Rules for Shadowrun 3e on page 43 states that:
Dice pools initially become available for use at full value as the first step of the first Combat Turn of any encounter.
I interpret it as pools being available only during combat. However, I find it very strange that i.e. casting spells is much easier during combat than outside of initiative.
Is there any other part of rules that allows usage of pools outside of combat? I not, does anybody have some coherent set of house rules governing usage of pools outside of initiative?