Councils will be required to inspect swimming pools every five years under proposed changes to the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act.
The changes are estimated to reduce the number of young children drowning in home pools nationally by six every 10 years, Timaru District Council building control manager Grant Hyde said, and are likely to be introduced later in the year.
The changes will mean councils will be required to inspect swimming pools at least every five years. Mr Hyde estimates there are around 800 pools and spas in the Timaru District.
"Currently we aim to audit 10 per cent of pools annually, so our workload will double."
In 2013 the 10 per cent target was not met due to increased workloads in building consents.
Pool owners would not be charged for audits. However, if they failed and a follow-up inspection was required, they would be, Mr Hyde said.
Under the changes, child-resistant spa pools will no longer require additional means of restricting access.
The act currently makes no distinction between spa pools and all owners must obtain building consents and install fences that comply with the act.
Retailers will be required to inform people who purchase spas and portable pools of their obligations.
Councils are unaware of many spa pools as owners do not realise they need to be fenced and that they need to be granted consent.
Portable pools will be exempt if they are shallower than 300mm.
Garden ponds and other water hazards will be exempt if they are not intended for swimming.
- The Timaru Herald