPA was still in action at that time - we were the deserters who abandonded them due to the large number of non-builder members ending up running the association. This is why we carefully monitor our Members rights to avoid this happening again.

We hope that you will be able to join us in celebrating our 25th anniversary
As usual, it will be difficult to suit everyone with a suitable venbue and date, but we would like you to try to come.

More on the proposed dates soon .......

Back in 2015, and mentioned again at the 2016 AGM was our trending towards moving into our 26th year of operation by setting some new goals.


We felt that many potential Members saw the original name as only a 'Pool Builder's Guild' and didn't see the point of joining.


We have devised a new (but similar) LOGO to go withthe new name




Membership Fees - FROM July 1st 2017 TO June 30 2018


We have had adopted 5% increase in fees for the new year

FPM = "Full Privilege Member, i.e. Voting Rights when required, Gratis Dinner at General and Annual General Meetings
NVR = "No Voting Rights" and usually  combined with NDR "No Dinner Rights"
NDR = "No Dinner Rights"
DR   = "Dinner Rights"
NDR Members may attend all meetings, and pay for their (and their partner's) Dinner cost.of $50 per person
All Members may attend the Meet & Greet Hour and the following Meeting, but no Gratis Dinner
ASSOCIATE BUILDER MEMBERS                                                                                FPM DR  $385.00
ASSOCIATE MEMBER TRADE SUPPLIERS                                                              FPM DR  $1,050.00
DIPLOMA COURSE 12 month FEE ($450.00 value)                                                            $360.00   Must complete within 12months
ASSOCIATE MEMBER POOL SHOP                                              NVR NDR $192.50
DIPLOMA COURSE AVAILABLE ($450.00)               
Non-DR Members who wish to stay for Dinner Per Plate $60.00



Monday 12 June 2017



Swish take this opportunity to invite all interested parties in the pool consent process (architects, landscapers, builders, pool manufacturers, installers and home owners) to join us in what amounts to a fight to retain the right to make life-style decisions around home pool ownership and child safety.

Swish are continuing efforts to get the MBIE advised "non-mandatory clauses" removed or modified in the NZBC F9 AS1 and AS2 Schedule published 28 April 2017.

The starting point in our campaign is clause 4.2.1 which "requires all door-sets with home pool access to be single leaf door panel of not more than 1000mm wide!" - This restriction reversing a 12 year successful "Best Practice" in pool safety compliance.

After our four emails to MBIE we have determined:

1. AS1 Schedule clause 4.2.1 is not-mandatory
As confirmed on the 10 May 2017

2. Multi-panel door-sets with panels wider than 1000mm can be modified for pool compliance under NZBC F9 "as an alternate solution" when Swish systems are used 
As confirmed on 12 May 2017

3. Consent approvals and Exemptions issued to 31 December 2017 remain valid unless the pool or property is modified by work undertaken under a Building Consent - As confirmed on the 12 May 2017

4. Consent approvals issued between 1 January 2017 and 28 April 2017 by BCA's using the FoSPA 1987 Schedule and/or NZS 8500-2006 remain valid under NZBC F9 unless the pool or property is modified by work undertaken under a Building Consent
- As confirmed by this email dated 11 June 2017!

Swish have again written to MBIE advising some BCA's are not following points 1, to 4. on consents issued for projects up to and including the 28 April 2017. In this regard we have requested MBIE issue an advice or instruction to BCA's ensuring consented projects are not delayed in the building certification process.

We have also again requested advice on the following:

a. Advise how Swish can expedite safety compliance approvel on the 85 plus projects we have in progress without increasing compliance cost to the client until subclause 4.2.1 is removed from the AS1 Schedule.

b. Confirm when MBIE will remove subclause 4.2.1 and eliminate its potentially chaotic consequences.
Swish have also suggested MBIE adapt the referenced document NZS 8500 clauses 2.3.2 / 3.7 / 4.6 (which describe and specify a 'child resistant door-set') advising this could, with minor adjustments for clarity and cohesion, replace NZBC F9 AS1 4.2.1 / 4.2.3 / 4.2.4

Swish take this opportunity to invite all interested parties in the pool consent process (architects, landscapers, builders, pool manufacturers, installers and home owners) to join us in what amounts to a fight to retain the right to make life-style decisions around home pool ownership and child safety.

We have available in pdf format all our emailed letters to MBIE on this subject which can be used as part (or the basis of) your own effort to get these new clauses revoked. These clauses were not reviewed or discussed during the "making pool safety easier" submission or Select Committee process. On this basis alone, they should be removed from the published NZBC F9 legislation and its schedules.

Swish also confirm subclause 4.2.1 is not the only cause for pool industry concern in NZBC F9 AS1 and AS2 however, many of the other 'introduced without referance' clauses in the documents will fall on the successful removal of this piece of stupidity.

Again, we seek your support and assitance in ensuring MBIE are encouraged to exercise common sense as it relates to door-set specification and modification.
Les J Hole - Director - Mobile 2074 77 9000 

May 26th 2017


As previously advised, we have requested MBIE advice on how pool compliance could be achieved with multiple door panels, or for door panels wider than 1000mm which are larger than the specification contained in the NZBC clause F9 Schedule 4.2.1

The answer recommended in the Swish Technical Review of this clause (available from our website) was supplied to MBIE on the 10 May 2017 and has achieved the following response:

1. NZBC F9 Schedule 4.2.1 is not a mandatory requirement for pool compliance.

Multi panel door-sets or door panels wider than 1000mm when fitted with Swish Pool Access Safety Systems, are acceptable for pool compliance under NZBC clause F9 Schedule 4.2.1 as an 'alternative solution.'

MBIE have confirmed all pool consents issued before 31 December 2016 will be valid until there are new works proposed where a building consent is required.

Swish have again requested MBIE confirm a procedure to obtain 'alternative solution status' for door-sets with multiple door panels or with door panels wider than 1000mm without the need for an application for a special 'Determination.'

For further information and updates, click the banner and access the Pool Safety  legislation pages. Our discussions with MBIE regarding pool safety compliance under NZBC clause F9 and its Schedule, will be posted as they become available.

