Navigating California’s Swimming Pool Permits: Rules, Exceptions, & Benefits

Navigating California’s Swimming Pool Permits: Rules, Exceptions, & Benefits

There are countless benefits associated with owning a swimming pool, but before you start the process, you need to ensure the legal details are understood. If not, you can speak with a contractor who will simplify the process for you. For example, there are sizes and customization rules you need to follow as well as building permits and other licenses you must acquire. Below are some important facts and information to consider when adding your new swimming pool feature.


Not all pools in the state require a building permit. This is based on the customization and sizing of the feature. For example, if the pool holds at least 3,000 gallons of water, you must apply for and receive a permit before building.

Adding a spa to the pool is a feature many homeowners also take advantage of. Although a building permit isn’t required for a spa, you may need to obtain a license for other necessities attached to the feature, such as its electrical work. To simplify the process, you should speak with a professional spa and pool builder to ensure you have all the details concerning requirements and customization.

Types of Permits

Building a swimming pool in California typically requires a residential building permit. However, this will vary from county to county, as some may have additional license requirements that others don’t. Regardless of the types of permits required, you must find out and obtain the licensure. There are generally zoning and planning offices in counties throughout California where the applications and other essential documents can be obtained.


Building a wading or bathing pool could exempt you from having to obtain a building permit. For a swimming pool less than 24 inches deep or with a surface area of less than 250 square feet, a license is rarely required.

To understand these exceptions better, speak with a custom pool and spa contractor, who will review the process and specializations with you. These professionals understand the building requirements and pool specifications and can help you follow those rules without compromising your custom features.

The Advantages

Once you have your permit, you need to have a reputable custom pool builder help you get your dream feature out of your mind and onto your California property. After the pool is built, you can begin taking advantage of the many benefits, including having an entertainment oasis and boosting your health and happiness.

A swimming pool can also add value to your property. Teaching children how to swim is easier when the pool is at your home because it gives them more privacy and confidence. You can also take advantage of the ability to turn the yard into a family-friendly hangout space when you get your permit and have the builders begin building a customized pool. 

If you’re considering adding a pool to your home, make sure to work with an exceptional San Diego pool builder. The team of experts from San Diego Pools specializes in every aspect of commercial and residential pool construction, and we’ve been building the finest pools in Southern California for more than 40 years. Call us today for a complimentary consultation.

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