1 April 2019
MEMBER'S ONLINE POLL
Vote on the future of our Association
Results will be announced at the General Meeting this Wednesday 3 April 2019
28 March 2019
Just a reminder ..
OBJECTS: The objects of the Association (Our CONSTITUTION)
To promote the members of the Association's wider commercial interests of by way of providing and managing internet information web pages for the benefit of both the Public and Membership, provide on-line educational and training courses leading to Diploma awards and Pool Builder Certification, manage regular swimming pool photographic competitions and resultant publicity exhibitions of the entries or any other concerted on-line activities to undertake and co-ordinate promotion of residential swimming pools.
To advertise the existence of the Association and New Zealand swimming pool industry by such On-Line and Print Media activities that in the opinion of the Association Executive will enhance the profile of the New Zealand swimming pool construction and supporting industry, and various other means which will be conducive to these objects, severally;
To provide a Forum for discussion and debate by and between Members relative to all aspects of the swimming pool construction industry and to facilitate co-operation and mutual respect among members;
To provide Dispute Assessment & Resolution mediation and clarification, assistance and guidance relating to the construction of swimming pools between Members and their Customers
To foster and promote the good reputation of Members of the Association and to that intent to set and monitor Ethical Standards and benchmarks for good practice in all areas of swimming pool construction and commercial dealings;
To enter into arrangements and agreements with Government or governmental organisations or any local authority providers of utility services relative to the construction, installation and maintenance of swimming pools
To raise money by way of levies on members in order to further any or all of the objects and to spend such part of the levies as a quorum of the Executive Council at a properly convened Executive Council Meeting shall in their opinion think fit on any activities undertaken to further the Association's objectives and Public obligations.
Generally to do all things which may in the opinion of the Association assist in the promotion of all or any of the above described objects.
Larry Ogden Dip Pool Tech (HONS) Certified NZPIA Builder #108/2021
SEE THE RESPONSES TO THE PROPOSAL FROM SPASA (BELOW)
NEXT GENERAL MEETING:
WEDNESDAY APRIL 3rd 2019
Waipuna Lodge and Convention Center,
Waipuna Road, Mt Wellingon
5:00 - 6:00 Meet 'n Greet
6:00 - 7:00 General Meeting: SPASA Takeover (see Responses below)
7:00 - 9:30 Dine and Dance
Bring your Wife, Partner or Companion (Pets not included)
Distance Subsidies Apply - call me for details
This will be the last GM for the 2018/19 Year - AGM in Aug/Sept
Larry Ogden (CEO)
S.P.A.S.A. Takeover proposal
SUGGESTED OPTIONS (UPDATED 27 MARCH 2019)
OPTION ONE RE-BRAND AS A SIMPLE POOL INDUSTRY SOCIAL CLUB (NO DISPUTES/LEGAL FIGHTS)
OPTION TWO DISBAND THE ASSOCIATION AND WIND IT UP COMPLETELY
OPTION THREE CONTINUE WITH MORE COMPULSORY INVOLVEMENT FROM MEMBERSHIP
OPTION FOUR CONTINUE AS A MODIFIED TRADE - SOCIAL/DISPUTES/LEGAL - ASSOCIATION
Under a REVISED OPTION FOUR:
The Guild will continue with fee-based Legal Advice available to Members and Public via a Law Firm.
Disputes Inspectors from Builder Membership will be paid an Houly Rate which will be generated by a deposit received from the Dispute Applicant before we do anything.
Disputed cases will be investigated and analysed: A fee will be required for a written report.
Assets will be analysed and benefits to Membership adopted, as per the 25th Anniversary weekend was.
Consider which of the options (below) should be retained
(a) A Trade Association, Limited Liability Company - with staffing as required and dividends to shareholders
(b) Continue as a 'Not for Profit' Incorporated Society - continuing the current staffing methods
(c) Continue the Disputes Process as a self-funded operation, paying the Members who do the inspections
(d) Continue with Annual Membership Fees to fund basic operational costs, and continue with 3 annual dinner meetings
(e) Continue, but make the Diploma Course and Builders Licensing Scheme compulsory to encourage prospects a reason to join.
(f) Continue the self-funding Biennial Photographic Competition
(f) We could investigate the joining together of NZPIA Inc with Landscaping
people to boost membership and increased influence with Councils?
