A new swimming pool plan is not just a pretty drawing of your backyard, it is a technical document, and a tool that will serve as a framework for the success or failure of your pool-building project. There are typically three places where a poorly planned swimming pool design can go haywire and lead to potentially costly delays and even legal trouble:

  • Builders and Contractors

  • City or County Permitting Offices

  • Homeowner’s Associations

A pool plan is meant to be an illustration of the details that will eventually create your completed pool project. Therefore, it is important to remember that those details are the actual measurements that describe your pool and are the specifications that builders will use to bid and build your pool. If there are flaws in the design, like incorrect measurements or miscalculations in the effect of certain equipment choices on the types of materials used, or even omissions of nearby utility easements that can effect excavation, then bids that you receive from contractors will be inaccurate and costly mistakes at the job site will be made.

Swimming pool plans are also typically submitted to City or County Permitting Offices as part of the building permit application (something you absolutely need before you can even break ground on a project). It is important that your plans are accurate before being submitted to a city or county as they can return them to you for corrections and create yet more unnecessary delays in your building plans. Cities and Counties look for three primary elements in a swimming pool plan:

  • Structural engineering plans
    These plans tell the city or county what standard plan to use when building the pool, or whether site-specific or pool-specific engineering will be required.

  • A site plan or site map with the proposed pool drawn to scale
    This plan will most likely require the skills of a specialist and is equivalent to the architectural rendering of a house.

  • An HOA approval letter
    If a neighborhood has a homeowner’s association with rules requiring their approval for swimming pool plans then the city or county will want to see that letter. Take note that letters of approval from a homeowner’s association can take longer than the city or county submission process so start early.

And that brings us to the last possible hiccup, the HOA. Most new housing developments these days have active homeowner’s associations. They oversee and regulate a range of neighborhood functions and rules from what color you can paint your house to whether or not you can build a new pool. Your neighborhood covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&R’s) might have limitations on pool size, placement, and even features like slides and waterfalls that you might wish to include in your design. Lack of compliance with HOA CC&R’s can lead to a complete project shutdown or even a lien on your home so do not skip this step.

With all of these possible hurdles to getting your new pool project off the ground during the planning phases, it is incredibly important to remember that building a pool is not much different from building a house. Both projects require detailed and professionally drafted plans as well as an intimate knowledge of city, county, and HOA regulations.