Do Above Ground Pools Need Permits?

Do Above Ground Pools Need Permits Shown In Backyard With Raised Deck And Fresh Grass

This Article Was Last Updated on March 23, 2023

You may be thinking of putting in an above ground pool.  Maybe you even bought a pool kit online. Furthermore, you could be thinking of installing it yourself.  You’ve done some research on leveling the yard, the proper underlayment to protect the pool, etc. Then you come to the starting point and you contemplate, hey do I need a permit?  Do above ground pools need permits?

Do Above Ground Pools Need Permits?

Like many construction related questions, the unfortunate answer is, it depends.  Most places around the country would answer yes, you need a permit. There are some very important aspects to all pools, above ground or in ground. Therefore, your local building department generally wants to be aware when you add an above ground pool. These reasons range from electrical wiring to barrier code compliance.

Why You Need A Permit For An Above Ground Pool

The reasons for needing a permit range from electrical wiring to barrier code compliance. In this article we will explain the common misconceptions around both of these reasons.

Do Above Ground Pools Need Permits Shown Via Electrical Wiring And Barrier Code Compliance

Do Above Ground Pools Need Permits For Electrical Wiring?

To run your pool pump you may be thinking you can just run an extension cord across your lawn and that’ll do just fine.  This is an unsafe method for powering your pool equipment. You ought to have a licensed electrician run a dedicated circuit which is GFCI protected with a waterproof outlet and cord cover to the pool equipment area. This way you don’t have an extension cord running across the lawn to the pool, which can be a shock hazard. 

Generally speaking any electrical work will be inspected by the city, town, or county electrical inspector.  In some areas of the country homeowner’s can still do their own electrical work on their property. However, we always recommend hiring the professionals.

Do Above Ground Pools Need Permits For Barrier Code Compliance?

The other major aspect of a pool the building department will want to inspect is the barrier code compliance.  This means the perimeter fencing which prevents children from accessing the pool.  With an above ground pool, usually the walls are high enough to create a barrier between the lawn and the surface of the pool.  The only place where a fence and gate becomes necessary is the stairs into the pool itself. 

Depending on the code adoption in your area, there may be differing opinions about how the stairs into an above ground pool can be considered safe.  Additionally, in some areas, the fence height required is higher than the walls of an above ground pool.  In that case you’d need to construct a perimeter fence to secure the pool.

Property Tax Consideration

The final aspect which often triggers building permits everywhere is the fact that the assessor has no other way to know what improvements you’re doing to your house.  Often this is the practical reason for building permits. Once you pull the building permit, the assessor finds out you have put in a pool, then they can raise your property taxes. Granted, an above ground pool is unlikely to put much of a premium on your tax bill, but it’s something to consider.

Do Above Ground Pools Need Permits Summary

Ultimately, if your building department wants you to pull a permit to build your pool, it’s a good idea to comply.  Building a pool without a permit can cause more headaches than you might think. For example, if you run into any issues draining your above ground pool, you run the risk of being in serious trouble should something go wrong.

If you’re not sure what your building department will require, call them and ask. They will be able to offer up in general terms what the requirements are. Though they work in code enforcement, building department officials are usually helpful and sympathetic. They appreciate it when that comes to homeowners trying to do the right thing.