(g) In the past (2012), I registered the name Swimming Pool and Spa Assocation (NZ) Limited, on the off-chance that we may have been invited to jhoin the then SPASA and which may be used if required - Or at least give us the ability to
influence SPASA Alliance if necessary.
RESPONSES FROM MEMBERS COMMENTING ON SPASA PROPOSITION TO TAKE OVER THE NZPIA Inc
AH. After looking at the options for voting on the future of the NZPIA, with the options offered I am unable to vote.
What I would like to see is an option whereby a potential merger with SPASA is mooted, or at least a commitment to further discussing what this may look like if it took place.
I don't believe they are looking to come into our market and run roughshod over the existing industry organisation, rather work with it, and I feel the information that has been shared thus far is not a balanced view of the situation.
My experience in dealing with our Aussie counterparts in the Pool industry stretches back a few years, I have enjoyed the benefits of drawing from my (our Ed.) cousins and scaling it to the local market. Let them make the mistakes and we get to pick up all the stuff that works. I do feel that this is how a merger with the likes of SPASA could potentially work, us being able to draw from a much larger pool of information.
With the SPASA show coming up, maybe there is the opportunity on the 3rd of May for a Q and A with a SPASA representative and members to alleviate some fears around where this may or may not end up. Kind Regards,
Hi Larry, re order of priorities for the association, in my opinion the assoc is not broken and does incredibly valuable work but needs a bit of a re look/tweak so the board members don't get disillusioned/burnt out, so I think,
- that the assoc at very least maintains it's current profile
- A lot has gone into forming the current set up and I believe this can work but the load HAS to be spread more evenly and rotated
- We should maybe not worry about being a money making organisation but should at very least break even with maybe a bit of spare to come and go on. To that end some of our savings could be used to employ suitable outside professionals to help out. Maybe striking a rapport with some who could give us " a deal" through their social appreciation of what we are trying to do---the latter maybe a bit ambitious.
- Any education courses diplomas etc should be put on the back burner for now but not discarded. Lets revisit them when we have a solid base again
- Forget any arrangement with Australia at this time.
- The members have to understand and appreciate what is involved in driving this boat, maybe at the next meeting, as an exercise, ask for a show of hands as to who is prepared to offer their time as the exec has done for many years!!
- I think it is important to keep the calibre of exec members high and I think the current board does that and we should be trying to retain them but also help them to spread the load so they don't get disillusioned.
- The committees as set up should remain as they are integral to the workings of the assoc
- If we become a "social" gathering in my opinion we would be a futile piss up organisation and achieve very little whilst wasting all the effort that has gone in thus far.
I think if we can spread the load more evenly then as you have said below, it should be "business as usual" with a few tweaks here and there. For my part I am open to the idea of being co-opted as and when required and subject to availability and possibly looking at the disputes role again at some stage in the future but probably as a paid role. Hope this is of some help and more than happy to discuss further if you wish. Cheers. CJM
Re: the Spasa options. Brent and I both prefer Option 4. Consideration be given to remuneration to board members or at least one paid board member (perhaps a semi-retired builder) to do most of the work.
We would be happy to pay more to be part of the guild but would prefer the control kept in NZ rather than give control to an Australian organisation that would be looking at making a profit. We wouldn't be keen on paying a % of our turnover or disclosing this to an outside party.
I wondered if there is any professional organisation already set up (eg. ECANZ, Master Builders etc) who already have the systems and structure in place who for some remuneration would be interested in taking over the organisation of the guild - with governance from the board? It could help with the administration and day to day duties. Just an idea. Thanks for everything - keep us posted and we are interested to see what the other members feel. Kind regards TMcG
Larry if we are voting on anything i oppose being taken over by SPASA we may all need to pay more fees and employ someone to carry on the fight.
The disputes committee is invaluable for our industry. Regards DT
We consider option four to better reflect the reality of the situation today with so many of us time poor. It is usual to pay for professional services in other aspects of business and this should be no different.
This option will reward those prepared to get involved with the Guild. Going legal on the various councils subjective interpretations of the legislation is a normal state of being now in a number of other industries.
Doing so will get their attention and the legal team ably supported by the knowledge coming from the Guild would pose a stronger challenge council can not ignore.
We understand the subscriptions would increase but accept that as part of doing business.
Spreading the cost of legal across many members is beneficial for all. The wealth of knowledge, funds and time invested in the Guild to date is too valuable to hand to SPASA.
Totally opposed to that option. Sincerely, P and SB
It is important to support SPASA's entry into NZ as the return of a dedicated Trade Show such as the one to be held in May here will stimulate the industry.
