Contractors, Building Codes and Permits
Learn about the codes and permits you may need to build the pool of your dreams.
A swimming pool might seem like the perfect addition to your backyard - at least, until you begin to realize what might be involved in this home improvement project. Once you get caught up in the world of contractors, building codes and permits, it might be easy to become discouraged with the idea. The good news is that following proper procedures before constructing your pool isn't quite as difficult as is sounds. With a few basic steps, you will be ready for that splashy addition in no time.
If you use an experienced, licensed contractor for the installment of your pool, the headaches might be mostly taken care of for you. However, it is still wise to know the basic rules of your city before construction begins. That way, you can keep an eye on the process and make sure the T's are crossed and the I's are all dotted along the way. It is also a good idea to inspect the contract for a clause that states the contractor will be responsible for getting the proper permits and meeting the building codes correctly. If there is a problem, you have recourse to get the issue resolved.
Building codes are established by local governments, although many will probably follow the national guidelines fairly closely. Cities that have more swimming pools may be more likely to have very specific building codes for their area. These codes are a list of regulations designed for the safety of the homeowner, as well as the general public. Many involve guidelines that govern specific regulations, such as the type of fence that must surround your pool. Some also require a setback, which means there has to be a specific amount of space between your pool and the edge of your property. While experienced contractors will be familiar with the codes in your area, it is ultimately your responsibility as the homeowner to make sure the codes are followed.
Building permits are usually required before construction of the pool begins. These permits are obtained through the appropriate department of your local government. Most require both a plot plan and a survey plan that must include very specific information about your property and your swimming pool plans before it can be approved. A mechanical plan and an electrical plan must also be submitted to ensure your pool will operate in accordance with local regulations. Depending on the area you live, a building permit may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to get approved.
If you live in a covenant-controlled community, you may have procedures to follow for this entity as well. Most homeowner's association will lay out their guidelines for structures like pools in their covenants. Be sure to follow all necessary procedures here as well, or you may run into trouble during the process.
Constructing a pool requires a few steps to make sure the pool is safe and properly installed. However, the time spent is well worth the effort when you end up with an outdoor oasis for your family and friends to enjoy.