Les J Hole
- Director - Mobile: 0274 77 9000


Friday 28 April 2017

Fencing of Swimming Pools ( 2016 Act ) Acceptable Solutions

>>>>> Here's the PDF file from MBIE >>>>>[click here]

From Les Hole - Swish Automation

Tonight we obtained a copy of the new NZBC clause F9 Schedule of Acceptable Solutions F9/AS1 and F9/AS2 "Means of Restricting Access to Residential Pools" - The good news is that the Schedule uses NZS 8500-2006 as a Reference document but you can review  the document for yourselves by clicking the banner, going to the Legislation page and download the MBIE Schedule dated 27 April 2017...
It is also pleasing to note that the NZS 8500-2006 definition of the "immediate pool area" which followed the Randerson Declarity Judgement of October 2004 is retained in full... The home pool owner retains the right to specify the proposed use of their pool and determine pool related activities within their designated pool area... The advice contained in the Swish Open & Shut Cases PoolZone Solutions is still valid and also downloadable by clicking the banner above... 
However, some of the definitions under section 4.0 "Windows and Doors in the building wall" contain both progressive and regressive elements of change that will need working through in a practical sense... A great pity, as the document promised so much and failed to deliver by changing elements of both FoSPA and NZS 8500-2006 that didn't need changing... But an opportunity to improve the documents practicality in use is available through the MBIE "Determination" process or indeed, during a NZS 8500-2006 review which we are advised, is due later this year...

Les J Hole. Director.     
Mobile: 0274 77 9000   /   0800 2Swish   -   0800 279 474  

Friday 17th March 2017


Received from Les Hole:

Hi Larry

I thought my email promotion to all architects, landscapers, pool builders, window / door manufacturers, builders and developers on our books was understandable:

  1. Go to the Swish Home page by clicking the promo banner
  2. This would take the recipient to
  1. Download the Swish letter and submission to MBIE dated 16/12/16
  2. Read and review the content which includes "child resistant doors" – "Immediate Pool Area" - "Swing of hinge doors" – "Spa pools and hot tubs" – "Falling from height requirements for infinity pools" – and make notes about your own experiences
  1. Write a (supporting) email addressed to
  2. Advising of your own problems with the compliance areas listed
  3. Supporting the submission of Swish to get these problems fixed
  4. Also end it to your local MP and Dr Nick Smith (full parliamentary list is provided)
  5. Attach the Swish letter and submission dated 16/12/16
  1. The reason?
  2. The attached graph highlights the 500 pools a year "Lost" in Auckland since the introduction of the Super City and its campaign to make pool ownership difficult
  3. The graph also shows pool consents for Auckland were 50% of the total, in 2104 that figure dropped to 40% at the most
  4. And it shows all territorial authorities are affected by Auckland Council attitudes through to 2014 and still are today
  5. Currently we have 15 projects 'on-hold' at Auckland City because they cannot understand the MBIE instruction "to use the Schedule to FoSPA 1987 and NZS 8500 for pool compliance until the new clause F9 Schedule is published…
  6. The good news? Of the 15 projects held:
    1. Three are for pool that have been installed
    2. Twelve are for building consents that include a pool
    3. Question 1: How long will it be before those projects delete the pool to get the consent through and the building works started?
    4. Question 2: Will those projects ever have a pool built in the future?

Sure, the effects on Swish are immediate, nationwide and obvious… We see the cancellations…
Obviously, the pool industry doesn't recognise they are losing business daily otherwise, they like Swish, would have been writing to MBIE, making submissions and attending Select Committee Hearings to protect their industry from further losses….

Just saying…
Happy for this package to be uplifted to the Pool Guild website, unchanged… And to assist the cause which is that "we have an industry to work in 50 years" I have attached our Submission of the 16/12/16 to save your member the inconvenience of an internet trip…

Les J Hole

Mobile: +64 274 77 9000

Wednesday 8th March 2017

Received from Les:

Hi Larry
While I tried to keep this Swish promotion understated, I do agree with the sentiment expressed in the covering letter and your web site newsletter headline

  • I was appalled at the attitudes expressed at Select Committee Hearings by the medical profession…
  • I was appalled at the misinformation (deliberately) leaked into the media by safety organisations that talked "total child drownings" and then referred to "the home pool!"
  • I was appalled at the attitude of the Select Committee accepting medical profession 'scientific' submissions without challenge to drowning statistics…
  • My submission attempted to balance the information regarding child drownings in home pools, and my figures were challenged… I advised they were from 'Drown-Base NZ" and readily available by download… Did the Select Committee check or follow through?
  • Swish also supplied an analysis of child drownings in NZ and Australia from safety organisation sources which were population adjusted… These showed that despite Isolation Fencing, child drownings in the home pool were worse in Australia…
  • After my submission, Star Ship Hospital senior management again followed the 'party line' inferring all child deaths by drowning occurred in the home pool and that their wards were full of children with near drowning injuries…
  • Star Ship advised once again, our drowning statistics were worse than Australia and Isolation Fencing was the answer…
  • ONCE AGAIN this submission was UNCHALLENGED by the Select Committee…

It was therefore, doubly disappointing last week to pick up on a comment that inferred "it appeared the government were on the wrong track by not adopting Australian Legislation…"

I put this attitude down to the lack of interest in the (then proposed) legislation from current pool owners and the general pool industry, including architects and landscapers…

  • Had 10% of this potential interest base put in a written submission, MBIE would have received over 200,000 submissions…
  • Had 1% of this potential interest base put in a written submission, MBIE would have received over 20,000 submissions…
  • MBIE received 392 written submissions – Go figure!
  • Our industry will get the pool legislation it deserves – Unless it wakes up today!

Thanks for your efforts to get support for our submission (following NZS 8500) which we have sent to our 1000 data base of architects, pool builders, landscapers and builders…

Can you and your members, also send the original Swish promo to your clients?
The more pressure we put on MBIE in the next 2 months the better to get workable legislation!

Regards, Les Hole

Tuesday 7th March 2017

Message to Larry Ogden CEO NZMPB Inc from Geoff Bonham NZMPB Pool Fencing representative (021) 923 838 -or- on the LACK of submissions on this Bill before Parliament that affects us all in the swimmingpool industry!

Larry: "This shows once again the lack of support from the Pool Industry ( In respect of fighting the greenies and other people who hate the home swimming pool industry, but who get off their bums and say so to Government - Ed ), as Les says ... unless we get behind what he is doing, the Industry will have no-one to blame but ourselves judging from the lack of support for Les's submission! Tell the membership to send off a support of what Les is doing".

Yes, it's a pain in the ass, but "THEY are OUT TO GET US". It's not a joke!