SPASA have also indicated they will work to create education pathways where NZQA recognized credits can be achieved (based on the Australian curriculum currently in place). This would help with staff retention and promote career paths in the industry which I believe would be valuable.
I am dubious as to whether SPASA would have the time nor inclination to support the NZPIA when it comes to local matters such as dealing with TA's on determinations or regulatory changes which will not be relevant to the Australian market.
The SPASA membership cost seem very high and on top of that, training fees will be extra - I think the average business owner in NZ will find these extreme.
Options 3 or 4 for continuing the Guild seem to be the most logical. Compulsory involvement and/or a rise in membership fees should be considered if this is what it takes to 'make it happen'. Consider leaving disputes resolution to the individual business owners (offer advice but not legal support as needed). Fund or support cases such as when dealing with TA's which effect the industry NZ wide instead.
Keep the Diploma and revise as necessary.
I made a point of finding the time to complete this - though it hasn't yet been updated on the website [SORRY - Editor] as I feel any opportunity to learn, develop and further knowledge is important.
As a registered IQPI, I meet with Auckland Council and MBIE representatives every three months.
I am happy to represent the NZPIA at these meetings. Recent determinations such as the SWISH findings are discussed at these meetings in an open forum and there is opportunity to have the collective wishes of the NZPIA taken into account as necessary.
We should be able to support SPASA's entry to NZ AND drive the NZPIA in the right direction with collective determination of members who obviously see this association as having a very important place within our industry. Thank you for taking the time to consider my input. Thank you. RM - Dip Pool Tech (Hon)
Hi Larry and Executive Members.
After reading the letter I thought I would at least give me "2 cents worth".
We are not a pool builder, nor are we in Auckland however I still believe the guild has a place hence us being joined for a number of years.
My thoughts are when the guild changed the name they had a huge chance to open up the guild to all in the pool and spa industry.
We all know that we all can't survive in this game without each other however the general consensus I get from some others is why join an industry which doesn't include service techs, retail shops etc.
My instant reply is "it takes more of us out of the "Builder" aspect of the industry to join to then have a voice".
I appreciate the history of the guild and never want to take anything away from that as without those beginnings and the countless hours that have been volunteered there would be no guild to even voice this concern.
Given the estimated costs that SPASA may have for some of their trainings I see a lot of other companies who were not with a "voice" look to want to join someone who has some say in the industry. From what I can see the SPASA courses are "recognised" and assume they will be here in NZ?
As to the diploma I think most of us have become lazy and feel most of us think there is no need to sit this given the majority of us know the answers. I know this is an excuse and I'm the first to put my hand up.
I can't recall how much it was to sit the diploma however given you were thinking of revising this maybe this is a good time to get people interested in it and putting their money where there mouth is.
I know that this diploma is not "recognised" however if the majority of us do the diploma this will provide revenue for my note below.
I believe that the guild still needs to stand as it is but with a few adjustments.
I believe the current fee system is good (and I think the out of towners appreciate the remuneration that we can have to attend meetings/AGM).
I think a focus could be made on some sort of recruiting to those who are not currently members.
A large brainstorm would be required by all as to how to best approach these members with the best reasons to join.
I believe that someone who is carrying out the majority of this work needs to be paid as the size of the guild as well as the way I think everyone wants it work, requires more time than just volunteered time. I haven't had a chance to speak to Any of my Aussie mates in the industry to get their opinion of the SPASA but I'm interested to see what others are thinking.
I would love to have been at the meeting in April however can't make it. Kind Regards CT
At last I am reasonably satisfied with our reply to your email to members regarding the SPASA development for NZ…
I have taken the view as a new member of NZPIA any comment I made in regard to the current organisational services offered by NZPIA to its members could be reasonably challenged… Hence, I have avoided this trap for young players…
Rather, I have taken the view, based on the statistics we have provided NZPIA to ask the question of the industry:
- "where do we want to go as an industry from here?"
