Swimming pools and spas

Before building a swimming pool or spa, find out the key facts about a property. Use the information to find out if your swimming pool or spa project needs planning approval.


The Building Act 1975 defines a swimming pool as an excavation or structure:

  • capable of being filled with water to a depth of 300 millimetres or more
  • capable of being used for swimming, bathing, wading, paddling or other human aquatic activities
  • used, designed, manufactured or adapted for the purpose mentioned above, despite its current use.

This includes spas and wading pools (other than portable wading pools).

It does not include a:

  • fish pond
  • ornamental pond, manufactured to be used for ornamental purposes
  • dam used for aquaculture, marine research or storage of water
  • watercourse
  • spa bath situated in a bathroom which is not continually filled with water
  • birthing pool used solely for water births
  • portable wading pool.

A portable wading pool is defined as:

  • capable of being filled with water to a depth of less than 300 millimetres
  • having a volume of no more than 2000 litres
  • having no filtration or pumping system.

Development application

Prior to works being carried out, the project may require an approved development application:

To find out the zone that applies or if your site is in a neighbourhood plan or overlay area, look at the key facts about a property.

Building approval

You will need a building approval for your swimming pool and pool fence. Arrange this through a building certifier.

The construction and maintenance of swimming pools and pool fencing must comply with:

It is the responsibility of property owners to ensure the pool and barriers are compliant at all times. For more information, check the swimming pool safety regulations.

Last updated: 31 August 2020