"THEY" are DETERMINED to adopt the Australian "Ring Fence" rules (that have been proved not to work) "They" don't want sensible and considered rules that make sense and protect young children. Home pool drownings have been decreasing over decades since FOSPA '87. While thousands mor pools have been constructed, drownings have decreased! It works! The new Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 works! DONT LET THEM MEDDLE WITH THINGS THAT WORK, simply because "they" dont think people should have a home swimming pool at all!



Read below .....


Tuesday 28 February saw us take a fast trip to Wellington to visit MBIE to discuss in detail, the Swish submission dated 16 December 2016 regarding "child resistant door-sets" and the definition of "the immediate pool area!" 

Our submission together with it's covering letter is available and downloadable from our Home page... Click the banner above...

From comments made at our meeting, it is obvious there is still significant pressure within NZ to introduce Australian home pool compliance solutions here...

 Based on research provided to the Select Committee, those policies appear to have failed in Australia... Further, the  implementation of these concepts in NZ under common FoSPA interpretation, did have a definite adverse effect on our industry...

Refer our web site pages 'Legislation,' 'Supervision' and 'Before Applying' for analysis of child drowning statistics (NZ/Australia) and the negative effects FoSPA  interpretations have had on our industry during the last 10 years...

As the new NZBC clause F9 Schedule is now expected to be published in late April, we  urge all involved in the pool industry and safety compliance process, to use the time to ensure common sense prevails...

Click on the banner above to go to Les' web page, download the submission, study it, review it and re-send the package to the MBIE at the email address provided...

Obviously, we recommend you include your own experience and comments regarding the direction of new legislation, in your covering email...

Based on our observations at Select Committee Hearings, most of the 392 submissions MBIE received about pool safety compliance legislation, did not originate from pool owners or the pool industry...

We believe, if the "pool industry" does not get involved in moderating the emotive demands we heard voiced, our industry will disappear as the idea of "owning a home pool" becomes considered, an anti-social practice in our increasingly PC society...

An exaggeration?

Maybe you should have attended the Hearings and heard the emotive rhetoric for yourself? 
Perhaps, then you would also share our concerns...

Les J Hole
- Mob: 0274 77 9000 - Director: Swish Automation Ltd

Pool Manufacturers and Retailers required to supply consumer notices

From 1 September 2017, manufacturers and retailers must supply notices with pools informing consumers that the pool must have barriers that restrict access by young children.

For example, the barrier could be a 1.2m high fence surrounding the pool, or a safety cover for a small heated pool such as a spa pool or hot tub.

This notice requirement applies to pools that can be filled with water to a depth of 400mm or more.
People must apply for a building consent before installing barriers for residential pools, other than safety covers for small heated pools.

From 1 January 2017, the Building Act 2004 also requires residential pools, other than small heated pools with safety covers, to be inspected every three years to check the barriers.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment carried out public consultation on proposals for these manufacturer and retailer notices in September 2016.

Read the specific requirements for these notices in the New Zealand Gazette Building (Pool Manufacturers and Retailers) Notice 2017.
Read further information on restricting access to residential pools on the Building Performance - your guide to finding and using New Zealand government services


Letters to the Editor: NZ Herald newspaper (NZMPB Inc CEO Larry Ogden's response to the Editorial and comments re the Government "Abandoning the Pool Fencing Act - Children may die as a result" comment by the people who hate home pools) NOT PUBLISHED




August 2015

[Back to top]

After 23 years in operation, the NZMPB Inc executive is considering suggestions that we open our doors to associated swimming pool industry Individuals (such as the many Pool Shops) by ammending our public persona away from the current emphasis on a "Pool Builders" Guild.

Obviously the first thing to consider changing (or add to) is our name - the Master POOL BUILDERS Guild - or NZMPB Inc.

It is also obvious that we adopt a name that is well known in Australia as the trade association for all the people who work in associated industries that are tied into the construction of swimming pools.

(Sample at left - unauthorised at this time - Kiwi version of their Australian LOGO)




If you have any comments, please respond to any Exec member about this propOsal


Dodgey Brothers fined for selling 'potty skimmer' spa pools

by   on August 12, 2015 in Aquatics and CommercialEmail NewsletterIndustry NewsNews & FeaturesResidential Pools and Spas


Two brothers (importing spa pools from China) have been handed down substantial fines and ordered to pay costs and compensation after selling spas with potentially deadly potty skimmers and failing to supply goods that had been paid for. Nicholas Lord and Gerasimos Lord operated an online retail store selling indoor and outdoor spas as well as saunas and outdoor furniture.

They took large deposits from consumers without delivering products and have been ordered to pay $18,000 in fines, $1,566 in costs and $45,937.30 in compensation to victims. They pleaded guilty in Parramatta Local Court to offences under the Australian Consumer Law and the Fair Trading Act.

The offences included accepting payment and not supplying goods in time and acting in contravention of an embargo notice. The brothers supplied potentially lethal spas after Fair Trading issued them with the embargo notice last year.

Victims who supported the Fair Trading prosecution came from Wagga Wagga, Gilgandra, Geraldton in Western Australia (WA), Scullin in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Rivett in the ACT, South Penrith and Forbes. All had placed orders for spas.

They purchased spas made in Jiangsu Province, China. The spas were shipped to Australia from the manufacturer and stored in the factory unit at Wetherill Park. They were selling or offering to sell banned spas that contained potty skimmers without a protective cover, including spas with the model numbers BG 8520 and BG 8832

A potty skimmer is a pool or spa outlet at water level used as a suction point for the water reticulation system and that resembles a child's chamber pot or other toilet device and has no protective device fixed to the skimmer box outlet. Spas (or swimming pools) that contain potty skimmers must have a protective cover on them that can only be removed by use of a tool.

A protective device is necessary to prevent a person becoming lodged or caught in the skimmer box outlet through the operation and effect of suction within or through the water reticulation system. There have been numerous incidents in Australia and overseas involving uncovered potty skimmers that have resulted in disembowelment, serious injury and death. (If you follow this link to the Medical Journal of Australia, be warned the descriptions of the incidents may be upsetting.)

2015 AGM was Saturday 8th August 2015
the Waipuna Hotel & Conference Center,
Waipuna Road, Mt WellIngton

Members have been sent the President's Report by email



Freedom Pools Riverina owner Stuart Pollard has been hospitalised with serious injuries following a gas explosion at Kooringal.

