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  • Mario Monge

Permits: Swimming Pools and Spas

Updated: Mar 2

Building permits provide formal approval to begin construction on a project in accordance with approved permit documents, which include project drawings, construction plans, and specifications. Building permits for swimming pools and spas are required by the county and are processed through the public works department.


In order to obtain a building permit, applicants must submit application forms and three sets of plans that include:


➔ A site plan that shows all new and existing structures with set-back dimensions.


➔ Pool or spa plans including structural details and material specifications.


➔ Cross-section in both directions to 5’ (minimum) beyond property lines, including existing slopes and retaining walls, if any.


A soil report, if the pool is located less than 15’ from the top of a slope or 8’ from the top of a slope where the slope is steeper than one unit vertical in three units horizontal.


➔ Structural calculations, if using a “non-standard” plan.


These plans are reviewed for compliance with county building ordinances and state building regulations. The applicant must also obtain zoning clearance and pay a plan check fee. Once the county checks and approves all project plans, one set of plans goes to the job site, one goes to the office’s archive, and one goes to the Assessor’s office. After all paperwork is approved, fees are paid, and inspections are conducted, a permit will be issued.


The swimming pool permit cost may vary depending on location and type of project. In Orange County, applicants are charged a building and safety permit issuance fee of $25 along with a fee for the permit itself. A permit for a non-structural or replastering pool project costs $250. Permit costs for new pool projects and remodeling or structural work projects are valuation-based. Valuation-based fees are calculated using a Building Data Valuation (BVD) table, which determines the valuation of the specific project being proposed. The BVD table provides “average” construction costs per square foot. Once the valuation has been determined, the fee can be calculated.


Permit applications, fee pricing, and additional information about swimming pool permit requirements can be found on your county’s public works department website.


Have questions about permits, a backyard remodel, or building a custom pool in your backyard? Feel free to contact us!

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