- And provided the current "here" with our graph of pool consents from research purchased
- from Standards NZ during the period 1987 through to 2015 from which we reviewed a 12 year period to show the effect of "Super-City" on pool consents
SPASA were talking about promotions designed to increase market size by 10% per annum…
Looking at the graph and providing and educated guess through to 2018/19 – we will be lucky to just maintain 2013/14 consent volumes…
- Nil growth at best but more likely, further market losses especially in Auckland. This letter demands direction or a decision from members:
Accept the SPASA joint market development proposal (after formal confirmation of their plans)
- Instruct NZPIA to develop a NZ program to achieve the same results advised by SPASA
- Do nothing as we (the members) are happy with the status quo
In regard to the AGM… No doubt however, any NZPIA decision will not happen on (April 3rd) but at least a broad brush market viewpoint has been presented to the members…
Incidentally, today I have heard from a client in Blenheim, Marlborough District Council have also caught the AS1 disease… Regards LH
In my opinion; please do not accept the Australian offer.
As a Pool Retailer I do not necessarily fit "the mould" of Pool Builder however I trust you'll receive my opinion.
I visited a Training Seminar last year in Grey Lynn and the SPASA guy was present.
He was promoting (pushing the barrow) of his proposed Spa & Pool Expo here in NZ.
The general impression I gained (and there were others) was "who is this guy, in our patch, wanting to take the cream?"
I got the overall impression that Australia wanted to show a presence in NZ because we need them.
I'm like you, we don't. The number 8 wire approach has to be adopted.
We all think we are too busy.....but are we?......surely there are more of us that can assist you &/or the Executive. I'm willing.
So long as you are happy with the "from afar approach" (being Kerikeri based) and alot of my work may need to be by email or phone.
Put that to the Members. Sorry, I cant be there on 3rd April for your Meeting. I have a prior arrangement.
For a parochial approach I am happy to liaise with local Pool Builders (***)Their input can be taken on board if it is of assistance to the Group.
I'm happy to be the communicator.
Anytime I'm in Auckland I'm happy to meet with you.
As an aside, Geoff Bonham regularly visited me whenever he was up North.
He was the person who encouraged me to join your Association.
In October, I will celebrate 10 years in the Industry. A novice to an extent but a Goldcard holder probably means I have a wise head on my shoulders.
For a referral ask (****) Kind regards, DK
MY RESPONSE to DK
Great to have your feedback ****,
For years it has been myself and a few dedicated committee Members to fight for the New Zealand pool industry - Many of whom saw no benefit to joining the Guild – but took the achievements for free!
There are countless occasions where our presence at the many "ring fence all pools" groups tried to dominate the freedoms of the people to own and enjoy a pool at home
Yes, we agree that certain restrictions must be in place to protect children under five, but also feel that vigilance on the part of parents must come into it as well
Statistically, there has been an INCREASE in <5 drownings in Australia since they introduced the Ring Fence rule
The answer must be in the complacency that ring-fencing unfortunately brings … "The pool is fully fenced so we don't have to supervise the children"
I agree that the Aussies are not going to be interested in our problems, or fund any actions we need to take.
They are simply here to Sell Courses, Photo Competitions and put on SPLASH shows … and have stated publically that they do not intend to pay any dividends to our Guild
Let me know next time you are in the "Giant Car Park" We can have a coffee or lunch Kind Regards Larry
Thanks for your email in regards to these issues. As a new ish member I haven't made it to a meeting as of yet.
With a tribe of 4 men (mi)d week is difficult to arrange kids as we would need to leave mid afternoon at best to make the meeting (Tauranga based)
I am interested as to the amount of time the guild uses dealing with councils I'm assuming around Auckland helping builders.
And also others thoughts, I have been I the industry for around 18 yrs and considered it a good idea to join the guild, I have always wanted to also look at doing the diploma but time is not currently on my side and perhaps now in light of recent developments I need to wait.
I believe the guild to be a great benefit and would happily pay more on an annual basis if required to help keep it.
I would have (thought) a lot of members would think the same?
I idea of been taken over / absorbed by SPASA isn't something that seems beneficial at all. Regards KC
MY (Abridged) RESPONSE TO KC
Over the years, Guild committee members have donated free time over hundreds of hours representing you, the other Members, and the rest of Kiwi pool builders.
We currently have NO REPRESENTATION with Auckland TA and only one Builder Member left who was part of the earlier Standards and Fencing committees (Thanks to Neil Runciman).
Les Hole (SWISH Automation) is currently battling Determinations he consider unreasonable over self-closing doors with MBIE
Should be still be represented to TA's?
Recently in Auckland – and coming to a TA near you soon – a swimming pool must now be located no nearer a Boundary Fence than 1.0m.
The smooth Boundary Fence must be 1.8m high with no laterals on either side. The "no internal laterals" is to stop an "under five" child from scaling the outside of the fence and then being able to lower themselves down onto the ground on the pool side. Presumably instead of falling into the pool and drowning.