Emergency services were called to the Plumpton Road residence in July after the explosion, which appeared to be caused by an exploding LPG gas bottle being used by him at the time.

Police, paramedics and firefighters arrived quickly and Pollard and another man were treated at the site before being taken to Wagga Base Hospital. The other man's injuries were less serious and he was released.

Stuart had serious burns to his face, hands and legs.

His brother-in-law, Byron Wooden, has set up a support page asking for donation for his Bridge to Brisbane marathon, which he will run in bandages to raise money for Pollard's medical expenses and to support the family.

"Needless to say this experience is life changing for Stuart and family," says Wooden on the goget funding website.
"Day by day he is fighting hard and we are very proud of his progress on this long road to recovery that lies ahead.

"Without going into the detail there are other family medical challenges adding to the emotional and financial strain. To say the least it has been a very long 18 months for the Pollards, and our thoughts are with them as they pull together to support Stuart.

Any support you are able to offer is greatly appreciated."

Pollard will be familiar to anyone attending the SPASA NSW & ACT Awards of Excellence, where he collected 10 awards for Freedom Pools Riverina.
We join SPLASH! in wishing him all the best for a full recovery. (News coutesey of Intermedia Australia - publishers of SPLASH Magazine)


  For a PDF FILE of the Minutes of the March 2015 General Meeting;
The Current Financial Report is also available on request: by bone fide Financial Members

  To request a copy of the FInancials, click the button at left and a copy will be emailed to you:










































Advice on safe handling of pool chemicals;

• Pool Chemicals can be dangerous goods and should be handled accordingly.
• Never use the same bucket for different chemicals. Have a different bucket for each chemical.
• Always read the instructions on the packaging.
• Always add chemicals to water, not water to the chemicals.
• Chlorine dust can blow back if water is poured into the chlorine, and that can be very dangerous, potentially permanently damaging your lungs.
• Never mix chemicals and never mix liquid chlorine with dry chlorine – that has the potential to cause an explosion.

Link to another pool chemical 'accident' ==> Backyard pool chemical explosion puts six people in hospital

One old-timer pool guy I knew had an horrifice 'accident' in his 30's while driving his pool service ute while carrying on the passenger's seat a 25kg container of HTH Chlorine which had a loose lid. He was smoking a cigarette, and somehow ash from the cigarette ignited the chlorine gas in the cab. He crashed off the road, suffering terrible and painful burns to his entire left side, left arm, shoulder and neck - burns that took more than a year to recover from - and destroyed the ute in the process. He's not with us any more, but I understand he gave up smoking that day and never smoked again until he died in 2014 aged 88 years. His name was Brian Smith.


Stakeholder's Letter
RRT Postcard

or go to this web site for the official Government position:


NZ Swimming Pool Association 1976 -
NZ Swimming Pool & Spa Association
NZ Spa & Pool Association Inc 
NZ Master Pool Builders Guild 1992 -
NZ Master Pool Builders Inc 2008 -


Following serious concerns about a shortage of certifiers and a backlog of non-compliant swimming pools, the NSW Government has delayed the requirement for pool compliance certificates by another 12 months.

This is the second time the government has delayed the deadline. The original deadline was April 29, 2014, then April 29, 2015, and now it is April 29, 2016.

The first extension was made three weeks before the deadline; this time homeowners have been given slightly more than two months notice.

See the upcoming edition 98 of SPLASH! magazinefor a story behind why this delay was necessary [but bear in mind, the story went to the printers prior to the decision actually being made].

By April 29, every sale or lease of a NSW property with a swimming pool would have had to have a certificate of compliance attached to the contract for sale or to the new lease.

The NSW Office of Local Government (OLG) estimates there are more than 18,000 properties with swimming pools rented each year, and RP Data figures show sales for properties with a pool number 9560 annually. Seasonally adjusted, combined annual numbers for sales and leases are estimated to be 27,900 state-wide.

Latest figures showed a total of 9591 certificates have been issued.This represents a significant shortfall from the potential upcoming sales and leases that would require certificates by April 29. Those sales and leases will now be able to go ahead, thanks to the 12-month reprieve.
Click this link for more on this story

The swimming pool industry (in Auckland, at least) has certainly picked up in the past year or so, and the usual Mad Christmas Rush wasn't helped by seemingly increased RED TAPE being dished out by Council! Some of the stories I have heard are definitely cringe-worthy! Some are almost anti-competitive and anti-business, and certainly not helpful IMHO.

The Council seems determined to find more and more ways to stop the Citizens having a decent life-style and building their 'Dream Homes' without so many obstacles put in their paths.

In fact, Council Team Leaders spent quite a bit of precious processing time last year figuring out what Building Approvals they can apply to the typical Red-Neck swimming pools appearing all around Auckland suburbs this summer: See the picture at left.

Should they give it a Section 37 notice or a Parking Ticket? Does it need a fence? A Heavy Traffic License to drive it? Where's the filtration located?

And the PS4 has to become the PT4 (Parking Ticket #4) Then the tow truck boys come out if it's not paid within 7 days?

And charge $500 to return it (not including the water)? Gives a whole new meaning to CAR POOLING don't it?

Given that the Daily Newspaper listed many (quite a lot, actually) of lovely

Auckland beaches that are contaminated with nasty germs and pathogens - even the lagoon at Piha is so contaminated, only humans are silly enough to go in it (Birds, dogs, fish etc. keep away!)

it's no wonder that the Pool Business is currently booming! Waiheke bays polluted with toilet detritus leaking from septic tanks all over the Island?

That's disgusting!  No doubt it's the legacy of 70 years of Hippy Houses built by long-haired DIY'ers not bothering to get (or even being asked for)

Building Approvals or regular Sanitary checks. Our lovely Waitemata Harbour is a sewer! Incredible! And the fish have all buggered off! But at least we are getting a Train Set!

When I look back through my files over the many years of managing the business of the Pool Guild and doing this web page, the re-occurring theme is "Why are Councils so slow in issuing Pool Permits"?

I can find and reprint letters from the 1990's onwards I wrote to Council, Mayors, Politicians, and the Government Building Act people asking why a home pool costing less than a Holden car ($40,000 (these days)) needs so much red tape from the Territorial Authority. Not one single response was ever received (other than an acknowledgment of receipt of my letter). You just can't get through to anyone - anyone who CARES that is!

