Do You Need a Permit to Put in a Pool?

by Erin Wallace
Building a Pool

Ah, summer. Long days, warm nights and a more laid-back pace of life. Summer also typically brings warm weather, and it may have crossed your mind once or twice whether it would be worthwhile to install a swimming pool. After all, a pool is a popular way to stay cool when the temperatures climb.

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If you've moved beyond wishful thinking and stepped into the territory of serious consideration, here are some things to know about the process.

Do You Need a Permit to Build an Inground Pool?

Short answer: Yes. Long answer: It depends on the state. In general, most cities and towns require a permit of some kind to install a pool, whether it's inground or above-ground.

Specific permit requirements vary from state to state and city to city. Pool permit requirements are extremely localized — what one municipality requires may be different from another municipality just a few miles down the road.

An inground pool installation requires excavation, site planning, construction review and a zoning check, among other steps. Any of these processes may require permits, depending on where you live. It's best to check with your local city or town hall to find out the specifics of what you might need.

Do You Need a Permit to Build an Above-Ground Pool?

Most places require you to get special permission from your local city or town if you're adding a large above-ground pool.

Now, if you decide to go to Target and buy an inflatable pool and fill it up yourself, you may not necessarily need a permit for that, but it varies depending on where you live and usually depends on how deep the pool is.

For example, in Lowell, Massachusetts, a city with a population of just over 113,000 people, a permit is required to install any swimming pool (including self-installed and inflatable pools) that's over 24 inches deep. In addition, a fence that's at least 4 feet high must be installed around the pool and include a self-closing, self-latching gate.

In Hadley, Massachusetts, you need a permit for any pool that holds more than 12 inches of water, and that includes inflatable pools.

In Louisa County, Virginia, a permit is needed for any pool that has a surface area larger than 150 square feet, holds 5,000 gallons of water or is more than 24 inches in depth.

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How Do You Get a Pool Building Permit?

The first step would be to contact your local city or town hall about the process for getting a pool permit. Information may also be available online on your city or town's website. It's a popular question, especially in warmer regions, so many places have online resources dedicated to the swimming pool permit process.

How Much Does a Pool Permit Cost?

Fees for pool permits vary by location, but according to HomeGuide, they could be anywhere from $100 to $300 (CAD 137 to CAD 411), according to HomeGuide. The cost is going to depend on the type of pool — inground pool permits are likely to cost more because there are more steps involved with excavation and zoning, while above-ground pool permit costs may be cheaper. The actual cost depends on where you live, so when you inquire with your local city or town hall, the people working there should be able to give you an approximate permit cost.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.