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    Inground Pool Design: Plans & Specs for Building Your Pool

    April 15, 2013


    Pool Plans Needed to Submit to County or City for Permit Approval

    Every town is different, but most towns will accept the inground pool dig specs (shown below) that we provide, based on the size, shape, depth and gallons of the pool. This is usually submitted along with a plat of your property (shown further below), marked up to show where the pool will be located, and any plans for grading, structures like a pool house, and your pool fence plan.

    It is best to check with your town building department to see what they require, you may find the information on their website, or you can visit the building dept. to pick up a pool permit packet. In some cases, towns will require an architectural drawing to be submitted for approval. We at SPP do supply this service for a minimal fee, or you can use a local residential or landscape architect.


    The Spec Sheet, shown above, is included with all SPP Inground Pool Kits. These are in the Owner's Manual. In addition, we also email you the Spec Sheet, and the Owner's Manual, so that you have an electronic copy.

    Shown below is the Property Plat. If you do not have a copy in your home sale records, you can get a copy from the local Building and Zoning department, or your Title company, or Realtor may be able to help. The Plat shows the property lines, setbacks, fence, gates, and the location of house and pool.


    If you are located near wetlands or have nearby RPA's (resource protected area), please check with your town building department to inquire about the setback distance, and if needed, discuss pool location - before submitting your pool plans. In these situations, the process to obtain a permit could take several weeks or longer.

    Other setbacks to keep in mind include the allowable distance that a  pool can be from the house, and from the property line. Most pools must be in the rear or side of the main house, you can't usually put a pool in the front yard! If you have a septic field, there are also regulations regarding setback from the lines and leech field.

    A non complicated permit is usually issued, depending on your town, within a few weeks of submitting the packet, and paying any permit processing or issuance fees.

    Pool Plans Needed for Subcontractors

    Excavation: The excavator will need the Spec Sheet and the Owner's Manual in order to properly excavate the area for the pool. An experienced operator can estimate the amount of dirt being removed and can help you determine how much can be graded over existing areas. fill-dirt-sign

    If there is left over dirt, after you have backfilled the area around the pool walls, you will need a truck and a location to haul left over fill dirt.

    Plumbing: SPP will also guide you with your plumbing needs and how the lines should be plumbed to your equipment area. Most information will be included in your installation manual, to better assist you in familiarizing you with the pool installation process. In some states, you do not necessarily need a licensed plumber to run your plumbing lines and hook them up.

    Electrical: A licensed electrician will be needed to hook up your pool equipment. A licensed electrician should be well educated as to what you need to do electrically. Remember we are here to assist you through every step of the installation process, and we will inform you step by step what is needed to complete your DIY inground pool project.

    The amount of concrete needed for the collar around the exterior base of the pool walls, and the amount of vermiculite base under the liner will also be furnished by our SPP Pool experts.

    Pool Plans Needed for Grading

    In most cases, pools with a plan of under 5000 sq ft "disturbance area" do not need to submit a grading plan. A grading plan is a topographical map, that shows different elevations. But even though one is not required, you should take the time to create a plan, if you have room on your property to spread out the dirt that comes from the pool. This is needed for the person doing the grading, which can be done with a Bobcat type skid-steer loader or a Backhoe, with a flat bucket or grading blade.

    In the beginning stages of building your pool, you should have a plan as to how much dirt will be left over, and how much you will need for backfill (generally 15% +/-).  All this depends on how big the pool is, and how deep it is , as to how many yards of dirt are going to be leftover. Depending on the size of yard and pool area, you can get a good idea of how much dirt you have to work with. We at SPP and the excavator will know how much fill you will have to work with, and can help you estimate.

    Once this amount is determined, the area around the pool will be graded and spread throughout your yard. The area to be graded should not be higher than the pool itself, in order to have proper water runoff, around the pool - very important.

    Pool Plans Needed for Landscaping

    pool landscape-planDepending on your initial layout of the pool, and how you will landscape around the pool, will determine how the pool area will be completed. Some people hire a landscaper, and designer to help with this process. Or, you can draw up your own landscaping plans, but no matter who does it - I can’t stress enough that a clear cut plan is needed from the very beginning.  This will alleviate problems down the road, during your pool installation process.

    Plans & Specs Needed to Build Your Own Inground Pool:

    • Spec Sheet
    • Property Plat
    • Grading Plan
    • Landscaping Plan

    In many cases, the city or county is only going to ask for the Spec Sheet for our inground pool kit - the other plans could be just for you. In other cases, they may need more information, or require that the plans are stamped by an architect or engineering firm. It's best to know far in advance, so just ask!

    Happy Planning!  

    Bob Arnold
    SPP Pool Expert

    Blog Author
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