We will have a voice in the new proposed Auckland Council External Fencing and Policy Committee, with Geoff Bonham, Neil Runciman (and perhaps myself) representing the thoughts of the swimming pool industry and Pool Guild. But the past three years I spent on the previous External Committee forging a perfectly satisfactory replacement to the Schedule to the 1987 fencing Act (FoSPA'87) hasn't been implement as yet, and I am reliably informed, will NOT be unless it is passed into law by Mr Prime Minister John Key. Is that likely?

Swimming pool safety is always on the mind of responsible pool builders, and it is gratifying to note that 'other' drowning statistics greatly outnumbered any issues with home pools.

Matt Claridge, however, was quite rightly unimpressed with the overall problem, and urges us all to behave responsibly around water and little kids. Well done Matt! As usual, drinking and ( fill in the name here ) seem high on the list of self-destructive behavior amongst we Kiwis.

Just as a matter of interest (regarding civilian deaths - i.e. in this case 290 Road Deaths in 2014) New Zealand has an average of 7.4 people per 100,000 population die on the roads, and I have just returned home from a few weeks in France, where it is 4.9/100,000.

I drove about extensively on the French motorway system (to visit relative's WWI War Graves on the Somme in Northern France) where the motorways seem generally unmonitored by the Gendarmes and the posted limit is for the most part 130 Kph. In order to 'not get run over in the rush'

I drove at the same speed as the others - 140 Kph. The roads were wide and very smooth (driven down to Hamilton lately?) and in nearly 1,000 K's of driving there was no problems at all.

That seems to indicate that SPEED is not the problem, it's the KIWI DRIVERS! The UK, incidentally has 3.5/100,000!

Finally, those pool builders who I hear about from time-to-time that I am told are supposedly 'full of Bull' - not naming anyone in particular (but YOU know who I mean!) - here's a Bull getting even!


Brian ( 'BJ' ) Smith & business partner Bernie Menzies (d. circa 1980) owned and operated 'Swimming Pool Services Limited' from their northeast corner shop at Great South Road/Greenlane Road intersection in the late 1970's and early 1980's (now redeveloped into a fast food restaurant).

They specialised in servicing Public Swimming Pool filtration systems, general maintenance and pool service, and built their own 'Kiwi Ingenuity' Gunite Pump machine fitted onto the back of an old WWII GM Truck to spray some of Auckland's first Gunite concrete pools. Managing between two and four pools a year in the early days, they gradually increased numbers as home pools gained in popularity in the 1970's. Brian's wife Margaret and son and daughter Mark and Denise (? - later a manager at TRENDS magazine) assisted them in the pool business.

R.I.P Brian





16 June 2014

Read this from Building Industry Consultant Graeme Owen.....

"So your building client has quit paying you! And you stand to lose thousands!
And the media says the construction environment is improving!

Don't they know that non-paying clients make the life of small builders exasperating – in any environment?  

I suspect every builder, who has been in business for a while, has a "bad paying client" story to tell.

A dream job to begin with – large, challenging and profitable – turns sour when your client questions every invoice item, quibbles over your margins and refuses to pay some things. 

Your overdraft is growing and you fear receivership.But it need not be like this – when you set-up your building agreements carefully.

In this article I outline three things you need to have in your building agreements and one thing you should exclude, to help make non-paying clients history.

Three Things to Include:

1. State clearly when invoices are to be paid

Check to ensure that your payment terms are clear.  Set out your invoicing arrangements and payment expectations.

If your normal process is weekly invoicing for all costs incurred in the preceding week, then make sure your agreement specifies this. Include how the invoice will be delivered and when payment is due.

For example, "Weekly invoices will be created at the end of each week (normally a Friday) and emailed by close of business. Invoices will include labour, materials and subcontractor costs incurred in the seven days up to and including the invoiced day. Payment is made by direct deposit within 3 calendar days."

2. State your right to stop work

It is your right to stop work (and remove materials) if a progress payment is not made on time.  While this is a huge interruption to your work schedule, it is much less disruptive that not being paid!

An example, "Should invoices not be paid by the due time, work on your project will halt and materials not yet paid for may be removed."

3. Include collections costs in outstanding debts

Make sure you state that if debt recovery becomes necessary, any costs incurred will be added to the outstanding payments.

One Thing to Exclude: Don't add interest payments to outstanding invoices

When you do (e.g. interest of 1.5% per month on any outstanding balance), you are indicating that is is OK for your client to use you as a source of credit, and not pay on time!

It may appear nice to get additional interest, but it will not offset the cash crisis late payment cause.

A Final Word: Be polite

In any conversation with clients it is most important that you stay in control. Do not get allow yourself to get angry. Remain respectful and calm. If you are tempted to lose your cool, email rather than phone – but read your email several times to make sure your tone is friendly.

Kind regards,  Graeme Owen
The Builders Business Coach
(09) New Zealand

A short letter from Len - excuse the Pun (... and Yes ...I know she' a TALL BLACK!)
Received by email from Mayor Brown's office 25 Feb 2014 .......

SEE  - HE DOES respond to letters!

Mr Laurence Ogden - NZMPB Inc
PO Box 17 069 Greenlane
Auckland 1546

Dear Mr Ogden
RE Unitary Plan – Swimming Pools

Thank you for your letter requesting information on the relevant sections of the Unitary Plan relating to swimming pools.
I have been advised by my planning staff that your best starting point is the definitions in the proposed Plan. These are contained in Part 4 of the Plan. The following have direct relevance to swimming pools:

Accessory buildings

Buildings used in a way that is incidental to the use of any other buildings on that site.

•on a vacant site, a building that it is incidental to any use which may be permitted on that site

Any permanent or temporary structure.

Type of structure         

Qualifying dimension or standard

Swimming pools or tanks, including retention tanks, spa pools, swirl pools, plunge pools, or hot tubs

Over 1m high.
More than 25,000l capacity.
Supported directly by the ground or supported not more than 1m above the ground

Recreation facility
A facility where the primary purpose is to provide for sport and recreation activities for the well-being of the community. They may be used by individuals, families, groups and teams.

•recreation centres
•aquatic facilities, swimming pools, both indoor and outdoor
•fitness centres and gymnasiums
•indoor sports centres.

The next step is to check the activity status of swimming pools in the various zones. This will determine whether they are provided for and if a consent is required. The zones rules, including activity tables are contained in Part 3, Chapter I of the Proposed Plan. The Unitary Plan introduces distinction between land use and development.

