Do You Need a Permit for a Pool?

You’ve decided to build a swimming pool in your backyard to spend quality family time enjoying the sun. One of the most essential steps in realizing your backyard pool dreams is ensuring you have all the proper permits in place. The requirements for permitting vary between states, municipalities, and counties, but regardless of where you live, you will need permits.

Swimming pool permits ensure that your pool meets all the building codes and safety standards so everyone can enjoy the pool safely.

Do You Need a Permit for a Pool

How Do I Find Out What Permits I Need?

Most jurisdictions have all the information you need about acquiring permits online. However, if you are having trouble finding the information you need, contact your local municipal office (city, town, or county) to ask what permits you require for building an inground swimming pool. They should be able to direct you to the correct information.

The Process of Obtaining Pool Permits

It’s a relatively simple process to obtain permits for building your pool, but it does require some homework. You will need to make sure you research all the necessary requirements and have your documentation in order. If you are not confident in your abilities to provide the required paperwork, it’s best to consult with an experienced contractor.

  • If it’s applicable, consult with your homeowner’s association to determine if backyard swimming pools are permitted in your community.
  • Collect all relevant information regarding your pool design and specifications.
  • Submit completed permit applications and applicable filing fees.
  • Wait for your permit to be approved.
  • Build your pool and all accessory structures listed in your permit.
  • Call for final inspections at each stage of the building process. For example, your pool will require checks of the electrical and plumbing installation, as well as a final review when the pool build is complete.

Requirements for Pool Construction Permit Applications

As an applicant for pool construction permits, you will be required to submit backyard drawings and plans for where you are placing your pool. Requirements on these documents will also include:

  • The address the pool is being built at
  • The property owner’s name and contact information
  • The dimensions of the proposed pool
  • The estimated cost of building the pool
  • Fencing, deck, and accessory building specifications
  • Distance of your pool from your house and other adjacent structures
  • Distance of your pool from property boundaries and right of ways
  • Plot plans. Most jurisdictions require a plot plan to be submitted with your pool permit applications. A plot plan is a detailed drawing or diagram of your backyard. It shows the location of your house and other existing structures on your property, along with the proposed site of your swimming pool. In addition, you will need to outline the size and shape of your proposed design, along with your chosen options.

It is usually best to include a copy of your desired swimming pool panel layout and the dig specifications for your installation site. Some municipalities will also ask for information on your pump and filtration system and the type of pool lighting you wish to install.

Unfortunately, all states and municipalities don’t have universal requirements. For example, some areas will require only a hand-drawn backyard design, while others need an engineer-stamped drawing for approval. Essentially, the more detailed information you can provide, the more likely you are to see fast permit approval.

Multiple Permit Types

There are different types of permits required before starting construction of your backyard pool. At a bare minimum, you will need a building permit for construction. You will also need an electrical or gas permit, depending on how you run your pool filtration and/or heater.


Drainage systems will have to be outlined and permitted, mainly if your pool will drain into a municipal wastewater system. If you live near a pond or lake, there may be special requirements to prove you will not be contaminating natural water systems.

If your house has its own septic system, there will be a distance requirement for your pool. Usually, you must keep an inground pool at least 10 feet away from septic tanks and 20 feet away from septic fields.


Most residential communities have limitations on how close your backyard pool can be built to your home and property line. The setback limits are usually more extensive at the back of your property than on the sides. Setbacks vary greatly depending on the community; they can range anywhere from five to twenty feet.

Safety Requirements

Check the safety requirements for your area as well. Backyard pools in Florida, for example, require chain link fencing to keep alligators from making themselves at home, while in Montana, you will be required to have a plan for the winterization of your pool.

It’s essential to know the unique types of construction and documentation required in your jurisdiction. There are signage and fencing requirements in most states, too, so make sure you know which rules apply to you.

How Long Does it Take to Receive Pool Permits?

The length of time to obtain your permits will vary according to your location. Sometimes permits are issued in a week, while other times, it can take upwards of six weeks. Ensuring you have all of your documentation in order will help speed up the process and prevent delays.

Pool Permit Inspections

The primary purpose of an inspection is to ensure all building codes and safety requirements have been met with your pool installation. This includes verification of your electricals and plumbing. If you do not get the proper inspections at the appropriate time, your permits will not receive final approval, and you will not be able to use your pool.

Separate and Additional Permits

If your pool build project requires building a retaining wall, decking, fencing, or additional structures, you will likely have to apply for separate permits for each structure. Check with your local contractor to find out more specifics.

Some jurisdictions only require permits for structures of a certain size, while others require permits for everything.

Do Pool Permits Have Time Limits?

Most municipal districts give time limits for starting and completing the construction of a permitted project. If there are construction delays during the process, you can usually apply for extensions, but the requirements and timeframes vary according to jurisdiction.

The standard expiry for permits is six months, and most places in the US issue permits with a 6-12 month timeframe for project completion. The purpose of the timescale is to make sure your project is built with the most up-to-date building code requirements.


If the permit process for your backyard pool seems intimidating, don’t fret. Hiring a professional contractor specializing in the construction of inground pools will help you get through the process smoothly and relatively pain-free.

Check for the specific regulations in your state, city, and county, and have all your documents ready. Once your permits are in place, you can begin construction of your new pool.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *