In regards to building your own inground pool - one of the most common questions people ask is: "Do I need a permit?" My answer is always the same. Yes, you should contact your local building inspector to see if your city or town requires a building permit for an inground vinyl pool.
If you have made the decision that you are going to build your own inground pool, it's never too early to start the process of securing the necessary permit. Most homeowners seem to fear the building permit process, but I did it myself and it was very easy - nothing to worry about. Some small towns don’t require permits but I recommend that you check with your local building and zoning commission, so you don’t run into any unexpected problems.
Check your local .gov website, and search for "building permits". Searching for swimming pool permits may lead you to operational permits, not building permits. The office that issues the permit, will need a copy of your plot plan (which is normally located with your mortgage paperwork). This will help the building inspector determine whether or not you have enough space to install the size of inground pool you want to build.
Plot Plans and Pool Plans
The Plot Plan is sometimes called the Plat Survey or the Title Survey. Before you obtained a home loan or title insurance on your home, this survey was created. If you can't find your survey with your closing documents, look for the RESPA document, which should list the name of the local survey company that produced the plat. They can often times run a quick copy for you. If none of these options produces a plat for you, a local survey company can produce a new one for you, for a few hundred dollars.
The local building code determines things such as setbacks from the property lines; front, rear, and side property lines. In addition to how close you can build to the property line, there are also regulations of how close you can get to underground septic or utilities. Your property plot plan, combined with established local setbacks, will determine the size pool you can install and where on your property you will be able to install a pool.
Every state and town has a different set of building regulations that are enforced by the local building inspector. Some inspectors are stricter than others, so my recommendation is that when you go down to get your permit - make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork and be very nice to the person you talk with.
Setbacks & Easements
As mentioned earlier, setbacks are different from state to state, and can range from 6 to 20 feet. Check with your local building inspector, or permitting division, to find out what setbacks are required in your community. You also can check the internet on your town's website. Most local governments have a lot of information on building restrictions and permitting procedures. Septic setbacks are usually 10 feet from the septic tank and 20 feet from the septic field. Every town differs on how far you can install the pool to the house itself. I have seen a wide range - anywhere from 5’ to 20’; check with your local inspector or permit division for your specific rules.
If there is no available space to bring in an excavator or even a small trak-hoe without coming across other public or private property, you may need to obtain permission from neighbors. If an easement runs through your backyard; there are setbacks for easements that also need to be considered. If there are easements on your property, they are usually listed on your plot plan. If you want to build within the easement, contact the owner of the easement, and have the legal documents drawn up to gain permission. Sometimes a fee is paid to the easement owner, to compensate for the "encroachment".
If your backyard is located within an RPA (Resource Protected Area) that includes wetlands or watersheds within 100 feet of the proposed pool, you may need to go before your local conservation commission to obtain approval and construction requirements.
Applying for a Pool Permit
When filling out your paperwork make sure you list yourself as the pool builder or contractor. Don't worry if you're not a licensed contractor, this is a Do-It-Yourself homeowner project, building your own inground pool!
As mentioned earlier, make sure you bring your plot plan, a copy of the pool plan (we call it Dig Specs) and a list of all the equipment that is included with the steel or polymer pool kit. Some towns require information on the pump, filter and anything that is electrical - we have all of that information available on our website, or give us a call and we can provide you with the necessary information.
We also have some generic engineered drawings we can provide for you if the inspector asks for them. Some states require engineered drawings that have a raised seal and are specifically designed for your state and town. If that is the case, give us a call and we can provide that information for you. We do have an additional cost involved, since these are custom and normally take about 7 days to receive.
After you get the ball rolling with obtaining your permit give us a call and we can help you with ordering your inground pool kit. Don't be scared of the local zoning and permit board - they are a team of dedicated professionals who exist to make sure we build with strength and safety in mind. Think of how ugly and unsafe our world would be - if people just built whatever they want, however they wanted, and where ever they chose.
Your local department of zoning and permits is also a great source for information on concrete and excavation companies, two sub-contractors that you will likely need - when you build your own inground pool.
SPP Pool Expert