Not permitted as a boundary fence with a nearby pool.
The obvious "elephant in this room" is – so, they will fall down the 1,800mm smooth inside of the wall onto a concrete path and be killed or maimed, but at least the TA has reduced the child-drowning statistics!
In other words, we either need to build up a RECOGNISED organisation of strength and determination to counter unreasonable or questionable rule changes, or simply forget is and lie down.
The arrival of SPASA into the picture goes deeper than a first glance reveals, hence our current discussions over the changes to our Guild.
As previously mentioned, OPTION FOUR with a Membership Funded LEGAL TEAM may be the answer.
Maybe a balance of options 3 and4 but probably better if it's discussed at the next meeting
Hi Larry and Executive members.
As a retired pool builder member of The NZ. Pool Industry Association, I would vote for Option 4, including all A B and C as suggested by Larry. The time has come and that is now very apparent the Industry does need to have paid professional assistance when required.
Unfortunately, I am out of Auckland the first week of April so will not be able to attend this Important Meeting. My apologies. Regards. JH.
DC (Guest Member)
I am not a member of the association but you have been sending info to me so I feel I can comment.
I have been involved in the Pool and Landscaping Industry for some 35 years so feel I have some experience to offer.
I have been a full member of the Landscape Association for 32 years and have been involved on their executive.
Both associations have a lot of similar attributes which drive the same problems. The main one being a voluntary organisation which relies on the membership to provide the executive etc. Depending on the ability of these committee members has a direct result on the outcome of the association.
Both associations have a very low public profile. This is also reflected thru sporting associations NZ wide.
I believe the Landscape Association is heading in the right direction where we have paid staff in the form of an Executive Officer and Secretary. We know have a Board and the day to day running has been put onto paid staff.
We are still at a point where this could all be all in vain.
The main issue is membership numbers and the ability to generate new members who feel a need to be part of a national association.
Membership numbers have a direct correlation to the benefits business may see in becoming sponsors etc of the association.
We have had very loyal sponsors who have seen the benefit of a national body.
The big target for both Associations is for the Government to bring the two trades into the Building sector and require certification. Certainly a possibility but it would need to be driven by both sectors. Will it happen who knows.
There are some issues which would need addressing but I feel there is a definite opportunity
in both associations at least talking at a committee level and see what options are of common ground.It may start as a simple coming together at a level where we share a conference and awards.
The demise of the Pool Association would be a big step backwards and the amalgamation with SPASA
who would seem to be more about generating revenue rather than professional pool builders body.
I have never joined the Pool Association because it seemed to lack a professional approach looking from the outside and did not provide any reason to a potential client why they would look at using a member over a non member.. This may be a bit unkind to the members who have endeavoured to run the association as volunteers but the Landscape Association was and still is the same.
Would I pay $ 4,000 a year to be a member of SPASA?
Or be part of a diploma course?
No not unless the level of public awareness of such an organisation hurt my bottom line financially.
I certainly would like to be able to put staff thru a dedicated course but that course needs to be recognised at a Government level.
Until this is done no point.
Always happy to talk as I see the same issues thru the Landscape Association and our Local sporting clubs.
It is very easy to get caught up in past and what we have always done.
Our total social fabric has changed in the last 10 - 15 years and along with this the ability to find and receive information.
Time is a medium we are getting short on and the volunteer based association is on borrowed time.
As I am a new member I have read all the info and end to agree to keep the Guild how it is.
Its all really said in feedback with the general consensus for the Guild to remain with a few tweaks - Put me in that corner matE, JB
I myself do intend to do the Diploma course asap and as the only real Pool association in the County and one that has taken noted individuals countless time and at there own expense. It would be a waste to hand it over.
SPASA REPORT 11 MARCHH 019
The following picture is the start of a New Zealand-wide Memo to the Pool Industry fromLes Hole, CEO of Swish Automation Ltd - Manufacturer of self closing & locking pool safety devices. CLICK THE MEMO for the full article.
Swish's Les Hole has been fighting MBIE and COUNCILS over the perversion by some Council Members of the actual RULES being adopted, by inserting their OPINION rather than sticking to the FACTS!
