Mar 22

In-ground pool building permits, setbacks, and building codes

Lagoon in-ground pool installation Newburyport MA

If you have already made the decision to install an in ground or above ground swimming pool (even if you have not selected a contractor yet) then it is never too early to start the process of securing a building permit. Building permits always seem to be a fear of a homeowner, when in fact they are there to protect the homeowner. Following your local guidelines and having the proper inspections along the way should ensure a quality and liability free job for the homeowner.

First Steps of Getting a Pool Permit

The first thing required to install a swimming pool is a building permit. You will need a copy of your plot plan (which is normally located with your mortgage paperwork) so it can be determined whether or not you have the space needed to install the pool you want. It has to fit on paper or it will not fit in your yard. The plot plan combined with the local setbacks will determine the size of the pool and where on your property you will be able to install the pool. Every town has a different set of building regulations adopted by the people and enforced by the local building inspector. These rules set for by the building code will determine things such as setbacks off of the property lines; side, rear, front and things such as a septic tank and septic field.

Common In-ground Pool Property Setbacks

Setbacks can range from 6 feet to a property line up to as much as but not limited to 20 feet. Septic setbacks are usually the same town to town; 10 feet from the tank and 20’ from the field are the norm. Every town differs how far you may install a pool to the house itself. I have seen a range of 0’-15’ setbacks off of a house when building a in-ground pool in Massachusetts. Your local building inspector is the authority on all setbacks in your yard. If you have wetlands on, abutting or within 100’ of the proposed pool you may need to go before your local conservation commission. Since these boards usually only meet once a month you can see how a pool permit applied for in March may take until May or June to be issued.

The Pool Builder Should Always be On the Permit

You should always have your installer sign on to the permit so you are not solely responsible for everything that takes place during the construction. If your pool installer does not want to pull a permit and wants you the homeowner to pull the permit then most likely the contractor does not have the proper insurance required to pull the building permit. You want to be very cautious of a contractor who wants the homeowner to pull his own building permit. Remember if the homeowner pulls the permit on his own without the builder then the homeowner assumes all responsibility for all liabilities during the project such as worker accidents, property damage ….etc. A properly insured pool contractor will have workers compensation insurance and liability insurance.

If you have questions regarding pool setbacks and building permits feel free to leave a comment below or email us at

If you are looking to build a pool in Massachusetts or Seacoast NH we take care of all the permits and building inspections for you. Feel free to contact us here about your new spring in-ground pool install.

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  1. Michael Allen
    June 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm · Reply

    10 years ago we spent 22K on our in-ground swimming pool. We are on a cul de sac with a retention pond in the back yard. The pool is about 8′ from the retention pond. A year and a half ago the decking was cracking and the retention pond side of the pool is about 2 1/2 inches lower than the house side. The house side decking is raising up about 1 1/2 inch. The pool construction people said they would not leave us hanging, but we have never heard back from them. we have made several attempts to work something out with them but to no avail. Are soil samples required being so close to retention pond, the builder says it is not required. Can you help us somehow?

    • admin
      June 4, 2012 at 8:48 am · Reply

      Hi Michael,

      I do not know where you are located but every towns requirements for building near wet areas is different. We have built many pools near wetlands and never were required to take a soil sample. In order to make sure the pool decks wont sag we prep our base properly with the right materials meaning we truck in a lot of material to ensure it is solid. You also have to make sure you are control the water and erosion around the pool area with proper drainage so it will not undermine the deck and cause issues.

      Again without seeing your specific situation it is hard to give a proper recommendation, but it is obvious that there is a problem with the water near the pool that needs to be addressed.

      Sorry we can not be of more help.

      -Jay Broyer
      Precision Pool

  2. Pam
    June 27, 2014 at 6:31 am · Reply

    Would you know what the required setbacks would be for an in-ground pool installation in Dover NH.

  3. Esmeralda
    September 24, 2014 at 6:47 pm · Reply

    Where can I call to find out inground pools are allowed in Chicago Illinois. Someone recently told me they are not allowed. Also the house here in the city have this dimensions 30 front by 125. Please help me with any information

  4. David Dupont
    April 4, 2017 at 10:50 am · Reply

    Do you install pools in Derry NH if so I would like a quote

    • admin
      April 4, 2017 at 11:12 am · Reply

      Hi David,

      We have done some pools up in the salem and windham area. Give us a call or shoot us an email

      And we can set something up.


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