Planning on diving into a pool this summer?

Not much beats a dip in a backyard pool on a hot summer’s day! With the loss of overseas travel at the moment, we’re seeing a lot more interest in updating houses and outdoor spaces, including adding a pool. Most pools will need a building consent, but what are the planning requirements related to pools? In this week’s blog we have a look at pools in Auckland.

Is it a building?

A few weeks ago we published a blog about “buildings”. In planning terms, a “building” isn’t always what you expect. A pool is a “building” is it’s:

Over 1m in height from ground level, inclusive of the height of any supporting structure or more than 25,000l capacity

This incorporates a lot of pools, so you’ll need to do your homework to confirm if you need a resource consent.


If your pool meets the definition of a building, then the Auckland Unitary Plan Standards (rules) apply. This can include:

  • Yard setbacks

Think also about any decks that you may have around the pool, and any fences on the edge of these.

  • Height to boundary

Remember to include the height of pool fencing when looking into height to boundary Standards. You’d surprised how quickly an infringement can be created.

  • Building coverage,

An uncovered swimming pool would be excluded from this.

  • Landscape Area

The Auckland Unitary Plan definition of “Landscaped Area” does not include a pool, so while your pool may be in a lovely landscaped setting, you can’t include the pool area towards meeting Landscaped Areas Standards in the Auckland Unitary Plan.

Pools are specifically excluded from the definition of “impervious area”.


In some Unitary Plan overlays, resource consents are required for buildings. A widespread example includes the Special Character Overlay. The overlay rules can easily trip you up, as many people don’t review these rules and also don’t expect they apply to a pool.


In our blog last week, we looked at earthworks. As we discussed, there can be many issues other than just area and volume of earthworks that can trigger the need for a resource consent. In relation to pools this could include retaining walls, works in floodplains or overland flowpaths for example. Take a look at our blog to learn more.


If the water table is high in your area and your pool deep, your pool may end up diverting groundwater. This can also trigger the need for resource consent.


If you’re getting a pre- made pool installed, don’t forget about access. How are you going to get it into place? Will you need access over a neighbours property? Make sure you get approval from them in advance.

When looking at installation, also think about vegetation. Some trees are protected in the Auckland Unitary Plan, depending on their location and other factors such as size. This could be a notable tree, or a street tree for example. We have a blog coming up in a few weeks that will look at tree protection, so keep an eye out for it.

Got a development in mind?

If you’re looking to redevelop your property, give us a call. We have a network of industry contacts, so can make development stress free for you by managing the process on your behalf. You can contact us on or (09) 427 9966.

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