Do You Need a Permit for an Above Ground Pool

Growing up in Florida, pools were everywhere, so it’s no surprise that when I  bought a house with a huge backyard, I immediately wanted a pool. My wife and I discussed various options, and her main concerns were safety and proper installation regulations. One of the first questions she asked was “Do you need a permit for an above ground pool?” She wanted to make sure to do things right.

Regulations vary depending on your location and the size of the pool, but most places require a permit for the installation of a swimming pool, including an above ground pool. Some places also require separate permits for electricity and the pump and filter equipment. Your municipal government website should have a section outlining the rules for your area.

If you decide to have your pool professionally installed, your contractor should get the permit taken care of. Whether you are going the self-instillation route, or have it installed for you, it’s a good idea to have an idea of the permitting and regulations you have to follow for your area.

Heading to City Hall, or at least their webpage, will give you a good idea of the specific regulations, required documents, and fees that are necessary for your area. Getting this knowledge first is key to making sure the installation process is a s smooth as possible.

Let’s take a look at what the general situation is!

Getting a Permit for Above Ground Pool

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Generally getting a permit for your pool installation will require a little bit of paperwork. When asking if you need a permit for an above ground pool, you should be able to get the forms and applications you need at your City Hall, but many places also have them available online. They will also be able to let you know what the application fee will be for your permit.

The application fees and specific documents you will need to include with the application will vary depending on where you live. In most places, the fees will be between $100 and $200, and it should only take a couple of weeks to get approval. But make sure you include all the necessary documents and information, if you want things to go smoothly.

You will likely have to include a plan of the construction, and its relation to property lines and utility services. Also depending on where you live, you may also need a sperate electric permit to cover the installation of the power for the pump and filtration system.

In most places, the person applying is the one who will be held responsible for the building, so if you’ve hired a contractor, they will be the one to apply. If that’s the case, make sure you’ve gone over the plan and requirements with them carefully, so you know exactly what’s expected. You want to make sure that what’s being proposed on your behalf is what you want!

Once your pool is installed and construction is all finished, there is one final step. Many local regulations will also require an inspection. Like permits, the regulations covering inspections will depend on where you live.

You will likely have to have a general building inspection of the completed pool. It’s possible that there will be separate inspections for each aspect like electricity, gas, pump, and filtration system, as well as the general inspection. This ties back into the safety aspect, as you definitely want to make sure that the power source is safe around all that water!

Do You Need an Electric Permit for Above Ground Pools

It’s quite probable that you will need not one, but two permits for your above ground swimming pool. You are going to need a pump, and likely a filtration system, and that pump is going to need electricity. 

Cities often have separate regulations and requirements governing electrical instalments. Added to these there are the requirements regarding proximity to water when it comes to electricity. The electrical lines and access will need to be clearly outlined in your plans and may require their own permit, in addition to the building permit.

Where to Place Above Ground Pool

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When making your plan and preparing your documents it is important to keep the location of your pool in mind. Many places have limits and regulations about where you can put it.

In most cases, above ground pools are not allowed in the front or side yards. It’s a good idea to keep the pool in the backyard. You should also meet the distance regulations from the fence or property line. 

Utility placement also affects where you can put it. In the case of an above ground pool, you generally don’t have to worry about digging, but you should be thinking about access to lines for repair and maintenance. Due to this, even above ground pools are not allowed to be installed over utility lines or pipes.

Related to utilities, you may also need a drain system. Some cities have ordinances covering ground and water quality.

Are Above Ground Pools Safe

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As with all things, safety is important. One of the key pool regulations regarding safety that seems to be pretty consistent regardless of location is there must be a safety barrier or fence. You want to be able to limit access to the pool when it’s not in use. You will need to factor how you plan to incorporate this barrier into your installation and building plans.

While this requirement is due to federal regulations, the height and type of barrier required will vary somewhat based on state and city laws. The range of requirements is generally 4- to 6-foot minimum height, with not gaps larger than 4 inches.

In some places the walls of the above ground pool are considered enough of a barrier if they are at least 4 feet high, as long as the ladder or access is removable or able to be blocked off. Other places require additional fencing to keep people, particularly children, from accessing the pool without permission or supervision. All access gates should have locks.

If you’re putting in decking around the pool, access to the decking will require a lockable barrier, as well, and possibly additional fencing.

Make Sure Your HOA is Okay With You Above Ground Pool

In addition to the city regulations that need to be met, it’s often a good idea to keep your neighbors happy. Another thing to take into consideration is the requirements of your Homeowners Association, if you belong to one. 

Neighborhood regulations can be even stricter than municipal requirements, and can affect the placement, style, barriers, even material you choose for your pool. It’s a good idea to check in with them if you’re a member.


Now that you know the answer to the question of whether you need a permit for an above ground pool, I hope you have a better idea of what to expect when you head down to City Hall, or start chatting with your contractor. There’s a lot to consider when you’re installing any kind of pool, and the regulations and permits is definitely important to factor in. 

Getting a clear idea of what you will need to consider will give you a head start on getting the installation done properly!

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