Do I Need A Permit For An Above-Ground Pool?

Do I need a permit for an above-ground pool

Since the 90’s above-ground pools have become an increasingly popular option among property owners due to their affordable costs and easy assembly-disassembly. With the incremental rise in global temperature, swimming pools are fun for all ages. So a solution is getting an above-ground pool; something which is way more affordable compared to in-ground pools!

Getting one sounds easy enough, a bit of construction work and you are done! But there might be something you forget before building one; a permit! So do I need a permit for an above-ground pool? Installing a swimming pool on your property isn’t a simple affair; there are official permits and documentation to take care of besides the installation. If you’re planning on getting one and wondering whether you need a permit for an above-ground pool, the answer is yes. Here are the things you need to keep in mind.

Key Takeaways

  • Despite not being permanent installations, above–ground pools still need building and zoning permits.
  • Most of the paperwork will be taken care of by your pool contractor, all you have to do is provide the specific details for your property.
  • Special pool accessories and equipment for your above-ground pool will also need permits as well.
  • Installing an above-ground pool without a permit can result in monetary penalties.

Do I Need a Permit for an Above Ground Pool?

Do I Need a Permit for an Above Ground Pool
Do I Need a Permit for an Above Ground Pool

You might be thinking that since an above-ground pool is installed above ground on your property, there’s no need to get a permit. This is a wrong notion because just like in-ground swimming pools, above-ground swimming pools are also considered part of your property, hence the need for a building permit.

Despite being placed above ground, these pools are still quite deep, with a 24” depth or 250 square feet on average. This is why the permit requirements come into play. But if the depth is any less than that then (which usually means kiddie pools) you don’t need a permit.

A permit isn’t the only document that you need to procure before installing an above-ground pool- you also need a certification of occupancy as well. Without a building permit, installing an above-ground pool can result in hefty penalties when the local building inspectors come in for their yearly visit. Let’s see what are the laws for above-ground pools in different states:

General Pool Requirements in New Jersey:

To set up a pool, you need a zoning permit along with your building application, costing $75. You’ll need two property surveys: one showing your property’s current state and the other detailing the pool’s size and planned location.

Here are the rules:

  • Keep the pool at least 10 feet away from your house.
  • Maintain a 15-foot distance from property lines at the back and sides.
  • Ensure proper maintenance of the pool.
  • Fence and screen the pool to avoid bothering neighbors.
  • Except for in-pool lights, don’t add lights that extend pool hours.
  • Place pool equipment at least 5 feet from property lines.
  • Maintain a 5-foot distance from sheds, garages, or swing sets.
  • Pools contribute to your property’s impervious covering, limited by zoning rules.
  • Pools larger than 300 sq ft need an engineer’s review for Stormwater Management compliance.

Pool Building Permits in California:

  • Apply for a building permit and fill out a pool/spa questionnaire at
  • Submit plans in PDF format including existing/new features, dimensions, safety fencing, structure/material specs, and, if needed, structural calculations.
  • If the pool is within 15′ of a steep slope, provide a soil report.
  • Get planning approval before permit issuance.
  • Pay the plan check fee.
  • Standard pool plans are quickly reviewed (about 5 days), but non-standard plans might take up to 15 days for the 1st Plan Check.

You can do the application yourself, but since it involves the use of certain technical terms, it is best left to the professional who’ll install the pool. Otherwise, you’ll have to resubmit the application again if you make mistakes. But before making the application, you and your pool installer will need to collect the required documents.

Application for an above-ground pool:

For the application process the following details should be provided by you or the pool installer:

  • Municipal address and contact information of the homeowner.
  • Details of the pool contractor and the specifics of the contract.
  • The total cost of the project.
  • The site plan of the project.
  • Configuration and location of the swimming pool on your property.
  • Exact measurements of the property, including property lines and the number of buildings on the property.
  • Location of the barrier for the pool and the barrier type.
  • Description of the deck and cross-section of the pool.

If everything is in order, then you’ll get the building permit for your above-ground pool in a short time. The enclosure for your above-ground pool (which is mandatory), is covered by the building permit as well. The same doesn’t go for any electrical attachments to the pool as well such as water pumps and power lines, for which you’ll be needing extra permits.

Without the extra permits for the extra additions, you’ll be fined for installing them on your property even if you have the building permit. It’s also impossible for you and building inspectors to ensure the electrical attachments are safe and made in compliance with standard safety requirements in mind unless it’s mentioned.

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Why are permits required for above-ground pools?

