Gates in pool barriers

Gates are an important part of the safety of the barrier as they need to be able to prevent entry of children.

The following is an outline of the requirements that the gate needs:

The gate itself

  • Not less than 1200mm in height
  • Not angled more than 15° from vertical, and only sloped away from the pool
  • Any horizontal rods, rails and/or wires forming part of the barrier must be 900mm apart vertically
  • No openings in the barrier greater than 100mm in diameter
  • Steel mesh under 1200mm in height can have openings no greater than 13mm
  • Nothing closer than 1200mm to the top edge that can aid in climbing over the barrier
  • Have no projections or indentations greater than 10mm on the surface

The gate operation

  • Be hinged
  • Open away from the pool
  • Swing clear of any obstruction that might hold it open
  • Self-closing device that will close the gate from any position
  • Hinges will be arranged so gate will not open if lifted or pulled down
  • Gap under gate less than 100mm
  • Latch either 1500mm above ground or 150mm below on rear of gate
  • Latch cannot be operated inserting an implement through any gaps

For full information on the requirements for the gate please view New Zealand Building Code – Section F9 (external link)

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Do I need a special gate? Yes, the gate has to meet the same requirements as the pool fence to prevent children from climbing over it, and it must be self-closing from any distance it is opened.

Can I have a sliding gate? At the moment the requirements are that a gate must be hinged. If you have a different gate type it would have to be assessed by the territorial authority to see if it is suitable before it can be approved.

Which way does the gate have to open? The gate must open out and away from the pool/pool area.

How big must the gate be? The gate must be at least 1200mm high, and meet the same requirements as the fence.

How far does it have to open? The gate can open any distance, but it must automatically close from any position it is opened to, and it can’t be obstructed. Be careful of the gate opening into gardens and shrubs that may cause obstruction and prevent the gate form self-closing.

Do I need special hinges? Yes, the hinges must be installed in such a way that if the gate is lifted up or pulled down it won’t come off the hinges, and that the gap under the gate doesn’t exceed 100mm

Do I need a special latch? Yes, the latch must not be accessible to children outside the pool. These can be found in Figure 3 of New Zealand Building Code, Clause F9 (external link) .

What should I watch out for with a gate latch? Check that the gate latch can’t be opened by someone on the outside by inserting a thin stick or similar implement through any gap, as children can be determined and crafty.