CLICK HERE or the MEMO (Above) for the explanation provided by Les on how we are being railroaded into adopting foreign legislation to "save time" for our own KIWI rule-makers
CLICK HERE for the update (8.3.2019)
As a MEMBER of the swimming pool industry of New Zealand (not Australia) you are advised to read Les' memo and think about your future if "They" can shut us down because we are a "nuisance" because we actually know what we are talking about, because it's our "LIVELEHOOD"!
NOTES: Download F9 and read it (If you are a pool builder, you MUST read it)
The Passing of long-time Guild Member and supporter of the Swimming Pool Industry in New Zealand, Geoffrey John (Geoff) Bonham is notified.
Geoffrey passed away on January 21st 2019, after a short illness.
Geoff was a good friend to many of us and was truly liked as a person, and admired for his voluntary dedication in representing the swimming pool industry to the Government and Territorial Authorities while maintaining his commercial interests in the field of Spa Safety Covers and Automatic Swimming Pool covers dating back to the 1970's and 1980's.
Moving on from his Leisuretime manufacturing and distribution company in recent years, Geoff was elected to Honorary Member of the NZ Pool Industry Association Inc in 2015 and remained an on-call Member of the Executive Committee whilst still participating in the pool accessory field
Geoffrey served the swimming pool Industry in 2004-2005 with his volunteer work on the NZ Standard 8500:2006 (which is still referenced in MBIE pool fencing rules) and served three years 2013-2015 on the Auckland Council Pool Fencing Committee while the most recent pool fencing act was developed and introduced as the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2017 and section F9 of the Building Code.
Geoff always maintained that NZS 8500:2006 was a sufficient upgrade of the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987, and continued to advise MBIE and the Territorial Authorities to simply 'fine tune' NZS 8500 – especially after the introduction of the 2017 Act which dismayed him and many others of us in the pool Guild.
As it always is, it's a shock when one of our friends passes away. Especially for me, as I had emailed Geoff on January 15th (last week) to suggest that we catch up for lunch soon.
His response was:
"That sounds like a great idea Larry, when would it suit you - next week or the week after"
Sadly, this was not to be.
A good person, who's presence will be missed
The Christmas break might be a good time to remember to look at doing the Diploma Course:
Click this link ...
Current Builder Members who complete the Diploma Course will Automatically become Master Pool Builders and can display the MASTER POOL BUILDER logos on their stationary, vehicles and web pages. And you an flash your Master Pool Builder card next time you are at the Council lodging a Building Application - who knows, it might get some traction there!
Take THE FIRST SMALL STEP today! Download and read the first couple of Papers
You will see how easy it will be to do the full Diploma Course
DO IT NOW?
2019 - 2020 POOL PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION
We've been so busy lately that we almost forgot the biennual Photographic Competition
The changes in the web sites for the NZPIA Inc have confused things somewhat
As a result, the competition for 2016-2018 was neglected, so I have introduced the new competition for 2019-2020
PHOTO COMP tab (above) is an introduction to the latest version of the competition
Due to the delayed start, things may be a little hectic for some Builder Members as they are busy "building" - not "photographing" - however with a closing date of mid-May 2019, you should have ample time to get your photograph portfolio up tp date.
Hopefully, you will have been receiving our quarterly NEWSLETTER prepared by Profesional Newsletter Editor Jenni Phan [mailto:email@example.com]
In early stages, it's often diffficult to find interesting things to say, and Jenni is not part of the swimming pool industry, so congrats to her for producing the framework of what could become an interesting contact medium with the NZPIA
Feedback and contributions are invited
SMALL POOLS MAYNOT NEED A BUILDING APPROVAL
The NZPIA has taken legal advice concerning clauses 21 and 32 Schedule 1 Building Act 2004 as amended by
the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016
That advice confirms that no building consent is required for construction of residential swimming pools that
meet the criteria of clause 23 Schedule 1 Building Act 2004.
However, we note that one Council that we have been in correspondence with concerning the issue set out a
compelling argument for managing risk if certain geotechnical issues are present at the intended site.
Accordingly, the NZPIA is of the understanding our members do not have to apply for building consent to
construct a residential swimming pool that complies with clause 23 Schedule 1 Building Act 2004; however,
they may submit such an application in circumstances where they wish to obtain guidance from Council
concerning the intended site.
In respect of pool fencing, the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 at section 18(1) amended clause 21(2) so
that fences which do not require a building consent does not include pool fences. Accordingly, our members
will continue to apply for a building consent for all intended pool fences.
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 stuff.co.nz 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.
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.
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.
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: © stock.adobe.com/au/Dominique Ducouret