For example in the Residential zones, where I assume the majority of your residential pools are built the following applies:

  • Dwellings are a permitted activity.
  • Buildings accessory to all other activities listed in this table have the same activity status as the activity itself.
  • Therefore swimming pools that fall within the definition of a building would be a permitted activity as well.

There may be a gap for those swimming pools that do not fall within the definition of a building. My planning staffs are aware of this, however you may wish to make a submission to ensure that this matter is addressed through the submission process. The closing date for submissions is 28 February 2014.

The final step is to check the relevant land use and development controls to see whether these are appropriate. For example these might include the controls relating to yards, maximum impervious area and building coverage.

I trust that this information will be of assistance to you.

Yours sincerely
Len Brown
Mayor – Auckland

Sent to Mayor Brown 17 Feb 2014 ....



You asked for it ... now add your thoughts. I have the Council's Ear!


“Participation in formal swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning
  by 88% among children ages one to four.”

Over the last year, many in the aquatics industry have identified with the following statistic by Ruth Brenner and her colleagues in 2009 at the National Institute of Health: “Participation in formal swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children ages one to four.”

It is a powerful statistic and one that resonates with most people.
However, the authors of that study also concluded that swimming lessons “should be considered as part of a complete prevention program.”

The Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation believes there is no substitute for swim lessons; however, we believe that a “dry side” education is just as significant in saving lives from drowning.

The Safer 3 provides water safety education programs to children and families through their communities and school systems as education and prevention is the most powerful tool to reduce accidental drowning.

The World Health Organization and Center of Disease Control statistics show that children aged three through seven are at the most risk of unintentional drowning and near-drowning incidents.

Presenting the Safer 3 Early Education Drowning Prevention Program (Curriculum) to young children in a formal classroom setting will lead to a significant reduction in drowning and near-drowning incidents. The curriculum is designed and written to appeal to young minds so it can be retained and recalled as in other great public health and safety campaigns.

While singing and laughing through lesson plans, children are being taught practical strategies to reduce the risks associated with water related activities. The curriculum teaches them to how to develop safer behavior around water.

While there is no substitute for swim lessons, the truth is that swim lessons are not accessible to everyone all the time they need them. For those with access to swim lessons, the Safer 3 Curriculum provides an additional out-of-water education on water related risks.

For those without access to swim lessons, the curriculum provides critical education for children and their parents. Indeed the program may be the only opportunity they have to be educated about drowning risk and water safety.

Knowing he was going out of business, a Florida pool builder obtained permits and dug holes in order to receive payments on projects he had no intention of finishing, according to a lawsuit filed by the Florida attorney general.

The 19-page claim is against Nationwide Pools and also accuses the company of providing fraudulent financing, nonexistent rebates and worthless warranties.

The Pompano Beach-based company has been in business since 2005, with multiple branches in Florida. The firm ceased operations in recent weeks in the wake of an investigation that alleges deception on nearly every stage of the sales and construction process. Weeks before closing, Nationwide Pools demanded progress payments from customers, with the promise that work would begin “in the next few days,” according to the lawsuit filed in Broward County Circuit Court.

Maria Liburdi considers herself lucky that Nationwide Pools never showed up to pour concrete. The 62-year-old said even what little work the company completed was insufficient and that she had to remove the rebar that Nationwide Pools had installed because it wasn’t up to par. “By the time this is done, it’ll cost us $50,000 when it should have cost $32,000,” the Port Saint Lucie resident said.

According to the lawsuit, Nationwide Pools falsely advertised “quality construction” specifications such as 8-inch-thick concrete walls and steel rebar placed every 9 inches. The company allegedly withheld from customers the second page of engineering plans, which outlined the true specifications.

In addition, Nationwide Pools also allegedly offered a $2,500 manufacturer’s rebate when no such rebate existed, falsifying serial numbers and advertising limited rebate quantities to create a sense of urgency. Salespeople then included the value of the rebate in the total price charged to customers.

Nationwide Pools also allegedly charged customers for “deductibles” or “service calls” on equipment repairs already covered under manufacturers’ warranties. These charges were not disclosed at the time of purchase, the lawsuit stated.

Eric Arnum, editor of Warranty Week, said he’s heard of similar scams in the auto industry.

But in many of those cases, the vehicle owners didn’t know they were already covered under warranties. “In cases like this, it’s worse because the poor [manufacturer’s] reputation is being dragged through the mud when they have nothing to do with it.”

Nationwide Pools also is accused of offering in-house financing, though it was not licensed to do so. The company allegedly sent pre-approval letters to customers, regardless of their incomes or credit scores.

Many customers complained that Nationwide Pools refused to rescind contracts or refund deposits if they were denied loans by any of its third-party lenders, even though they had specifically negotiated financing contingencies in their contracts, according to lawsuit.

The Office of the Attorney General began investigating Nationwide Pools in May after receiving dozens of complaints from customers who are out thousands of dollars for incomplete pools. In a deposition last month, owner Keith Stuart pleaded his Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions concerning certain business practices. Nate Taylor - Pool&Spa News


        Click the picture of the Gal











Saftey Of Swimming Pools Act 2012 (SOSPA'12)

Several Master Pool Builder Members have been serving on the Auckland Council's External Working Committee on Pool Fencing.

Meetings with the Council Chairman Bob De Leur and council staffer Wolfgang and others including Les Hole (The sliding door closing designer) Gary Osborne of POAG (Pool Owners Action Group) Geoff Bonham (GB Pool Covers), and Watersafe's Teresa Stanley. Oh, and me.

We have been meticulously going through the Fencing of Swimming Pool Act (1987) and discussing aspects of NZS 8500 - which desribes the preferred pool fencing specifications, and although time ran out for the July 2012 deadline set for us and our Chairman summarised our opinions and submitted them befre we scrutinised 8500, the Miniser for the Department of Building & Housing (newly renamed "The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment" (?) has relied thanking us for our time.

Click the graphic at left for the full letter from Hon Maurice Williamson.

"The times, they are a-changing" (apologies to Bob Dylan)











The Heading says it all ... How many of you agree?

People have traditionally put the poor pool builder at the bottom of the list when doing renovations or building a new house. It seemed a common occurance in the past that successful house tenders seemed to bear no relationship to the 'finished cost' - and the budget left over to do the pool always seemed to suffer!

This is a good reason for new home buyers and renovators should stick to associations such as the Master Builders - and of course pool Builder Members of the NZMPB Inc. as people can rely on a quote being "Genuine" and not a low price just to get a foot in the door, if you will excuse the pun.