My suspicion is that these permits are often necessary as a means to generate revenue for your city. To be honest, this seems reasonable. Governments do need to find sources of income to fund public services, although that’s a topic for another discussion.

Yet, there are many individuals who might not consider the well-being of others. This results in situations where people undertake potentially hazardous projects that could pose a danger, especially to young children. This concern is particularly pertinent when it comes to pools. A significant number of child drownings occur in residential pools.

I believe that if the government intervenes to prevent some individuals from installing unsafe pools they aren’t qualified to own, then it’s a step in the right direction. While this might cause inconvenience for some of us, I believe it’s likely justified if it holds the potential to save the life of a young person.

6 Factors to Consider Before Installing an Above-Ground Pool

Factors to Consider Before Installing an Above-Ground Pool
Factors to Consider Before Installing an Above-Ground Pool

Before committing to installing an above-ground pool, there are a couple of things you need to ensure for a safe and proper above-ground pool installation. These include:

1. Planning & Location

To install an above-ground pool, your property needs to have space to accommodate one. You need to have a thorough inspection of the open areas of your property by a qualified pool installer to determine whether the pool can be installed or not.

2. Size and Shape of the Pool

Once the possible location for the pool has been confirmed, the next thing to consider is the size and shape of your above-ground pool. They come in various shapes and sizes, so choose one that fits your needs.

3. Pool Material

The price and quality of an above-ground pool largely depend on the materials it’s made of. Generally, above-ground pools are made of 3 common materials- steel, aluminum, and resin. Each of these materials comes with its own pros and cons, so do some research before making the final purchase.

4. Installation

The installation of an above-ground pool can range from simple to very hard depending on the location, design, and a couple of other factors. You should discuss with your pool contractor what will be the best installation process for your pool because the final installation might not be what you originally envisioned.

5. Equipment

Installing a pool is not like magic- you can’t just plop it in the middle of your front yard or backyard like inflatable pools. To keep your above-ground pool operational you also need equipment like pumps, electrical, wiring, power cords, pool covers, and more. These pieces of equipment will add up to the final cost, so keep them in mind.

6. Budget and Price

Last but not least, you also need to keep the price point of the pool installation in mind as well. Despite being cheaper than in-ground swimming pools, above-ground swimming pools can still cost a pretty penny. As such, you need to strike a balance between your budget and the type of pool you want.

Safety and Maintenance Checks for Above-Ground Pools

Safety and Maintenance Checks for Above-Ground Pools
Safety and Maintenance Checks for Above-Ground Pools

Above-ground pools need routine maintenance checks to keep in tip-top shape like all other pool types. To ensure that your pool water and the pool’s surrounding area aren’t a safety hazard, follow through with this safety and maintenance checklist for above-ground pools:

  • Test the chemical levels of the pool on a regular basis. Ph and chlorine levels are the most important as they can not only affect the human body but the pool equipment and accessories as well.
  • Ensure proper water circulation in the pool by frequently checking for the pool’s dead spots which include the cracks, crevices, and creases of the pool’s liner.
  • For the chord extension to the pump, ensure that the pool installer uses a GCFI-protected dedicated circuit along with waterproof outlets and cords.
  • Clean the pool walls on a regular basis to prevent rusting and notice early onsets of cracks and crevices forming. Some of the most common reasons for pool wall damage include fallen tree branches, bird pecks, insects nesting under the railings of the pool’s edge, and hard debris.


1. What happens if you put up a pool without a permit?

If you put up a pool with zoning and building permits, you’ll get penalized for it which includes a hefty fine and needing to take out the pool from your backyard.

2. Do you need a permit for an above-ground pool in New York?

No, you don’t need it for a home, but if you live in a residential building of 1 to 2 families, then you need a permit and proper fencing around the pool which needs to be above 4 feet in height.

3. How much is a permit for an above-ground pool?

The price of a permit for an above-ground pool depends on the size of the pool itself. Different states will have different prices but it is usually around $15 per $1,000 of valuation of the above-ground pool.

Final Thoughts

Getting a building permit for your above-ground pool might seem like a lot of hassle at first, but you’ll be grateful that you have all the proper documents in order in the long run. And in most cases, you won’t be the one tearing your hair out compiling all the necessary documents for the building permit, your pool contractor will. So set your budget, find a good pool contractor, and get things rolling as soon as you can. With the above-ground pool permit, you won’t have to worry about hefty fines or legal troubles either. Just make sure that you are doing a maintenance check on your pool regularly to make sure everything is safe with it! With that, enjoy a nice relaxing soak in your above-ground pool!

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I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.

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