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An Overview of Swimming Pool Building Permits

Most Florida homeowners have, or know someone who has, a pool. Since pools are so commonplace in Florida, many homeowners can neglect to obtain swimming pool building permits before beginning their building projects. This can lead to long waits, red tape, and even criminal charges in some cases. To avoid these unfavorable outcomes, we’ve explained the basics of obtaining a pool-building permit.

Which Swimming Pool Building Permits Do You Need?

The permits you need depend on the type of pool you want. Many permits are the same for above ground and in-ground pools, but specific rules may change depending on whether your pool is residential or commercial. Construction permits are required for the initial building project, alterations, and repairs. Spa and hot tub permits may have slightly different requirements; for example, you do not need a permit in Florida if your spa is self-contained and requires no electrical or plumbing work.

Electrical and plumbing permits are always required, as your pool will need adequate lighting and safe, clean plumbing. Double-check your filters and all plumbing equipment before opening your pool.

Special permits may be required depending where you live and where your pool will be placed. For example, if your home is in a wooded area, you may require a tree removal permit. If your pool will use walls as barriers or for decorative purposes, you’ll need a masonry wall or fencing permit. Storm water permits may be required for in-ground spas.

Who Can Obtain a Pool Permit?

You must own a home before applying to build a residential pool. Your home cannot hold more than two families and must be completely detached from the pool area. Permits are given to qualifying owners only. You must submit valid identification and proof of home ownership before obtaining a pool permit. If you live in an apartment or condo and would like a pool, speak with your landlord. He or she is considered the qualifying agent who can obtain permits.

If you’re building a commercial pool for a park, hotel, or other business, you may receive permits if you’re considered the qualifying agent (business owner or partner). Pool contractors are also allowed to receive permits once the commercial building’s owner has approved the project. Pool contractors who work on several projects a year with similar pool plans should have their plans sealed via a Florida Registered Engineer. This will allow them to obtain future permits more quickly.

What Do I Need to Submit?

In addition to proof of home or building ownership, submit valid identification. After that, you’ll be asked to submit two sets of pool plans drawn to scale; a contractor can help with these. Your drawings should include all child barriers. These are required for all pools and spas under Florida law. You’ll be asked to submit separate seals and signatures for plumbing and electrical permits. If you aren’t sure how to obtain these, ask your local permit office.