Click on the graphic at left to read a recent article in the Herald newspaper, lamenting the sad state of affairs the home builder/buyer finds themselves in in modern New Zealand!

How many of you have a similar story to tell!













"unable to lodge a swimming pool Building Consent"!
 ... read this letter to Auckland Council's Bob DeLeur

Thursday, 1 March 2012

 Mr Bob De Leur
Manager, Building Policy

Hi Bob,


Building Approval refused.

A Master Pool Builder Member has contacted me about him being unable to lodge a swimming pool Building Consent Application in an Auckland Council branch office as he has been told by them that as he does not have a Licensed Building Practitioner qualificationhe is unable to comply with the March 1st introduction of the Specialist Licensing Class of the Licensed Building Practitioner scheme as introduced by the Government so they cannot accept his application

You may recall that I have gone into this with the Dept of Building & Housing in Wellington last year, and they have assured me that the Govt has no plans to include the construction of swimming pools in their Specialist Licensing Classes at any time in the near future, as indicated by Craig Hill in the attached letter.

Craig did, however, indicate that the Govt would look with favour on any effort made by the NZMPB Inc in this area, and accordingly we have instituted a program of Licensing for our Builder Members which is now open to all Builder Members who wish to take it up.

The first of our three-year renewable Licenses issued will expire in 2014, hence the licence number includes the Member’s number and expiry date (i.e. as in my case License #108/2014)  

So far we have a small number of Builder Members who have taken this up, and the comment from Craig Hill to go through the process with you at Auckland Council with a view to speeding up processing of Building Approvals for Master Pool Builder Members is appreciated. We have had several discussions about this in the past year or so, but now March 1st 2012 has arrived, it’s probably appropriate to revisit the issues.

This page in the NZMPB web site could be of interest to you:

Is it possible for you to have the Council issue an Edict to the various Branch Offices so that the Council staff have an understanding of Auckland Council policy for residential swimming pool builders (and in particular Builder Members of the NZ Master Pool Builders Inc) who apply for a Building Approval  - and how under the Government Act “The Building (Definition of Restricted Work) Order Act 2011” the LBP requirement does NOT include home swimming pool construction?

Thanks, and kind regards,

LE (Larry) Ogden - Dip Pool Tech (NZMPB Hon), Certified Builder’s License #108/2014




Mr Bob De Leur
Manager, Building Policy

Hi Larry

Obviously some un-informed (Council Employee) person.

Pools are not restricted building work.
However was the application included with an application for the dwelling perhaps? 

 Regards Bob



Under the new bill before Parliament, ANY* building jobs over $20,000 will require a written contract. Photo / Thinkstock


'Cowboys' in the construction industry are being targeted by a bill that will introduce fines of up to $200,000 for jobs done without the proper paperwork.

The Government is aiming to make building contractors more accountable for their work by making companies or individuals provide upfront evidence of their skills and track record, and insisting that they fix any faults quickly and efficiently with no questions asked. 

The changes would also affect do-it-yourself renovators.

The Building Amendment Bill (No 4) is part of a review of the Building Act prompted by the $22 billion leaky building crisis. It passed its first reading in Parliament on Tuesday, but several MPs expressed concern that the amendments left the building industry to police itself.

At the bill's first reading Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson said the proposals gave consumers more protection when building or renovating their homes.

If it was brought into law, builders would have to provide a comprehensive document that informed a client about the people who would be doing the work, the company's profile, and proof that it could cover the costs of fixing any faults.  If a builder made an error, the principal contractor would have to fix it within a year.

Mr Williamson said: "The 12-month period is intended to be a 'no questions asked' requirement for the building contractor to stand behind the quality of their work, similar to how faulty goods can be repaired if they are not fit for purpose.

"We can do it for colour TVs, we can do it for our new motor cars, so we should be able to for new buildings."

Contractors doing more than $20,000 of work would have to sign a document with the homeowner, and the maximum penalty for doing work without consent would be doubled to $200,000.

The amendments to the Building Act would also give more power to councils to deal with non-dangerous buildings that were near or adjacent to dangerous structures. 

The amendment was influenced by experiences during the Christchurch earthquakes, and would allow councils to prevent people from entering buildings close to dangerous structures.

The amendments have been supported by National, Act, the Maori Party, Labour and Greens but New Zealand First MP Andrew Williams opposed it at the first reading because he felt it reduced the role of local government and left the industry to police itself.

"If there are unscrupulous people handling that, and builders who can create companies and close them down as quick as anything, we could end up with the same situation as leaky homes, where no one can find the person responsible," Mr Williams told the Herald.  Labour and Greens also expressed concern that some of the new rules amounted to deregulation. 

Labour housing and construction spokesman Phil Twyford said the Government also needed to address some wider issues including the under-investment in building apprenticeships.


* Any building jobs over $20,000 will require a written contract.
* Contractors have to provide disclosure statements on their qualifications, track record, skills and licence status.
* Principal building contractors must fix defects within 12 months.
* Maximum penalty for building consents raised to $200,000.
* New powers for local authorities to deal with non-dangerous buildings close to dangerous buildings.

LETTER FROM THE Dept Building & Housing

Builder's Licensing is a somewhat difficult subject to work through, and getting exact information is elusive at times!
A recent meeting in Wellington with Craig Hill - Manager of Operational Policy and Regulatory Services (click on graphic at left) is both explanatory and yet confusing at the same time. Mr Hill was a perfect gentleman, and was a pleasure to meet with - (esp. compared top some Territorial Authorities I have met in the past), but of course he is limited to official policy - as noted in the first of his bullet points - but in the second paragraph he hits the target 100% by agreeing exactly with out aspirations to reduce the RED TAPE in getting Building Approvals in reasonable time spans.

I suggest we "read between the lines" and take special notice of his penultimate paragraph, and I strongly suggest that this is the path we must follow!







A Builder Members was delivered his Bricks today!

A Concrete pool Builder Member was delivered a pallet of block has was intending to use to build a small retaining wall as part of his contract to build a swimming pool for his customer. The pallet was sealed in a plastic wrapper with THE DANGER SIGN attached. CLICK on the graphic (left) to read what it says!





Check out this incredible map of New Zealand which shows more than 12,950 earthquakes logged since 3 September 2010! The graphic was produced in March 2011.

Click the map at left for a larger view of the incredible number of tremors we experience in New Zealand!

Fortunately most are too small to rate a mention, but the overlaying of red dots on a map of New Zealand gives a clear insight into the regions where the Pacific Plate meets the Australian Plate. It's in continual motion, and in time will change the geography of our country

Look like anywhere north of the Waikato is the place to be! And it's only a matter of time before Wellington will "do a Christchurch" on us.

Are we prepared to stump up another fortune in repairs?






Auckland Council have released their Code of Practice Version 3 as a Guide for the acceptable implementation of swimming pool fencing in order for your customers to be given a Code of Compliance.

You might want to read the document, so you are informed of what the Council is proposing, and give us any feedback you may have, as we have been invited to their next meeting in Auckland on 29th July.

Click Here for the report




Common sense Prevails!

16 June 2011
Department of Building and Housing
Te Tari Kaupapa Whare

Dear Larry
Your query about making existing swimming pool fences non-climbable

Thank you for your letter of 21 May 2011 in regard to your assertion that Auckland Council (the Council) will no longer allow 45o timber fillets to-be used to.modify existing boundary fences to a swimming pool area in order to make them non-climbable to young children.

The Department of Building and Housing (the Department) understands that the Council has recently accepted a code of practice for swimming pool fencing (in which the Department had some input) and it is currently in the process of implementing it. But at this stage, the code of practice has not yet documented specific details, such as the minimum angle of timber fillets that will be acceptable when modifying boundary fences.

However, the Council has informally advised the Department that it intends to adopt 60o timber fillets for all new fence modifications, so as to align with Figure 3 of F4/AS1 (Safety from Failing) and Figure 2.4 of AS 1926.1-2007 (Fencing for Swimming Pools).

In regard to existing fence modifications (with 45o timber fillets), the Council has indicated that these fillets can remain if they are in good condition. However any deteriorated 45o timber fillets will be required to be replaced with 60o fillets: These existing modifications will be assessed by the Council on a case-by-case basis.

We suggest that it is not appropriate and premature at this time, for you to seek a determination by the Department as your scenario has not yet occurred for a specific project. I hope this letter is of assistance to you.

Yours sincerely

Steve Garner
Acting Manager, Consent Authority Capability and Performance Group



In a a surprising reversal, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled perhaps as many as one million previously approved Main Drain covers. The move came after questions were raised about the testing methods used in the original approval process.

The enormity of the recall effort was not lost on Scott Wolfson, CPSC public affairs director, in his announcement. "We know this is a very difficult message to share with the public as we roll into Memorial Day weekend, but better to address this now than in the middle of the swim season when a child was hurt on one of these recalled drains"

Essentially, the issue came down to flow rate through the covers. The CPSC said in a statement that the recalled drain covers "were incorrectly rated to handle the flow of water through the cover, which could pose a possible entrapment hazard to swimmers and bathers"

This means that a large number of drain covers which were installed during the VGB compliance period will have to be replaced, which is likely to produce a great deal of work for the same pool companies that installed these drain covers the first time around. The source of funding for the labor costs to switch the drain covers is not yet clear.

The following eight manufacturers were named in the CPSC announcement as part of the recall: A&A Manufacturing, AquaStar Pool Products, Color Match Pool Fittings, Custom Molded Products, Hayward Pool Products, Pentair Water Pool and Spa, Rising Dragon Plastics and Waterway Plastics.

Our Builder Members must be aware of entrapment issues and follow New Zealand Standards guidelines such as NZS4441:2008 and NZS8500:2006 [JUMP TO THERE] in respect of including multiple suction points (instread of just one) within the distances prescribed between them to avoid suction entrapment. At t his point in time, the need to firmly affix the covers with screws is not required, as it is in the USA for underwater suction points as well as Skimmer lids.

March 24th 2011


PAUL FULLER Dip Pool Tech (Hons)

Builder Member Paul Fuller has become the first to successfully complete the Diploma of Pool Technology 2010 Course with an HONORS Pass, scoring an A+ pass with more than 95% mark and in accordance with the newly adopted Licensing Committee's rulings has been issued with the Guild's first CERTIFIED BUILDER'S LICENSE.



Members who may be affected by theneed to provide their Local Council with a Builder's License might be interested in joining our scheme to provide you with Trade Qualifications based on your experience in building swimming pools for at least five years.

If you enroll in the Diploma Course 2010 and pass with at least a B qualification, and are a Master Pool Builders Member of this association, we will issue with a Certified Builder's License which will be renewable every three years following an updated assessment that assures us that you are keeping up-to-date with your industry skills.






Click the link to the Online Diploma Course (on the MENU at the top) for more information on the course.   


Since the formation of the new "Super City" pool compliance requirements in the Auckland region can be described at best, as an unmitigated disaster...

Our clients (pool owners and prospective pool owners) have received multiple letters from the Auckland Council, most of containing contradictory advice , in regard to pool compliance for owners of both new and/or existing, residential swimming pools... 

This challenge has been discussed with Auckland Council representatives at earlier Watersafe Forum's in December and January however, because of the apparent lack of interest shown by associated industries (as shown by attendees) those of us who are regulars at the meetings are finding their comments requesting sanity to prevail, are being largely ignored...

 All involved in providing product and services to the home pool market need to get involved otherwise, we might not have any market left to supply... Think this is an exaggeration?

Then you need to talk to your clients, the pool owners, because all the council has to do is make it too hard or difficult for them to own or buy a pool... (As is reportedly happening in Queensland, Australia)

Regards - Les J Hole, Director

Swish Automation Ltd
0800 2Swish / 0800 279 474Mob: 0274 77 9000 
Ph: +64 9 577 5819 Email:


Builder's Licensing for the construction industry
was fully implemented in 2011

Due to the various trade skills requred by residential swimming pool builders, it is impractical for us to sit the ten trade licences offered by the Government

- you simply wouldn't have time to build pools and satisfy the government's requirements too - especially  the annual upskill requirements!


The NZMPB Inc has developed a system to issue its own Certified Builder's License - one that recognises the trade skills required to build swimming pools. All of our Builder Members are half-way there!


The requirements you met to be admitted to membership as a Builder Member means you already have Accepted Levels of Prior Experience (ALPE) which has been approved by the Australian Government in lieu of professional qualifications.


There is every indication that the NZ Government will follow the Australian rules, so it's up to you to participate in our licensing program if you hope to be building pools in 2011 and beyond! Click the image (left) or the link on the MAIN MENU.













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